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Koushin Blog

Nintendo's Crucial Demographic Is...


In a survey taken by Asuki Research asked grade school children between 1st Year through 6th Year (about 6 - 13 years of age) were asked a simple question. "Do you want a Wii U?"

It turns out that most in fact do. Specifically 70% of boys between 4th and 6th year of grade school.

While the overall sentiment of both critics, older gamers, and investors of Nintendo have been mostly uneasy about Nintendo's new direction, it would seem for now, Nintendo at least has the backing of children; a major key demographic in the overall sales of video games.

On the topic of handhelds, when asked the same question involving Sony's Vita, it seems younger gamers are not as eager. At least 50% or more in both age and gender groups were unsure or simply didn't know if they wanted one. This could be a vital key to their promotion of the new handheld as Sony's PSP never attempted to attract children at first until they realized that they needed to in order to compete with the Nintendo DS. Perhaps this time Sony will attempt to be more cautious? Only time will tell.

Lastly, the 3DS has a more favorable turn amongst the children asked. The surveryors note the price decrease also playing a possible influencial factor in desire to own as the survey was taken prior and after the price drop. This may help for this holiday season and the forseeable future in 2012 as Nintendo begins to push their own new software titles for the 3DS.

Children definitely have been an essential demographic to Nintendo. It not only is one of the larger groups for overall sales but also companies like Nintendo want to build customer loyalty from an early age. This survey sample only proves that as long as Nintendo commits to children's interests it assures its own survival.

A Change Up...

Since E3 has provided a lot of information on games (though games mostly aimed at the Western market) I've been listening to a lot of music. I'm a fan of all kinds of music. My favorites are hard rock, house, and electropop (in no particular order). Speaking of which I'm shocked when I heard Cars 2 will feature Perfume's"Polyrhythm" in the movie! I never thought they would be popular outside of Japan! :o

Recently though a lot of music has been coming from less professional and more idol related talents (like AKB48 for instance). So I've been listening to some different stuff. One particular group I like is called Aldious. They are relatively new as a marketed band and their look is to dress in 'kyabakura' (a sort of Japanese gentleman's club) attire as seen in the photo below.

The members are Yoshi, Rami, Toki, Sawa, and Aruto. They are known for their powerful voice and performance by fans. One thing that this group does extremely well where others I feel have lacked in the past few years is their power and passion, especially in the rock genre. Nothing (to me at least) is more awesome then a bunch of really good singers and players just fully going all out in whatever they are playing regardless of what other people think. One group I can compare this to is 1980's rock group Show-Ya which i completely adore and got my wife to appreciate almost immediately (she was shocked/embarrassed she didn't know about them before I told her).

Here is a link to their newest song, "Mermaid" on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc40MuAO7ig(sorry its only a preview)

I know Japanese music isn't for everyone and if I start talking about what kind of Western music I like you're going to be sent in a time capsule to the 1980s because thats my favorite decade of music bar-none. Let me know what you think of this though! :)

First Impressions E3 Conference

Here is a quick and opinionated view (from an older more jaded core gamer) of what I thought about each show. Before I begin let me be clear first. Nothing at this year's convention really amazed me as the news was either already known in advance or simply not that impressive. Anyway, here we go...

Microsoft Conference - They played an interesting twist supporting their Kinect largely throughout the show. While to me they appeared one step behind (now that the new Nintendo platform was going to be announced) they try to stress how Kinect can reach a broad audience of gamers and not just casual ones either with titles ranging from Forza Motorsports 4 (with full body integration) to Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter (with hands free movement and weapon customization). Ubisoft also announces that all future Tom Clancy games will support Kinect (including the newest Rainbow Six title) In addition, Kinect's integration with the XBOX Dashboard and internet services (YouTube, Bing, etc.) Last but not least, came the continuation of the HALO franchise with HALO 4 and that of course was a pleasant (yet predictable) sight to see.

It seemed that of all the shows this one played it most safe relying on building upon last year's Kinect hardware and third-party support for this holiday season (MW3 with first access to DLC for instance). A logical position since Microsoft's majority dominance (and profits) is in the North American market alone.

The Biggest Surprise: Microsoft's commitment to Kinect for the next fiscal year.

