Anime App Crunchyroll Launches on Nintendo Switch

The Crunchyroll anime app launched worldwide Feb. 17 on the Nintendo Switch.

Viewers have access to more than 1,000 series and 30,000 episodes on the Crunchyroll app, including “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” and “One Piece,” through their Nintendo Switch console either docked at home or taken on the go with offline viewing support.

With this launch, Crunchyroll will become the first streaming application to offer offline viewing on the Nintendo Switch, and one of a limited number of SVOD apps on the gaming console, according to the service.

The Crunchyroll app offers ad-supported anime or, through a Crunchyroll subscription, unlimited ad-free anime, with simulcast series streaming day and date with premiere in Japan.

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Powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine technology, the application allows users to watch anime in TV mode, with their console docked and plugged into a television; in tabletop mode, which allows them to share their anime with others; or in handheld mode, to pick up and experience with Joy-Con controllers attached.

Crunchyroll is also available through iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices, PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast.

Crunchyroll connects anime and manga fans across 200-plus countries and territories. In addition to free ad-supported and subscription premium content, Crunchyroll offers the anime community social engagement, events, games, consumer products, content distribution and creation, and manga publishing.

Crunchyroll was acquired in August 2021 by Funimation Global Group, a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment Japan.

 

Voice Cast, Release Date Disclosed for ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Animated Theatrical Movie

Animation studio Illumination (Minions) and Nintendo announced that their new movie based on the video game world of Super Mario Bros. will be released worldwide during the 2022 holiday season. Universal Pictures will release the title in North America on Dec. 21, 2022, with the release schedule for additional countries and regions to be announced at a future date. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo.

Voice actors include Chris Pratt (Mario), Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Charlie Day (Luigi ), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek) and Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike).

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The screenplay will be written by Matthew Fogel, whose writing credits include The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and the upcoming Illumination film Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Shigeru Miyamoto, co-creator of Super Mario Bros., and fellow of Nintendo, said production on the movie has been “constructive and going very well,” with representatives from Illumination and Nintendo “learning a lot from each other.”

“We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen,” Miyamoto said in a statement.

Super Mario Bros. is considered one of greatest-selling video game franchises since launching in 1985 as a successor to the Mario Bros. arcade game.

NPD: July Video Game Sales Increased 10% to Record $4.6 Billion

Following a brief downturn in April, sales of video games, hardware and accessories rose 10% in July to a record $4.6 billion, compared with revenue of $4.18 billion in July 2020 at the height of the pandemic, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Spurred by greater availability of new-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony, hardware sales skyrocketed 98% to $323 million — the best July sales tally since 2008. Hardware sales topped $161 million in the previous-year period. Year-to-date spending on consoles through July is up 50% to $2.7 billion from $1.81 billion in 2020.

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Game software sales rose 6% to $4 billion, from $3.7 billion in 2020. Year-to-date revenue rose 12% to $29.45 billion, from $26.29 last year. The top-selling game in July was Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, followed by perennial chart topper Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War from Activision.

Total consumer spending on gaming for seven months reached $33.5 billion, up 14% from $29.38 billion during the same period last year.

Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario’ Death Hoax Spurs Social Media Buzz

NEWS ANALYSIS — When Nintendo on March 31 pulled the 35th anniversary special-edition video game releases Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. from its various platforms, some fans of the franchise took to social media proclaiming the Japanese publisher’s vaunted animated plumber character had been killed off or passed away.

The special-edition release has reportedly sold more than 2.6 million copies in the U.S., according to industry data.

While Nintendo announced it would stop supplying product to all of its platforms, including physical, at the end of March when it released the special-edition game last September, social media follows its own rules.

Online memes began surfacing that Nintendo had killed off one of its best-selling characters, which made about as much sense as Coca-Cola ending original Coke (oh wait …) or The Walt Disney Co. terminating Mickey Mouse. But then Disney has in the past used the marketing ploy of discontinuing legacy packaged-media titles and returning them to the company’s IP vault for future re-release.

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But in a digital ecosystem, there is no shortage of content — ever — and Nintendo’s refusal to comment on the situation only amped speculation — especially the day before April Fools.

 

Futuresource: COVID-19 Had Positive Impact on Gaming

New data from Futuresource Consulting found by the end of this year, the gaming software market will be worth $154 billion, and gaming hardware will end the year at $15 billion, with 51 million consoles shipped.

Much of that growth will be digital as next-generation game consoles will offer an all-digital version, devoid of a disc drive, spurring further digitalization of gaming content access. Indeed, Microsoft just revealed that the Xbox Series S will cost $299, and $499 for the Xbox Series X when they bow on Nov. 10 in the United States.

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In the meantime, Nintendo is expected to have a strong year due to less competition from Sony and Microsoft in the first three fiscal quarters, as gamers await the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

“There has been a strong response to the title Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and its timely launch at the beginning of the pandemic,” analyst James Manning Smith wrote in a post. “The title has found success through its appeal across demographics, appealing to young gamers and families, as well as the franchise’s nostalgic older fanbase, offering the perfect escape from a difficult year.”

Futuresource said that beyond next-generation consoles, mobile gaming has remained the fastest growing segment of gaming software spending, largely due to rapid growth in emerging regions. This year, mobile gaming will account for 50% of total gaming software spend, driven by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing. It is forecast to increase its market share to 52% by 2024 due to its popularity and accessibility in emerging markets.

