8:12AM PST: We're currently in line for Satoru Iwata's GDC 2011 keynote. We'll fill you in on all the megatons, scoops, megascoops, scoopatons and scegapoops as they come in. Which should be in about 45. Join us after the break and follow along at home!
Original: Nintendo prez Satoru Iwata is back, delivering the GDC keynote just like he did in 2006 and 2009. This title of this year's talk is "Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future." With a title like that, you can bet Iwata's going to be talking up Nintendo's illustrious 25-year history, but also making some prognostications for the future. Glasses-free 3D anyone?
Stop back to this post later today for all the news, straight out of GDC.
10:05AM And now we're surreptitiously searching under our chairs for 3DSes and walking out.
10:04AM And now ending as he began, with a quote from TimeGate's CEO, Adel Chaveleh. And then Iwata says to "believe in your dream." "Why would we stop now?" he says, as clearly defiant as Iwata's ever going to be.
10:00AM Two distinct sides of the game businesses: one requires investments that are often too big, and the other provides games that are often not high value. Nintendo is interested in protecting "value."
9:59AM Seriously, guys, think about what you're doing when you make that iOS game.
9:58AM "Is maintaining high value games a top priority ... or not?" Nintendo doesn't publish for non-Nintendo platforms to match hardware and experiences best. Not that anyone thought that would change.
9:57AM "The big app sites" have tens of thousands of games. You know, the big app sites. The ones on your phone.
9:56AM Next concern: that game developers will be able to keep "making a living" from their games in a crowded market.
9:54AM "Industry concerns" from Iwata include talent development and ... well, I guess he's just politely ranting. Polite rants are a GDC staple.
9:52AM I believe Iwata said that Nintendo intended to release Ocarina of Time 3D in June. But it was a passing reference.
9:51AM One puzzle-esque enemy has six arms, making Link's ideal angle of attack difficult.
9:50AM And now we're checking out a Skyward Sword trailer. Link is fighting a big spider, and... a totem pole, and a lava frog, and, uh, a bamboo tree...
9:49AM Miyamoto is working on a plan that will allow developers to "celebrate" the Zelda 25th Anniversary together. No idea what that means!
9:48AM We'll find out more about that at E3.
9:48AM The Super Mario Galaxy team is working on a new "Super Mario" game. The raccoon tail from SMB3 is featured in the (temporary) logo.
9:48AM "Finally the day has come," Miyamoto told Iwata, when they can solve the problem of how to precisely jump in 3D. A new Super Mario game on 3DS!
9:46AM Iwata's back. Still no translator! He's going to talk about new games.
9:45AM Late May 2011 will bring the eShop, the web browser, and DSiWare software transfers. Glad to see this hasn't been pushed back, at least.
9:44AM eShop includes all DSiWare titles, a Virtual Console -- which also includes Game Gear and TurboGrafx 16 games! and "3D classics," remastered in 3D.
9:43AM The new wi-fi points, SpotPass's automatic connection and downloads, and the ability to push content without even having the game in the system will "maximize distribution opportunity." That's really the phrase he used for this actually neat content.
9:42AM (For free.)
9:42AM "Here in America, we'll build substantially on the Japanese experience." Over 10,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots usable on 3DS in late May.
9:40AM StreetPass and SpotPass, the two passive connectivity features. No news yet, they're just still neat.
9:39AM As hinted in a recent "Iwata Asks," 3D video recording will arrive in an update.
9:38AM Music videos and other entertainment "curated" by Nintendo.
9:38AM An exclusive short-form video service. "A wireless Nintendo channel available only on 3DS."
9:37AM Movie trailers in 3D coming to 3DS. Green Lantern will be one of them.
9:36AM You can watch part of a movie on 3DS and pick it up on your Wii later. "Maybe when you walk into your living room, your little guy is already streaming Spongebob." That sound super gross to anyone else?
9:35AM Netflix partnership on 3DS! Hey, there's some news.
9:34AM "The primary function of the Nintendo 3DS is to play games." The display and networking features are distinctive, but the system. Exists. To play games.
9:33AM "Nintendo can do better" in the world of digital downloads. WiiWare and DSiWare have underperformed. You guys are hearing this for the first time, of course. And now Reggie's coming out to talk about network things.
