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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Nintendo Question & Answers: 80th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Didn't they just ask these questions?

Back in May 2020, for Nintendo's annual report, president Shuntaro Furukawa answered several questions from investors and shareholders about the state of the business, mostly about COVID-19 and its implications.

Then a few days ago (around June 26, 2020), Nintendo held THE 80TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS. They took more questions and delivered more answers, many of which continue to be about COVID-19 and its implications, or about mundane things that you should already know about if you're investing in Nintendo. Like, if those guys read KoopaTV (and knew English), they wouldn't waste time asking these. 

Here were the 11 questions, of which few are worth me commenting on.
  1. Since it currently costs nearly 5 million yen to purchase one minimum trading unit of Nintendo's stock, making it difficult to invest, we would like you to consider splitting your stock. In addition, what is your stance on the fact that Nintendo is not yet included in the Nikkei225 Index?
  2. Nintendo Switch is in short supply due to the huge success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I feel that Nintendo was not able to support this sudden increase in demand, which led to a major opportunity loss. Please tell us about your future plans for handling the production system, sales methods, and predictions for demand.
  3. What kind of measures are you currently taking to protect your employees and continue doing business in the face of COVID-19? Has Nintendo implemented a remote work initiative as well? If so, what kind of work are you allowing to be performed remotely?
  4. With regard to Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics released in June, please tell us about how you are using playing cards, karuta, and other products that were a starting point for Nintendo. In addition, there was talk that an IR (integrated resort) would be built in Japan in the future. Is there a possibility of using Nintendo's cards in the casino that will be built along with it?
  5. My understanding is that you are responding to the shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles by increasing production and holding raffle sales through the My Nintendo Store and at other retailers. However, Nintendo Switch continues to be resold at inflated prices, and I believe that merely increasing production or holding raffle sales is insufficient for supply to catch up to the sudden increase in demand. Specifically, please let us know whether you are discussing measures.
  6. I heard reports of a class-action lawsuit filed in the US with regards to malfunctioning Joy-Con controllers. I've also heard people point out that the servers used for Nintendo Switch network services go down easily. Isn't this a concern from a product security and reliability perspective?
  7. Could you tell us about the outlook for your next game system? Game hardware has always displayed an image on a TV or other kind of screen while you do something, and I think that's where the limits for this format are. Would the hardware you're thinking about go beyond those limits?
  8. I'd like to hear about Nintendo's meticulous focus on game development. Compared to other entertainment like watching movies or tapping on smartphone screens, I feel that dedicated video game platforms have a unique appeal, in that you can enjoy operating the characters via controller and the result of each button press. I'd like to know about your particular detailed focus on enriching the game experience through the use of a controller.
  9. I want to ask about operations at SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Japan, which is scheduled to open ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. In light of COVID-19, have any measures been devised regarding the number of visitors, ways to shorten wait times, and the like?
  10. There are no Nintendo Direct announcements usually held together with E3 because the event has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19. In addition, I am concerned as an investor that, at present, there are few software titles with set release dates. I was relieved to hear Director Takahashi say that software titles planned for release this fiscal year have currently not been affected, but I'd like to see some titles announced via a Nintendo Direct soon. Also, as time have changed, I feel it might be a good idea to review the whole process of making announcements using Nintendo Direct.
  11. What are your thoughts on the current position of the mobile business? Has your conception of it changed from when the mobile business first started? Also, could you touch on the current partnership with DeNA?

Nintendo's answers were basically, “Sorry, we're working on it. We appreciate your patience. Please understand.” (Questions 1, 2, 5.) Or, “We can't talk about it.” (Questions 4, 6, 9.)

Other media outlets (working off their own translation and not the new official one) somehow got a bunch of people to think that Nintendo will never do Nintendo Directs again because this is how they answered question #10: 
“We  think  the  Nintendo  Direct  format  is  very  effective for  us  to  directly  and  clearly  convey  information about games to consumers. On the other hand, as the times change, the most effective ways of conveying information can also change, so I think we should always be looking for the best ways of communicating.”
Does that sound like “We're done with Nintendo Directs!” to you? No? Because it sounds like a bland non-answer to me, like everything else from this annual general meeting. Nintendo has also pointed out they're perfectly capable of non-Direct video presentations, like the Min Min presentation and the two presentations from The Pokémon Company.

