Weekly News Roundup: 08.07.2011

3DS games no longer in 3D, new games for Wii and Sony slips up again.

By Lewis Hampson. Posted 08/07/2011 12:00 5 Comments     ShareThis

The Nintendo 3DS news train continues unabated, as President Iwata announces that future 3DS games may not be in 3D at all– even titles developed by Nintendo themselves. A translation of Nintendo’s financial results Q&A session revealed some interesting insights into future plans for 3DS, and where Iwata himself sees it heading. “I think there could be a Nintendo 3DS software title which does not use the 3D feature at all, and I believe Nintendo will develop such software,” says Iwata, clearly outlining Nintendo’s thinking for the future. Much of this talk has been the result of a perceived failure to accurately translate the experience of 3DS gaming to adverts shown on television and internet sites. Iwata continued: “I do not think consumers would be satisfied if every software title we release in the next year only focuses on 3D. So, I believe we have to implement new proposals focused on another appealing feature of the Nintendo 3DS, which is the communication feature.”

Speaking of communicating on 3DS, in the very same interview, Iwata mentions that Nintendo is “drastically changing our way of thinking regarding networks, which might have looked very closed before. We would like to respond to the changing times in this way, and our basic policy is to keep the value of our software assets and to do business in a manner where these assets are not easily depleted.” This relates to Nintendo’s reputation for having closed networks that do not communicate between others– for example, cell phone networks. Iwata hints that Nintendo may be looking at opening up its platforms, but only if it encourages gaming on 3DS (i.e. challenges from players via social networks or mobile phones). This could be a good move, as allowing the 3DS to connect and communicate with other devices or mediums would certainly widen the audience they can reach, whilst proving they can keep up with the times in terms of being more open with their networks. Focusing less on 3D could be a little more risky given the main selling point of 3DS is, you know, playing games, and watching movies in 3D. However, it is quite rare for Nintendo to be so forthcoming with such information which makes me think this is definitely something that will be happening in one form or another. Though it’s worth saying that both Mario Kart and Super Mario 3D Land feature prominent 3D visuals, so do not expect a change anytime in the near future.

Next up we have– wait this can’t be right– a video game announced for Wii, releasing this year? What is the world coming to? Well, it’s true, as the good people of Activision have announced that their surefire sales juggernaut Modern Warfare 3 is being ported over to Wii by the Black Ops development team, Treyarch. Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling had this to say: “The Wii has grown so much as a platform. The great thing is Treyarch proved that you can have an awesome experience on the Wii with Call of Duty. They’ll actually be handling that for Modern Warfare 3.” Previous installments of the series on Wii have been met with positive reviews so it will be interesting to see how this latest venture into Modern Warfare works out. Given the fact that we Wii owners don’t have much to chew on in terms of games as of late, I’d be surprised if this is not lapped up in relatively high numbers and stripped down to its bones as a starter for the main course of Skyward Sword later in the year.

Finally we have some news fresh out of Sony HQ regarding their latest portable, Vita. The successor to PSP and aggressor to 3DS has had its European and U.S. release dates pushed back until early 2012. Meanwhile, the Japanese release of the system is still scheduled for later this year. This timely news should alleviate Nintendo’s 3DS struggles, and give the system a chance to firmly position itself as the number one portable before Vita hits shelves in Europe and America next year. Says Sony Executive Deputy President Kaz Hirai: “We packed so much into the device and made it very affordable. There is no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game business decided that they were going to lower their price.” So if you were planning on going Vita, don’t expect a discounted price either when it is eventually released. Although given that the 3DS was also $250 at launch, Vita doesn’t look like a bad value– considering what’s under the hood.

5 Responses to “Weekly News Roundup: 08.07.2011”

  • 183 points
    Williaint says...

    Here we go again: people taking the ‘may’ into a factual context :(

    They didn’t have to use the 3D in games to begin with, they never will.

  • 1379 points
    xeacons says...

    Well he warned about this at E3 2010. Not all games will be in 3D. I just hope the don’t completely abandon it.

  • 18 points
    Bill Marcotte says...

    I wonder if shutting off 3D provides leaves more CPU cycles for the game.

  • 1561 points
    penduin says...

    Bill: in some cases, yes. (Where “CPU” means “GPU”; it’s the GL rendering we’re doing half as much of.)

    In fact, you can see developers taking advantage of the extra render time right now. Play Ocarina of Time or Street Fighter IV and look closely at object edges as you turn the 3D effect on and off. Anti-aliasing! A higher-quality picture made possible by half the rendering requirements.

    Of course, it’s completely up to the developer how to use the GPU in all 3D/non-3D cases. The freebie Pokemon viewer app anti-aliases edges even in 3D mode, while the Mii and Plaza programs never do. And anti-aliasing is just one quick-to-implement feature. The developer could also trade 3D imagery for higher-detail geometry or finer particle effects etc.

    The CPU (versus GPU) though, does not get cycles freed up by turning off 3D, so we’re not going to see better physics simulations or more intensive pathfinding/AI based on a game running in 2D mode. …Well, I can’t even say that with 100% certainty – there is no shortage of clever developers out there, and abusing a GPU to do non-graphics calculations is a well-established art form.

    Long enough answer for you? :^)

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