Sony Conference -First was the continual apology about the hacking scandal that has rocked the very foundation of Playstation Network and caused a great sense of insecurity. Sony, well aware of their competitor in the portable market, Nintendo attempts to advance on Japan's current weakening sales of 3DS and announces that their new handheld PSV (PS Vita) will be made in two versions: a standard Wi-fi and a 3G compatible version for 24980yen (249USD) and 29980yen (299USD) respectively. A price range that should put away any doubt that power and price can't be balanced out. They stress full online social integration with their future game products and show the cross compatibility between the PSV and PS3 (somewhat but not exactly similar to what Nintendo had to offer). The graphics of the machine are very powerful providing console like experiences in a handheld. This to me is the strongest point of the platform and builds potential (I hope) for developers. However, the game list currently was very scarce and more must be seen first.

Following the PSV, Sony announced their lineup of holiday games such as Uncharted 3, Resistance 3, and all the HD remakes coming out between now and 2012. Nothing extremely surprising or shocking here, just run-of-the-mill all around good news. My major criticism though would be that they need to focus more on being aggressive against Nintendo to control the global market. This platform reads easily that they want to succeed against their rivals, but if they don't get the right games created and appeal to a larger audience with those titles, they will fall victim to Nintendo in the long-term once again.

The Biggest Surprise: (While technically not a surprise) The price of 249USD (300USD 3GS)puts to rest many of the claims that the portable would be more expensive than the 3DS.

Nintendo Conference -The whole show was a jawdropper (therefore there is a lot to be said). Ranging from the whole Zelda orchestral introduction (cheesy but necessary) to the announcement of what Nintendo's next generation console would be. The show progressed from Reggie proclaiming that between now and next year the 3DS will start to flourish and take its spot as lead handheld once again to the announcement of WiiU. First the 3DS. For others I understand their passion of all that is 'Nintendorelated' but it was pretty ho-hum typical. Mario3DS (finally...), Super Smash Bros. (gasp..), MarioKart3DS, Kid Icarus, Luigi's Mansion (oh why that one...) to all the N64 remakes in 3D. Undoubtedly though, there are many out there (including younger gamers who've just started out) that want to get their fingers on this as soon as possible and to them I give them my warmest regards. As for me though that feeling (perhaps unfortunately) has passed.

WiiU now on the other hand felt like a smile at first and then a slap to the face. Let me explain myself (before Nintendo readers tear me apart). It is indeed an interesting concept for the home console market. The idea of using a controller as a portable gaming device in the confines of your own home with other Nintendo hardware. That part was the "smile". Now, the "slap" part. Nintendo creates (once again) an underpowered console for its next generation. Sure, it is comparable to the current consoles right now but Nintendo easily could of taken up the challenge of making a more powerful console, right? What made it worse was the system that the controller is set up to is left in the dark for the entire presentation. As to suggest that there isn't much to discuss about it (a foul move in my opinion). Using a similar strategy as with the Wii, they will cut costs using dated hardware and rely solely on the innovation of the console design and functionality. This will have repercussions as it will once again narrow the field of third-party development in the long-term.

Both Sony and Microsoft will introduce their much more powerful hardware to the public (within 2-3 years) and then cause developers to work primarily with them and give Nintendo a harder reason as to why they should make exclusives based around their dated hardware. Nintendo however firmly believes in being self-reliant and not requiring the full cooperation of outside developers. So my entire argument on the lack of techical power in the WiiU can be easily bypassed by their own company policies (which make them hugely successful) by relying on their own first-party IPs. Undoubtedly this system should appeal to the large range of customers out there. Younger children, Nintendo fans (and snobs) and those in the casual market of all ages. So once again it should be made clear that Nintendo's WiiU is meant only for those that wish to partake in Nintendo's first-party line-up. Beyond that, it's all a big smoke and mirrors trick in regards to third-party support to me.

The Biggest Surprise: The Wii-U's controller and integration with other Nintendo products.