9:32AM "Selfishly, of course, I hope that people decide the next must-have is Nintendo 3DS." Because of technology, new gameplay, and new ways of social interaction. AR Games, Face Raiders, and Mii Maker, all pre-installed, were included to "compel social interaction." To make people want to show this stuff to their friends, and to take their systems around with them to find out what new Miis or other content has been pushed.
9:29AM Once more: "Tinkle Popo."
9:29AM Kirby's Dream Land, by Iwata's own HAL Laboratory, was an action game designed to be completable to everyone. His name originally sounded like "Tinkle Popo." Not so universally appealing! Concerns over the overly cute character led to Kirby appearing white on the Game Boy box art.
9:27AM Donkey Kong Country Returns has the "universal appeal" game companies seek, he said. Is everyone universally that good at games?
9:27AM Tetris and The Sims are the next two franchises to be highlighted. Lessons from these "must-haves" -- a need for constant improvement, social connections, expanding the audience to include new people, and "challenging" the notions of what a game should be.
9:24AM Mario became popular through word-of-mouth, and has remained popular because he "always evolves." Pokemon is based on the "universal appeal" of collecting, training, trading exclusive Pokemon with your friends -- you know, Pokemon stuff. That stuff was designed to promote interaction. A social game.
9:22AM "Must-haves" have been hardware like the first Game Boy, or games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda, Grand Theft Auto, Angry Birds, Tetris. There's a third kind of "must-have" that comes from the player themselves. The social appeal of games -- how players enjoy connecting.
9:20AM "What exactly excites gamers." A "must-have", he called it.
9:20AM "I believe the most important lesson of the last 25 years is understanding what exactly excited
9:19AM "I don't want you to think Nintendo is taking too much credit for developing the social aspect of games". Call of Duty, in particular, has become a big deal online, and he's even namechecking Xbox Live. Unexpected!
9:18AM And now we're in the "total Pong clone" stage in Nintendo's history. And now we're at the N64 stage. Wow, that was quick! While I was typing this, he moved on to Wii Sports. I think he talked more about Spacewar than the NES.
9:17AM "Social network games" are described as "social games," but those are different. Social networks, he says, is a grouping of people for social activity through mobile devices. But just describing a game as "social" is different from that specific. He cites Spacewar, which only existed in networked mainframes in the early days, as an example of an early "social" game.
9:15AM So far, the active user ratio in Europe is lower than in the US. Of course, that just means more room for growth! Right...?
9:14AM In this chart, the blue area represents people who have recently played games on a dedicated game machine, the yellow represents lapsed gamers, and the pink is non-gamers. In case you needed some help interpreting it (we sure did!)
9:12AM The number of people playing games has grown, which helps to offset the skyrocketing cost of game development. How big is this growth? NPD data doesn't indicate, for example, shared use of a game machine within families. Nintendo has been carrying out surveys twice a year, starting in 2005 in Japan, to determine this kind of data.
9:10AM "This sounds like a good old days lecture you might hear from your grandfather." But despite having a freeform structure (audio, graphics, etc. all by the same people) there was no money. And the games were primitive.
9:09AM "Mr. Miyamoto taught me a painful lesson" when he thought his games were technically superior to Miyamoto's. "His games outsold mine by a huge margin." Iwata was "ashamed" and "lost his appetite." To use the English expression....
9:07AM Right now it's the history of Iwata, not the game industry -- starting with his work at HAL Laboratory (and an awesomely goofy vintage pic).
9:06AM And now some rosier outlooks from 5TH Cell's Jeremiah Slaczka and TimeGate. "The primary need is still content," he says. Without content and imagination, "there is no industry." Developers are "the center of the video game universe." And that's leading in to his presentation about the last 25 years.
9:05AM "All developers can learn from each other" at GDC, and "Nintendo is no exception." He's putting up quotes from Lorne Lanning, Mike Capps, et al. about the shaky state of the industry.
9:03AM Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Satoru Iwata.
9:02AM Meggan Scavio, GDC director, is now up, providing an introduction -- and extending birthday wishes to developer Gordon Walton. That's nice.
9:00AM It's a shame the 3DS doesn't have PictoChat. We could stand to be inundated by hastily-drawn 3D rainbow wangs right about now.
8:50AM We're still waiting. The place is filling up. Some attendees have brought their own Japanese 3DSes. If only the web browser had shipped with the device, they could have liveblogged from them!
8:28AM We have been allowed to sit. We're looking at the stage, groovin' to The XX.