Masahiro Sakurai home house couch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate production
Pretty comfy arrangement.
And Nintendo obviously has video editor(s) perfectly capable of working remotely.
As well as all of the approval processes that content has to go through.

Nintendo has also mentioned that, even though Japan's state of emergency has ended, they are still encouraging their employees to work from home. They also mentioned Jump Rope Challenge as an example that Nintendo employees can be productive while working from home, but, uh, I don't recommend trotting that example around since Jump Rope Challenge isn't appealing.

Then there's the questions (#7 and #8) that amounted to “what is your philosophy on how games are a unique medium?” I dunno why those were asked, but as you might expect, there was nothing to learn from that. Well, actually, they did say that the Nintendo Switch would have an extended life cycle, so hopefully it'll keep going for several years to come.

Blame the investors for the dull questions. I'm not one of them. We could have real questions like “When is Shigeru Miyamoto going to retire already?”

Try to brainstorm other real questions that you'd like to hear Nintendo executives answer in KoopaTV's comments section below! It could be fun. Just be careful to avoid asking questions that'd be answered with non-answers. ...Though pretty much anything could be answered that way. Ludwig also wonders if the first annual general meeting of shareholders happened in 1940, because that seems like a bad time for shareholders to meet in Japan.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Fortnite's Black Lives Matter Event Experiment

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They were doing it for clout, but it's also an interesting social experiment.

Did you have a nice Independence Day? Here at KoopaTV, we wanted to focus our independence energies towards Hong Kong. Epic Games, the developer of the uber-popular Fortnite, put their just-as-valid independence energies towards a We The People event in Fortnite's Party Royale mode, hosted by CNN FAKE NEWS contributor Van Jones, along with Jemele Hill, Elaine Welteroth, Killer Mike, and Lil Baby. They wanted to talk about systemic racism in media, culture, and entertainment, and unfortunately, Fortnite is a big player in all of those.

Just for a little background, Party Royale is a pretty new Fortnite mode that's being used to feature live shows/broadcast content, such as concerts and movie showings. Players get to sit back and watch, stripped of distractions like weapons and goals. Creative people have a big interest in wanting to showcase their work in front of the massive audience that Fortnite can bring. Previous showcased things include deadmau5, Diplo, Inception, and Batman Begins.

Videogame academics and researchers interested in games as social spaces will be very interested in how the Party Royale develops, if it continues to. It's definitely still an experiment, and I'd consider this specific We The People event to be... a failed experiment. You can watch the whole thing for yourself here if you want—I did to prepare for this article—but you can also skip it and just keep reading my thoughts and a complication the event faced. Warning: Contains some really awful (but safe-for-work) rap music:

Friday, July 3, 2020

KoopaTV Advocates for Hong Kong Independence (香港独立)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - KoopaTV supports 香港独立!

You are supposed to pronounce the Chinese letters as “Xiānggǎng dúlì.” It means Hong Kong Independence. How did “Xiānggǎng” get romanticised to Hong Kong, I dunno, but what I do know is that the Chinese Communist Party is severely mistreating the Hong Kong region and the millions of people that live and work there. The only way to resolve this is for Hong Kong to have independence.

To be clear, when we covered the Hong Kong Liberation controversy back in October with Activision-Blizzard and Hearthstone (and the broader reasons why Hong Kongers wanted liberation and what that meant), there were tons of protests over an awful extradition treaty that'd violate Hong Kong's autonomy. It wasn't for people wanting Hong Kong to actually be an independent country.

Then the Chinese Communist Party Virus was inflicted upon the world, including Hong Kong, and the protests were stopped. During that time, China was plotting measures that would further deteriorate Hong Kong's autonomy, to the point that now United States policy is to no longer consider Hong Kong and China separate entities. Those measures include banning treason and subversion, which is code-word for “you will be arrested for protesting.” And many examples of arrests and police brutality have taken place over there.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Tencent and Nintendo Announce a New Pokémon Game

By OLI KANG - Finally, a MOBA for Pokémon fans!