So there you have it. E3's major conferences from my perspective. Certainly you weren't expecting me to hype it all up now were you? From the big three companies I have to say overall that I am slightly displeased but perhaps its not their fault either. Since the global economy isn't doing so well it seems a lot of companies are conservative on their projects (that includes Nintendo) for their future financial security. This global economy is in a mess and it impacts business ac cross the board. So it seems that these companies are clearly aware of that and are trying to find a way to balance costs and technology as much as possible. Before I end this, I leave you with my personal picks of E3. Enjoy! And remember, post below if you want to share your opinions as well!

Most Anticipated Game(s): Battlefield 3, ICO/Wanda To Kyozou HD Collection

Least Anticipated Game(s): Modern Warfare 3, MarioKart3DS

Most Anticipated Hardware(s): PSVita, Wii-U Controller

Least Anticipated Hardware(s): Wii-U Console, Kinect

Project Cafe Controller = iPad-like Tablet?

Well as E3 begins this week out of Los Angeles, Nintendo will be promoting their new "next-generation console" currently codenamed "Project Cafe".

Some quick reading on 2ch and Japanese gaming report blogs have revealed pictures of a controller which reflects the recent news article from Nikkei Shinbun which mentions a detachable 6"inch screen LCD tablet/controller touch screen for the new system.

Following shortly after that article popped up two photos showing what would 'appear' to be the said controller.

While the photos 'appear' to be just a clever photoshop job it makes you think. Considering that the 3DS is on the market as a portable gaming device, wouldn't a device that is capable of playing games without being on the home console be labeled no differently as a, "portable gaming device"? In essence isn't Nintendo competing against itself in the same market? Also, if this controller (as seen in the photos) is anything similar and/or identical, wouldn't this put Nintendo up against Apple which dominates the market already for portable multitasking devices?

All I know is E3 can't come any sooner...

Personal Take:My own personal prediction is that the controller will connect to the 'Wares Shop' (whether independently or by having data transferred from the console to the controller i do not know) and allow you to play older generation games (Gameboy-N64?) and also if developers of Project Cafe titles want to, they can add mini-games which will allow you to advance in the game.

My 'concerns' are that Nintendo has now walked away from the core gamer entirely (if this technical information/console design is true). That is in saying while the library of games made by Nintendo (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc.) can be enjoyed by the core gamer we are joined at the hip with entry level gamers. No games Nintendo makes nor companies hired generally focus on more seasoned gamers. While playing all the first-party games is always a pleasure it is no longer in my opinion a necessary experience. For younger gamers its a 'must have' to an older gamer like myself. I'll pass until they prove me otherwise...

As harsh as this sounds I'll hold off further criticisims until I see the conference show tomorrow (late night for me morning-mid day for most of you). We'll see if anything Nintendo shows sways my opinion.

UPDATE: I also dug up some addition information in regards to the power of the console here is some information

- PowerPC (IBM) made 3 core CPU (if confirmed, this is the same as the XBOX360)

- AMD ATi R700 Series GPU (if confirmed, this would be a near four year old GPU) I speculate this is to keep costs down

- While RAM can not be officially confirmed it is said to be around that of a XBOX360 and a PS3 (so somewhere in between those two consoles or slightly above)

BF3 & PC Elitism, "A Match Made In Hell"?

In a rare blog I will be discussing a Western game as my central theme of the post (Battlefield 3). I hope you enjoy and will comment below!

Well this November will be an exciting time for Battlefield fans (I am one of them). The next edition in the standard series (which originated on the PC with BF1942) Battlefield 3 will be arriving in a few months from now. It should provide a great alternative to those who are tired of the CoD franchise as well as those who are FPS enthusiasts in general.

From what we can tell so far, Battlefield 3 is taking everything DICE has learned from both their PC experiences (BF2 mostly) and their new innovations with destructible environments, the Frostbite engine (Bad Company series). A few new additions, including a single player campaign (with online CO-OP), day/night cycles (which will influence player combat), and multistory buildings which will show more damage then in the Bad Company series.

This sounds like the reciple for a great game this fall and everyone should be excited. However, it has come to my attention that there are some within the PC community (both on Gamespot, EA BF3, and other forums) that are starting up in a somewhat angry protest against console gaming and its respective community.