NPD: Video Game Sales Decline for Seventh Straight Month

Video game sales in February dropped 29% to $755 million from $1.06 billion in the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group. Notably, the decline wasn’t just associated to hardware as console manufacturers ready next-generation device launches for the winter holidays.

Sales of new game software titles plummeted 36% to $307 million from $480 million last year. Hardware fell 34% to $183 million from $277 million.

As has been the case for the past year, Nintendo Switch was again the console sales leader in unit and dollar terms despite being down from last year. Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller was the best-selling accessory.

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In a social media post, NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said the results were expected and indicative of ongoing industry trends.

“Lack of new releases always hurts, and the late cycle dynamics we’re seeing on hardware are what they are,” Piscatella tweeted. “Ring Fit Adventure [Nintendo] continues to climb, we’ll have to see if inventory challenges appear in the coming months.”

Other top-selling titles included No. 1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Activision); NBA 2K20 and Grand Theft Auto V (Take-Two); Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (Bandai Namco); Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (Ubisoft Entertainment); Mario Kart 8 and Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo); Madden NFL 20 (Electronic Arts); Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo) and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (EA).

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30th Anniversary Blu-ray of ‘The Wizard’ Due March 24

Shout! Factory will release The Wizard: Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray Disc through the Shout Select premium imprint March 24, 2020.

The 1989 film tells the story of young Jimmy Woods (Luke Edwards), who runs away to California with his brother, Corey (Fred Savage), while being pursued by their father (Beau Bridges) and older brother (Christian Slater). Along the way they encounter street-smart teen Haley (Jenny Lewis), and discover Jimmy’s hidden talent for video games, leading them to enroll in a tournament at Universal Studios.

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The two-disc collector’s edition includes a new 4K scan of the film and new bonus features, including an audio commentary from director Todd Holland and never-before-released deleted scenes.

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Featurettes include “The Road to Cali-forn-ia,” a retrospective with new interviews from Holland Savage and Edwards, writer-producer David Chisholm, producer Ken Topolsky and more; “How Can I Help You? Confessions of a Game Play Counselor”; “A Clinical Analysis of The Wizard”; and a post-screening Q&A from the Let’s Play Gaming Expo 2019 with Edwards, Chisholm and Topolsky.

The set also includes trailers and a photo gallery.

 

Nintendo Switch Game Console Tops 15 Million Unit Sales in North America

Nintendo continues to spearhead the sluggish North American video game industry as market rivals Microsoft and Sony ready next-generation consoles launches a year from now.

Nintendo Oct. 17 disclosed it has sold 15 million Switch and Switch Lite consoles in North America since the device’s bow in 2017. The console has sold another 10 million units in Europe, which combined reportedly top PlayStation 4 console sales.

The Japanese hardware manufacturer’s Switch platform has led The NPD Group’s monthly game market research data for more than 10 straight months.

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The company said Switch titles have average more than 1 million unit sales each, including four that have surpassed have surpassed 6 million unit sales: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

 

Nintendo Switch Lite Launches

Nintendo has launched Nintendo Switch Lite, which is cheaper and lighter than the original Switch, as well as a new Switch game, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

“The introduction of Nintendo Switch Lite gives people the choice of a Nintendo Switch system that best fits their needs and personal play style,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s SVP of sales and marketing. “With the simultaneous launch of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, today is a great day for newcomers and existing Nintendo Switch owners alike.”

A lightweight device with integrated controls designed specifically to play Nintendo Switch games that support Handheld mode, Nintendo Switch Lite is available in three colors: yellow, grey and turquoise. Available at $199.99, the system has integrated controls and is smaller than the original version. The original Nintendo Switch, which offers TV mode and Tabletop mode, in addition to Handheld mode, retails at $299.99.

As a dedicated handheld gaming device, Nintendo Switch Lite supports all Nintendo Switch software that can be played in Handheld mode. It’s designed for consumers who have lots of opportunities to play on the go, and for anyone who wants to play online via Nintendo Switch Online (sold separately) or local wireless multiplayer with friends or family who already own a Nintendo Switch system.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which can be played on any system in the Nintendo Switch family, is available at $59.99.

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In the new Chamber Dungeon mode, players earn Chambers (dungeon rooms) throughout the story and arrange them to complete objectives. Launching alongside the game is a new Link amiibo figure. By using this figure, players can unlock Shadow Link in the Chamber Dungeon.

Also launching is The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Adventure, a reimagining of one of the games in the series. Link has washed ashore on a mysterious island, filled with strange and colorful inhabitants. To return home, Link must explore a reimagined Koholint Island that’s been faithfully rebuilt in a new art style. Along the way, he will battle enemies and conquer numerous dungeons riddled with tricks, traps and enemies, including some from the “Super Mario” series.

Nintendo Offering 12-Month Switch Online Membership with ‘Tetris 99’ Game

Nintendo Switch device owners can now pick up a new bundle at select retailers that includes the Tetris 99 game and a 12-month membership to Nintendo Switch Online at $29.99 SRP.

Launched last year as competition to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live, the standalone Switch Online membership is normally $19.99, which includes access to multiplayer games, catalog of NES and SNES games and cloud storage, among other features.

Nintendo Switch Online members also gain access to a smartphone app that enhances features of supported games.

In Tetris 99 “battle” mode, players can take part in 99-player battles, competing to be the last person standing. Players who are more traditionalists can see how long they’ll last offline in the single-player “marathon” mode.

While offline, players can take on 98 CPU players, pass a Joy-Con controller to a friend for a two-player game against each other and CPU opponents on one Nintendo Switch system or face off with up to seven other players who have their own systems and games via local wireless connection.

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