Tencent, a multi-billion dollar Chinese conglomerate, has been partnering with successful gaming companies for years and is now planning a move with Nintendo. Tencent entered the console gaming sector by collaborating with PlatinumGames and Marvelous. This turned out to be a wise strategy as it helped Tencent create games based on popular game franchises.

On June 24th, 2020, Nintendo announced that it would partner with Tencent Holdings to create a new Pokémon game. The partnership is Tencent Holdings' latest attempt to enter the console market and consolidate its partnerships with Japanese firms. This new Pokémon game is a real-time, 5-on-5 multiplayer game (or MOBA to be exact) called Pokémon UNITE.

Photo by Jay on Unsplash

Pokémon UNITE Features

For the most part, Pokémon UNITE looks a lot like Tencent's other well-designed multiplayer games, especially League of Legends. The new game will have a familiar screen arrangement and will feature popular Pokémon characters. Pokémon UNITE will allow mobile and Nintendo Switch players to work with teammates to take down their opponents.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

KoopaTV's June 2020 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Featuring progress!

In normal times, the KoopaTV June 2020 newsletter would be reviewing the month of June with a heavy focus on the events of that year's Electronic Entertainments Expo (E3). Unfortunately, there was no such conference this year—not a legitimate central one—so June was more like any other month of the year.

That said, in terms of KoopaTV, that still makes for an excellent experience, so let's talk about it. There's a brand-new opportunity starting today, as well.

KoopaTV's Top Five Recommended Experiences of June 2020

Core to KoopaTV is our published content that you get to interact with (and get rewarded for). Every month, we highlight the top five. That said, there are other pieces of content—they are all works of art, really—that doesn't get to be in the top five, and they're still absolutely things you should check out.

  1. Not All Cops Are Bad. This One Stomped on Mario! — It's super-important to note the relationship between us Koopas and your Earth cops. It's bad. We therefore generally support measures to take the police down at least one notch... but this one guy on footage did a good thing. We think it's worth checking out.
  2. A Closer Look at Paper Mario: The Origami King — We learned a lot more in June about the battle system and characters in Paper Mario: The Origami King, and Ludwig has some thoughts and analysis on it.
  3. What or Who is a BOOMER BILL? — A KoopaTV exclusive investigation into what or who a Boomer Bill is, after the rest of the Internet is confused by the LEGO-Nintendo partnership.
  4. Pokémon Smile's “Let the camera see your face!” Made Me Pokémon Frown — Ludwig initially complained that Pokémon Smile doesn't even work and the camera feature is a fail, but it got updated, so now read his thoughts on it as an experience! (Further elaborated on later in this newsletter in the next section after the page break.)
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate June 2020 Fighter Usage Stats: Last Before the Min Min Era! — As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate enters a new day in its metagame, Ludwig caps off version 7.0.0 with the final usage stats, as well as a data-driven rant about Nintendo's foolish politically correct (and detrimental) decisions around delaying their own tournament out of respect for Black Lives Matter.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Version 8.0.0 Impressions

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's a hero I'm excited for, and it sure isn't Min Min.

Most people will associate Super Smash Bros. Ultimate version 8.0.0—revealed in a presentation last week and released as of last night—as the version update that added Min Min and a bunch of ARMS music to the game, within the new Spring Stadium stage. Some speculators will be excited about the prospect of base game Spirits no longer deconfirming future downloadable content character selections. Speaking of spirits, a few high score nerds will seek to maximise their scores in the new spirit battle rematches feature.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Min Min tourney mode June 29 2020 bracket
This looks like a Min Minfiltration.

I think I've made it clear that I'm most hyped for the updates to the fighters that come with the new update. Here are the patch notes details. (I'll note that Kirby and Captain Falcon featured in Min Min's trailer and were big beneficiaries of updates, and it was pretty much just buffs without nerfs.) If that comes across as gibberish to you, perhaps this before and after video from Beefy Smash Dudes will help:

What am I most interested in? Well:

Monday, June 29, 2020

The CAPCOM Greatest Hits Sale of June 2020!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's also around for the first two days of July 2020.