For a little more than half a decade, starting with the XBOX360 launch the PC had finally been challenged as the forefront of online gaming. This shift has caused undesirable consequences for the platform that has always been tightly knit and community based. Reliant on cutting edge preformance and games from key developers. Those companies however, which had never imagined supporting their IP and products on the consoles have dramatically switched more than in any other time in gaming history, a mass exodus had taken place. It is this reason that has resulted in a swelling of hatred and disrespect by some in an overall decent community.

In addition, for the past three to four years, EA has been dedicating the recent Battlefield games towards a focus on consoles and this community respectfully. Obviously in this writer's opinion, a foolproof way to increase profits and reach a larger scale audience. This did leave PC gamers out in the cold though (no ports of BFBC and BF1943) until the port of Bad Company 2 and the expansion Bad Company 2: Vietnam was released.

Now, as technology between consoles and computers become increasingly larger as time progresses, the staff at DICE has decided now is the time (with both console and PC communities fully aware of the BF franchise and their communities set) to create their next major entry and this time with a focus on PC hardware using the new Frostbite 2 Engine. This is great for PC gamers who finally have a AAA game of the FPS variety focused squarely on their favorite platform.

So while this should be a joyful time for the PC community as a whole, there is a lot of 'talk' that is coming from the PC community that seems to degrade and discredit the community as not being just a group of elitists. A sort of "bottled up rage" from over the past couple of years that they have been dying to inflict on anyone that mentions the console version of this "sure to be" hit title. Most of the rhetoric is based around how 'inferior' console games and gaming is to PC gaming. A debate, which most have been sure to of read or been involved directly with in the past (Crysis 2 is the last known example I can think of). I can begin to give countless examples but anyone who is interested in Battlefield 3 has most likely come across these sort of comments referring to how the console version is no good cause it has a lower player cap (64 vs 24), 'inferior' graphics, and better controls. However it should be made clear that we have seen virtually no videos or screenshots of the console version.

This isn't only coming from the PC community of gamers but also from PC magazines around the globe, making up false claims and reports against the console version to further idolize the PC version (a cheap attempt to maintain PC enthusiasm and reader membership alike I gathered). and EA indirectly who has not taken a stance to tell DICE to also show off their console product media against the PC version in retrospect (granted E3 is right around the corner so they can be preparing as you read this).To me, it feels like this is a marketing opportunity that EA has taken up to exploit the PC community's frustation (of a lack of sales) of the last few years in generating more hype and sales against another huge (and higher selling rival) CoD: MW3 (of which many PC gamers feel Infinity Ward and MW2 betrayed their appreciation of the community via lacking of dedicated servers). I do hope they cease their endorsement of this hostile environment towards console gamers as they are equally (if not slightly more critical due to their sheer numbers in comparison) important.

If there are any Battlefield fans out there, how do you feel about this? Post below and let me know what you think!

I Recommend It!

Hey everyone! I wanted to bring to my readers attention a game that is probally something you never heard of but should try. It's on the PC first off and you don't need high specs to run it so it should run on most modern computers in the past six or seven years.

It is called "Koumajou Densetsu II", an action-adventure genre title that pays tribute to the Akumajou Dorakyura (Castlevania) franchise. So for you Castlevania fans out there you will feel right at home. For a small development team (Frontier Aja), I feel they did a good job and deserve some attention. So please support whether its a good word or you decide to purchase their product (they do accept foreign orders I think). This is a sequel but I believe the quality has improved so much from the original that this deserves more attention. Also, I believe there is some sort of English support too for those that don't read Japanese.

Official Site:http://aja-games.com/products_koumajou_2/

Trial Download (Demo):http://aja-games.com/products_koumajou_2/download_trial.html

Anyway, if you try it let me know what you think!

Nintendo - What are you doing?

Hi everyone! I apologize for my lack of posting in these blogs and the lack of my responding to your blogs as well. I will do my best to catch up with everyone and respond to your posts. I am well but I got caught some allergies because of all the tree pollen (my wife has been a champ helping me out) we had recently and I've been having to conserve my energy on work.

OK so this is no shock to most of you about "Project Cafe", the new petname that Nintendo has given their next console. While relatively little is known other than speculation (such as: using a AMD R700 GPU, the controller having an integrated screen, Taiwan company Foxconn developing the hardware, a late 2011 or 2012 release date and a 350-400 price point).

