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Nintendo Suffers 60 Percent Drop In Profits In Most Recent Fiscal Year

Nintendo has reported its year-end financials, and while the company has closed in the black, the results show staggering decline. While sales only show a slight dip, net profits dropped by 60.6 percent to ¥16.5 billion ($ 148.5 million).

Nintendo’s operating income is a bright spot among the financial report with a jump of 32.7 percent to ¥32.9 billion ($ 296 million). With the NX now known to be coming in 2017 and the new Zelda delayed again, Nintendo is hinging the first nine months of its new fiscal year on 3DS.

The company has a heavy hitter in Pokémon Sun and Moon, but the rest of the first-party lineup isn’t nearly as powerful. Highlights from first-party on the 3DS include Bravely Second End Layer and Kirby: Planet Robobot, which are part of the new fiscal year. 

On the Wii U, upcoming games include Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Paper Mario Color Splash. The weak critical response to Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard likely won’t do Nintendo any favors.  

Nintendo has revised down its expected Wii U sales in FY17, anticipating only selling 800,000 units worldwide. That’s down from 3.3 million consoles worldwide in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.

Nintendo is also being understandably conservative about the 3DS, which is now a fully matured device. The company expects to sell 5 million during the year across the family that includes 3DS, 3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS, and New 3DS XL.

Nintendo’s biggest software sellers during the year were Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer on 3DS with 3 million units and Splatoon on Wii U with 4.3 million. The inky shooter bested Super Mario Maker, which sold a respectable 3.5 million since its launch.

[Source: Nintendo (1), (2)]

 

Our Take
With NX and Zelda now launching in 2017 (though still in the new fiscal year should they make the announced March window), Nintendo is setting itself up for a rough nine months. The company will be all but absent this holiday season, and its E3 showing is limited to The Legend of Zelda. Today's news puts the last nail in Wii U's coffin, with the system now officially in "lame duck" status.

While I suspect NX will give Nintendo a boost for Q4 and full-year, the financials are going to be ugly leading up to the launch. A Wii U price drop is long overdue, but if it does happen, Nintendo might be able to woo people who have been waiting to jump in.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Grand Theft Auto Online Drop Zone Mode Kicks You Out Of A Plane

Grand Theft Auto Online has a new high-flying and fast-falling adversary mode today. Drop Zone straps a parachute to your back for a twist on King of the Hill.

Four teams of up to sixteen players each will plummet to the earth to hold onto a patch of land. The first team to secure the location for two non-consecutive minutes wins. Drop Zone is featured on five different maps to start. 

Also out today are two new sports cars: the Karin Sultan RS and Bravado Banshee 900R. You’ll be able to take them for a spin in a weekend event offering double GTA cash and RP.

For more on GTA V, check out our review.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Downwell Review – A Long Drop Down A Shallow Hole

Every dedicated gamer knows what it feels like to get absorbed in an experience. Whether it’s another battle, race, or mission, practically every genre has the power to hook us and keep us coming back for “just one more try.” Exactly what creates the irresistible urge to keep playing is hard to pinpoint, but Downwell attempts to tap into it. This retro-styled hybrid provides short and replayable bursts of action, but the well isn’t deep enough to swallow you up.

Though it borrows elements from platformers, top-down shooters, and roguelikes, Downwell has its own unique feel. You fall down vertical stages in a procedurally generated well, using multi-purpose gunboots to slow your descent and take out enemies. Even though you can fire bullets, your best offensive move is stomping on foes, since you get gem (i.e. score) and health bonuses for chaining kills together without touching the ground. The controls are simple and responsive, and striking a balance between speed and safety is entertaining. You plummet, weave, stomp, and shoot while collecting gems and avoiding hazards on your way to the bottom of each level.

My favorite part of Downwell is the early discovery phase. The game isn’t complicated, but it also doesn’t explain its intricacies. That’s okay, since I loved learning the mechanics and finding tricks (like the wall-jump) on my own. When does your ammo refill? Which gun types are the best? You find these answers over the course of your first few runs. When you die, you just start over at the beginning, but the trial-and-error does not feel punishing. Your attempts – especially the early ones – are brief, so bad runs can be over in moments, while good ones last 20 minutes or more. That makes it easy to play in short bursts, but it doesn’t hold up over the long haul.

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The more time you sink into the experience, the less rewarding it becomes. Completing a stage presents you with a random selection of upgrades, which initially had me excited for all of the possible builds and combinations. However, the pool of options is ultimately disappointing. You are never deciding between several power-ups that you want; you’re crossing your fingers that one of the good ones shows up. The drone and gem attractor are great, but how many balloons and hot shell casings do you need to grab before they show up?

No matter what power-ups you gather, you lose them when you die. I expect to start fresh in games with roguelike elements, but Downwell doesn’t have enough persistence and progression in other areas to keep me excited about diving back in. The most common item you unlock is new color schemes, which usually make the game worse. The default visuals have a clear “red is bad, white is good” setup, but many of the additional palettes make that distinction much harder to read, muddying the action.

