Nightly News Roundup 2011.05.27

Iwata discusses third parties and the Vitality Sensor; Ubisoft launches film/TV plans; Harmonix talks Rock Band’s future.

By Andrew Hsieh. Posted 05/02/2011 20:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Iwata responds to third-party angst, supply & demand

GDC 2011 Photo - Satoru Iwata
Satoru Iwata speaks at the Game Developers’ Conference in 2011.

In the wake of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami comes a Q&A session with NOJ President Satoru Iwata, published on Nintendo’s Japanese site (though in English). This is no “Iwata Asks” session– rather, Iwata steps out from the interviewer’s seat and answers (in long paragraphs) questions regarding the fiscal year that ended March 2011. While Iwata answered four long pages’ worth of questions, here’s some remarks that may stand out to Nintendojoites:

However, we believe we have taken measures so that there will be no impacts to our current production plans. We have come up with our plan with the premise that, as long as there will not be any further negative development in the situation, the Great Earthquake will not have a serious effect on our product supply. The reason why we have a conservative view for the first half of this fiscal year is because we are taking into regard the current Japanese market sentiment, the situation of the launch of Nintendo 3DS, the software we can propose and the estimated length of time needed for the value of Nintendo 3DS to be understood by and spread to the consumers, which took more than a year for Nintendo DS. These factors made us think that we could not be too optimistic in the first half of this fiscal year, but the supply chain issue didn’t have any effect on our plans.

Among other things, Iwata also discussed his knowledge that Nintendo “can[not] maintain the market alone”, and that the company needs to “create a market that is attractive to third parties.” Iwata also said that the Vitality Sensor is a project that is still in progress, citing that he wants “99% of consumers [to] feel comfortable” with the project. The entire interview has been published in NOJ’s IR investor relations site.

Source: Nintendo of Japan

Ubisoft launches film, television division

In a bold move, French video game publisher Ubisoft has decided to follow in the footsteps of such companies as Square Enix in adapting its game franchises to silver and small screens. Ubisoft’s managed to snag Jean de Rivieres, former distribution head at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France, as well as Jean-Julien Baronnet, former CEO of EuropaCorp. This decision comes in the wake of Ubisoft’s latest film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, a movie based on Ubisoft’s eponymously video game series that has seen popularity in recent years. The Jerry Bruckheimer film grossed $335 million worldwide, according to Variety.

Ubisoft is not completely new to the movie scene, as in 2007 the company launched Ubisoft Digital Arts, which acquired Montreal-based Hybride Technologies the next year. With their new division, Ubisoft could bring properties such as Assassin’s Creed, Red Steel and Beyond Good & Evil to theaters near you.

Source: Variety

Harmonix VP of Product Development hopeful for Rock Band

Rock Band 3, the latest console offering in the Rock Band music video game series from Harmonix, was released late last October, and Harmonix VP of Product Development Greg LoPiccolo has plans for the series to keep on rolling– over the lifeless shell that once was Activision’s Guitar Hero franchise. Here’s what he said to IndustryGamers:

“Within Rock Band, I think we are very much committed to the franchise. We’re not quite sure what form that takes right now, but even in Rock Band 3 we were exploring some new ideas, some new directions, and we’re very pleased with how the Pro stuff came out. The Fender Squire Guitar… we’re incredibly proud of how that came out and the way it kind of conceptually pushes music gaming in a new space where you can pick this thing up and learn to play guitar, or keys, or drums. So we’re interested in that thread and how that could evolve. And all along we’ve been working on other kind of evolutionary directions to take Rock Band and Rock Band game play that we find exciting. So I think from our perspective we want to keep creating things that we think are cool and compelling and push the envelope in new directions, and then the market will pronounce its judgment on our efforts. But that’s, to some degree, out of our hands. It’s our job to make good stuff.”

LoPiccolo was reluctant to discuss other details about future games in the series, but mentioned that he would like “some creative choice” to be part of future titles, as opposed to “really pretending to play other people’s music.” LoPiccolo also said that Harmonix would have “at least one bit of significant news at E3.”

Source: Industry Gamers

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