My quarrel with Nintendo lies with their lack of home console support. We are in a game drought with the Wii in Japan and the announcement of an imminent release of a new home console (which to many of my friends created an equally sounded interest and then immediate sigh), I do not see any reason for the "next step". Nintendo has succeeded in selling the most home consoles for profit this generation. A decisive victory that Nintendo has not enjoyed since the Super Famicom (SNES). Yet with all of this success it seems rather short lived since the size and quality of the game library doesn't match up. Basically these last five years have been a huge success for Nintendo as a company but as a consumer and more importantly a gamer I felt we've all been dealt a bad hand for our blind affection towards Nintendo.

An interesting article (here on Gamespot) brought up an interesting perspective about Nintendo. It states,"Nintendo doesn't want to compete with Sony and Microsoft--it's in a competition with itself to realize a vision of the video game industry that has been in the making for more than two decades." If this "Project Cafe" is really the "Ultimate Vision" that Nintendo has been attempting to create for the last 20 years, then have we not been the guinea pigs or test subjects of Nintendo while a greater product all along? (I'll leave that part up to you)

I think its impossible to believe that Nintendo does not compete with PS3 or XBOX360 nor at the same time show any direct interest in competing with them. This is a "back and forth process" as it has always been in consoles (meaning nothing out of the ordinary). Essentially, companies copying each others successful ideas and attempt to fit those ideas (that work) within their hardware. Newer hardware then tends to incorporate those successful ideas of the prior generation and combines them with new "fresh" ideas and the process starts again.

The only difference is that this generation with the Wii, Nintendo took the money saving (and successful money profiteering) path to make a quirky, "innovative", and inexpensive home console solution amongst the more technologically advanced PS3 and XBOX360. Using the method that innovation is greater than technological muscle. Looking back, the Wii does appear to be merely an "online-capable" Gamecube with motion controllers. Re-utilizing a somewhat failed investment (Gamecube) as part of its structure. Wii is ultimately a "successful low-risk investment".

On the other hand, even with its dated hardware one could forgive all of this if the game library was large enough to interest a large range of gamers. Unfortunately if you remove the Nintendo IP game titles, there isn't much variety left for the exception of a few third party titles titles such as Last Story, Xenoblade, Monster Hunter 3. Nintendo's blatant ignorance towards the Wii and gaining greater third party support may of saved them money but also effects your demographic when you don't support them with enough core gamer titles. Perhaps my critical nature against Nintendo's home console would be far less severe if it had lived up to its name (much like how the PS2 did in terms of its vast game library by the time it was retired) and reflective sales of being the greatest console on the market. This seems like a perfectly failed opportunity and could perhaps provide a ramification for Nintendo's next console.

What do you think? Is Nintendo's next console a tad too soon or an overly delayed solution to the highest selling home console hardware of this generation?

My Top 10 Games of All-Time

Thanks in part to parkutommo blog page for the idea to make this post!

Here is my Top 10 Games of All-Time List! It should be noted that this list represents games that left the greatest impact on my gaming mindset and the way I interpret video games as a whole. Please note that these games are not in order because I believe you can't put a list like this in order. Some may shock, others may awe you, some will make you feel like you're really young and know nothing about gaming history (I'm just joking...wait am I?) and the rest may even confuse you. Enjoy!

Akumajyou Dorakyura X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku (Castlevania Symphony of the Night)


Super Mario World

Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past)

Rockman 2 (Mega Man 2)

Metal Gear Solid 4

Final Fantasy X


Kingdom Hearts

Monster Hunter 3

=About This List=

Now as with all the lists the problem is that there are many games that are worthy of entering the Top10 in my book. Games I can immediately list are: F-Zero, Ico Series, Shin Megami Tensei Series, Persona Series, Dragon Quest Series, Gran Turismo Series, Downtown Nekketsu Kuniokun, Sonic Adventure Series, etc. I could go on. However I stress again these games on my list left the most amount of memories and helped carve my imagry of gaming as a whole. The Japanese Golden Age of gaming is fading rapidly (could rebound but not in the next few years) and so a lot of people my age would refer to the Japanese as the professionals of game creation and creativity.