You also have access to different styles, which are the only permanent unlockables worth exploring. Selected at the beginning of a run, styles have different properties that impact your approach. For instance, boulder style has more health and a rapid descent, but gives you fewer upgrade options at the end of a stage. Your choice of style changes how aggressive you can be, how fast you fall, how many shops appear on your way down, and more. This lets you fine-tune your approach, but once you earn good ones (like levitation), the urge to experiment diminishes.

Downwell is at its best when you’re bounding from one enemy to the next, blasting through obstacles, and frantically scanning for a safe path through the chaos. This moment-to-moment challenge is fun, and the later levels (and final boss) put your skills to the test. Unfortunately, the journey to that level of proficiency feels like a grind. Though each run is technically different, they all start to feel the same.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

King’s revenues and users drop — but it’s doing better than expected

Payments made in its free-to-play games slid year-on-year — down 8 percent, to $ 502 million, from $ 544 million for the same period a year ago. Monthly active users also dropped 5 percent. …


Gamasutra News

Mobile players: 24% drop off after one session, 78% after one month

Mobile games are definitely where the heat is right now: companies are promising massive revenues. But retention continues to be an issue. …


Gamasutra News

PlayStation 4 getting price drop in Japan

During its recent Tokyo Game Show press conference, Sony announced that the price of the PlayStation 4 will drop from ¥39,980 ($ 333) to ¥34,980 ($ 291) in Japan on October 1. …


Gamasutra News

Loot Crate, BioWare Team Up For N7 Supply Drop

Is your Shepard running low on supplies? Loot Crate might be able to help. The company is working with BioWare to produce a special limited-edition version of its surprise boxes tailored to Mass Effect fans.

The Mass Effect N7 Specialty Crate is coming soon, but Loot Crate isn't providing further details. If you're interested, you can sign up here to get notified when more information is available.

Loot Crate has been on a bit of a tear lately, partnering up with Bethesda for a special Fallout 4 box and last year's Amiibo promotion. The surprise element has been one of the compelling reasons people look forward to their monthly Loot Crates, but there's certainly something to be said about zeroing in on a theme that's particularly interesting.

 

[Source: Mass Effect on Twitter]

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Star Wars: Battlefront’s Drop Zone Mode Pits Teams Of Eight In A Race To Capture Objectives

Star Wars: Battlefront is shaping up to have all the modes you’d expect from a shooter (like the recently revealed Blast deathmatch mode). The latest to be revealed is “Drop Zone,” which pits two teams of eight against each other in a race for capture points.

Players won’t know where they’ll be needed, though. Pods fall from the sky, marking the next point of interest. Once captured, the pods slowly open delivering a power up to the team in control.

Modes move quickly, lasting no more than 10 minutes. They can be ended faster if one team manages to control five pods.

Turrets and droids are available to create some variety as players scramble to clear out enemy forces and take control of the points. No video is available of the mode yet, but Star Wars: Battlefront is due out on November 17 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

[Source: EA]

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Destiny’s Latest Patch Increases Treasure Key Drop Rate And Fixes Inventory Problem

Destiny is currently offline for a bit, as Bungie rolls out a patch that fixes a number of little problems with House of Wolves. It also increases the drop rate for treasure keys, which should make your Prison of Elders farming runs far more fruitful.

In addition, the first bounty you complete each week nets you a guaranteed key. You'll also get more of them from ether chests.

The patch also tweaks some issues with bounties, Trials of Osiris emblems not going to the Postmaster properly, and a fusion rifle fix that now properly reflects rebalancing. For those with ammo consumables flooding the inventory, those stacks are now 100 high, so you should be able to free up some space.

Finally, if you don't have House of Wolves (and therefore cannot take missions from Petra), you won't be taunted by the mission icon over her head. You can read the entire patch notes on the Destiny website. You can also read our impressions of the latest expansion.

[Source: Bungie]

 

Our Take
I've yet to dive back into Destiny for House of Wolves, but I've been watching friends tweet about a couple of issues this fixes. Editor-in-chief Andy McNamara was lamenting both a dearth of treasure keys and an overabundance of ammo consumables, which can't be discarded. Hopefully this helps him and others get back on track.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Save Some Green – Garden Warfare Gets A Price Drop

Have you been wondering if Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was worth playing, but you didn't want to plunk down $ 30 on it? You're in luck! EA has dropped the game game's price down to $ 19.99, providing fence-sitters with 10 additional reasons to check out the oddball shooter.

The news came via the game's official Twitter account, which got right to the point:

The game has gone on sale several times since it was released over a year ago, but this marks a permanent price cut. We didn't lose our minds on the game when it was released, but it's worth checking it out. EA CEO Andrew Wilson apparently agrees, saying in a recent earnings call that more Garden Warfare is in the works for 2016, and that further details would be coming at this year's E3. In other words, think of this price drop as a seed to grow the fanbase.

 

Our Take
Twenty dollars isn't half bad, but it's tough to compete with free. Still, this is a good way to grab the game if you missed out on the PlayStation Experience promotion last December. Full disclosure: We had a bumper crop of equally groan-worthy headlines ready, too, but we try and keep to a one-pun limit. 

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