Did you miss the massive FakE3 2020 games sale from two weeks ago? Well, it's a new week, and at the very least, that means CAPCOM is putting (some of) their games on sale again. Really:

Capcom Greatest Hits Sale June 2020 Nintendo eshop
CAPCOM Greatest Hits Sale, from June 25 to July 2 (or July 3 at 2:59 AM on Eastern Time).
If you're able to remember the history of all of these sales (and it's hard, since they all morph together in your head), you'd remember that we also got a CAPCOM Greatest Hits Sale three months ago in March 2020. That one had seven games, while this one had eight games. Here's a comparison table:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate June 2020 Fighter Usage Stats: Last Before the Min Min Era!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The state of the online metagame before Min Min.

As revealed at the start of this week, Min Min from ARMS is going to be a part of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at the start of next week. That will not only introduce Min Min, but there will also be balance changes. I'm looking forward to those, especially after the concern that patches wouldn't be implemented anytime soon due to the Chinese Communist Party Virus making it difficult for developers to work.

All of that means that the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate metagame—especially online—will change forever beginning on June 29–30, 2020. You should recall the existence of the official Nintendo-sponsored Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open May 2020, with the majority of it taking place in June 2020. Right after that concluded, Min Min got presented. That makes it one of the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate events before Min Min, and since there are a ton of available stats with a large sample size, it's interesting to see the last snapshot of the metagame.

Congratulations, by the way, to Sumgai (Pichu player from the Northeast USA/Region 7, and perpetual pwner/eliminator of me in these tournaments), The Mighty Dialga (Bayonetta player from Southeast-ish USA/Region 6), Nerysacio (Isabelle player from Mexico/Region 4), and Nessboy12 (Ness player from California/Region 2). Also, congrats to me for being appointed as the only non-tournament-staff moderator in the Discord server for the tournament series. That's a far cry from being banned from every other official Nintendo location ever made.

I'll talk more about my thoughts on the tournament later on in this article, but first, USAGE STATS. Who is being used the most of the cast? Who is being used the least? And how have those numbers changed since we last looked at them in March 2020? Take a look:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Why Cybersecurity is an Important Issue for the eSports Industry

By JACK WARNER - Beware of the cybersecurity risks you are exposed to.

ESports, the center of entertainment for gamers everywhere. Whether you’re into watching a Smash player eradicate the will of their opponent or witnessing a professional Counter-Strike player clutch a match, eSports has it all.

And while I could go on about the intrinsic nature of the eSports industry, I’d talk about the issues plaguing it. I speak of the cybersecurity issues that haunt fans and professional players alike.

The first cybersecurity issue haunting the industry is that of cheats. There are just so many cheats in competitive games. You don’t have to look too hard to find videos of wallhacks in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or aimbots in Call of Duty.

Them being everywhere ruins the sanctity of the concept of eSports. I’m sure professionals have used them before. As a matter of fact, according to Polygon, a Counter-Strike pro did get caught using cheats, causing his entire team to be barred from future games, killing the team entirely.

But there are far more problems in the eSports industry than just cheats. Let’s take a moment to talk about the act of stealing/selling accounts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pokémon Presents: Pokémon UNITE Live Reactions!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Yeaaaaaah this is laughably bad.

Last week, The Pokémon Company had a presentation covering several new Pokémon projects. The Pokémon Company asked us to tune in this week for “more news” to “please look forward to”.

And so, myself and Heavy Lobster are tuning in today to...this. Warning, as of publishing, the Like:Dislike ratio is 39K:55K.

[8:51 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa:
[8:52 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Well, it's set to YouTube "for kids".
[8:52 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: So it's probably not something like Pokkén.
[8:55 AM] HeavyLobster: Sounds lame. Pokken 2 would be amazing.
[8:55 AM] HeavyLobster: Please no Let's Go Johto garbage.
[8:55 AM] HeavyLobster: Dumbing down Gen 1 was bad enough.
[8:58 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: ...uggh.
[8:58 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: I'm more worried about Let's Go Sinnoh.
[8:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Johto can afford to get ruined!
[8:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: It already got a fantastic remake.
[8:59 AM] HeavyLobster: Any spinoff outsourced to a quality studio is hype, any annualized release made by Gamefreak is not.
[8:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: inb4 spinoff outsourced to a poor studio
[9:00 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: BEGIN