Now, you may have also noticed that I haven't mentioned any Western games in this list. The reason for that is I believe now, as in the present, is the time when Western developers are having the most profound impact (perhaps a Western Golden Age of gaming has begun?) rather than how the Japanese has had it in the last 20 years. Of course one should not ignore such games like Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Myst, Half-Life, God of War, Uncharted, Battlefield, Call of Duty, System Shock 2 etc. This is more of a debate that would occur among younger gamers that might not quite understand my logic (unless they are retro gamers themsleves).

Let me know what you think. Discuss below...

JGSDF Rock On!

CONTINUING COVERAGE HERE:http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-gtv#utm_campaign=fupcoming&utm_source=2&utm_medium=news-breaking-news

As I type at 9:48AM (JST) two JGSDF ( Rikujyo Jieitai= 陸上自衛隊 ) CH-47J (Chinook) helicopters began dumping water on the reactors at Fukushima making multiple turns on the site. This was planned yesterday but cancled as the radiation levels from the reactor were too high and posed a major health risk. Everyone is cheering as we see the helicopters dump water in the office.

This is what the CH-47J looks like:

UPDATE: The JGSDF operation reported on NHK. Each helicopter dropped 7.5tons of water equal to 10m of water entering the 3 and 4 reactors.

UPDATE 2: JSDF General Oriki Ryoichi has announced that an operation had begun little past 4:00PM(JST) using a specially designed firetruck in an attempt to hose down the reactors 3 and 4 to prevent overheating at the Fukushima plant.


PS: I know this may be hard to understand for some but please refrain from believing most Western media coverage (I'm speaking of American more specifically here). I have checked online (obviously out of curiosity) to find out what they are saying.

Apart from the carefully stated words and understanding that US President Obama has stated, ordering the clearence of Americans to voluntairly depart from NE Japan or leave the nation (which is common practice for any leader), the mass media seems bent on reporting a major nuclear disaster. I've seen these reports live online and they were pathetic at best. Lacking any of the scientific evidence that NHK and other Japanese stations (Fuji, TBS, etc.) have presented. They are doing lousy reporting and finding themselves severely "out of the loop" and delayed in getting their information. They are in Japan physically but receive reports between 1-2hrs+ late. Mainly because they are all big time American reporters that don't speak a scratch of Japanese! I'd prefer them just go home if they are going to continue doing such a pathetic job. They could have done the same from their newsdesks in Washington D.C. or New York.

Please, refer to NHK English first before you start beliving everything the Western media says. Of course, you have the right to doubt the information from Tokyo Electric, the Japanese government, or even NHK itself but don't put your faith purely into the Western media for this event. They are just hungry for a disaster story. Thank you.

The Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake 2011


http://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv43295303(NHK JAPANESE)

http://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv43296023(NHK IN ENGLISH)

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tbstv(TBS JAPANESE)

This is to inform those that aren't receiving effective information and are curious about the current situation. At work, we are all watching the news and so we are constantly being distracted by the television.

Dai-Ichi Nuclear Plant, Fukushima (from left to right the cores 1,2,3,4)

As of now, Tokyo Electric (who runs the power plant in Fukushima), has been running limited power service. Broken into individual groups at given times there have been "rolling blackouts". This is effecting the Tokyo and surrounding prefectures of the Kantou areas. This is being done to preserve electricity.

Food amounts within the disaster area have been runing in short supply. Batteries, fresh water, vaccines and other medical supplies are in high demand.

There is a caution message concerning the Fukushima plant that,if there is an imminent meltdown, that the radioactive material could go airborne and cover the nearby towns. For the time being though there is no reason to say that it will happen but if it does the government and news reporters are preparing those citizens within the evacuation zone on safety preparation for airborne radiation by keeping windows and doors closed, shutting off aircon and vents, wearing a coat with a hood, using a face mask and wet towel around the face covering your mouth and nose.

A diagram showing the current amount of Micro-Sieverts (mSv). Currently @8217 and rising...@10000 mSv, humans can be diagnosed with cancer due to radiation exposure within the radius

There is a special team of international nuclear experts coming to assist in anyway the Japanese experts that have been trying to prevent meltdown.