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Nintendo Unveils Wii Ware Plans

At a press conference in Japan, Nintendo has made a number of new product announcements, including the first wave of Wii Ware downloadable games like Pokemon Farm and Mojipittan, as well as announced Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog is appearing in
At a press conference in Japan, Nintendo officials have made a series of product announcements including -- as elsewhere reported -- Monster Hunter 3 for Wii, the inclusion of Sonic the Hedgehog in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the first wave of Wii Ware original downloadable games. According to a translation of a Japanese weblog by consumer website IGN, the Nintendo Conference 2007 Fall was lead by the announcement of a new Fire Emblem game for the Nintendo DS, as well as the previously unannounced Super Mario Stadium Baseball for the Wii and new footage of Wii Music. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata gave a talk entitled “Expanding the Gamer Population is our Basic Strategy”. He stated that, while 50 percent of current Nintendo DS sales in Japan are from first party Nintendo titles, this share should shift to other publishers in the future. Iwata also provided statistics showing that for each Japanese household the Nintendo DS had 3.0 users and the Wii 3.5 users. Additionally 53 percent of Nintendo DS users were female, with 51 percent on the Wii. Nintendo’s other main focus at the conference was on increasing the Wii’s Internet usage, with a “counseling center” for helping users connect online. The first details of the Wii Ware range of original downloadable games was also given, with Nintendo itself developing Pokemon Bokujou (variously translated as Pokemon Farm or Rancher), which is able to connect to the Nintendo DS game Pokemon Diamond/Pearl. Also announced was 2D shoot ‘em-up Star Solider R from Hudson, the Scrabble-like word puzzle game Mojipittan Wii from Namco Bandai and a new version of puzzle title Dr Mario. Although no titles from independent developers were highlighted the line-up also included an original game from Square Enix named Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles - The Young King and the Promised Land. The service is scheduled to launch in March in Japan, with all titles expected to be released at a “low price”. Nintendo will also expand the Wii Vote channel to include rankings and a search feature for recommended games, while a new download channel for Nintendo DS game demos will also be introduced. In terms of normal retail products, Wii Fitness was confirmed for release in Japan on December 1st at a cost of ¥8,800. Mario Kart Wii is set for a spring release in Japan and will include motorcycles as well as the traditional karts. Also confirmed was the inclusion of Sonic the Hedgehog in the beat ‘em-up Super Smash Bros. Brawl, although the game has been delayed in Japan until January 24th. It is unknown whether this will affect the expected North American release in December, while the European release has always been set as spring 2008.

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