Nintendo building ‘video game version’ of iTunes | iLounge News

Nintendo building ‘video game version’ of iTunes


During a keynote address yesterday at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata divulged further plans for Virtual Console, an online download service he described as “the video game version of Apple’s iTunes music store.” Like GameTap, a subscription-based game service launched last year by Time Warner, Virtual Console will serve as a legal online download service for classic video games. However, only Nintendo’s service will feature titles from its own past consoles, as well as games from past competing platforms such as Sega’s Genesis and NEC’s TurboGrafx-16. “Between them, [Sega’s and NEC’s] systems built a library of more than a thousand different games,” said Iwata. “Of course, not all of them will be available, but the best of them will.”

Set to debut with Nintendo’s next-generation game console, currently code-named Revolution, the Virtual Console will act as an emulator for classic games developed by Nintendo, Sega, NEC/Hudson, and third-parties. Contrasting with GameTap, which allows Windows PC users to download games, the emulated titles will be playable only on Nintendo’s new machine, similar to Apple’s initial launches of the iPod and iTunes only for Macintosh users.

Past consoles specifically supported by the Virtual Console service include the NES/Famicom, Super NES/Famicom, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, and NEC TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine. Emulation of additional classic platforms, such as Nintendo’s Game Boy, Virtual Boy, and Game Boy Advance, could conceivably be added in the future, as could support for game playback on machines other than Revolution. Iwata also noted that developers will have the option to sell new Revolution games directly through Virtual Console, rather than relying on disc-based media for distribution.

In a post-keynote interview with the Seattle Times, Iwata was asked for his thoughts on Apple. “People think of Nintendo and Apple in similar fashion,” he responded, “like we are always trying to think in terms of the customers. Apple tries to think of what’s the best way for people to use Apple products. And if those customers are not using Apple products now, what are the barriers and how they can remove those barriers.”

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This I could get into.  I’ve really missed some of those old games (even though I’ve been able to play some of them emulated on the PC, it’s just not the same).  Glad to see Nintendo is looking into making the old stuff available.  As long as they don’t try and sell them for more than they’re worth.  I’m thinking not more than $3 or $4 a pop.  That would be just right.

Posted by BrettB in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 24, 2006 at 9:56 PM (CST)


I’ve always liked nintendo. They’ve always been fun, kinda like apple is. I skipped on the 64 and game cube, going for the PS1 and PS2. The result was me not enjoying gaming as much. So I was gonna skip this generation of consoles… then I went and bought a gameboy micro. Tons of fun, (it has now been stolen by my gamer mom) just like I remember.

So I’m really excited about the revolution. That was before knowing about the support for old games. Now I’m all over it. I was just happy knowing they’s support old NES games. Now they’ve added Sega as well. Nintendo really must want my money…and they are gonna get it!

Posted by Glorybox3737 in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 24, 2006 at 11:04 PM (CST)


Depending on Price and Availability this could be good.
Used SNES’s are becoming more and more expensive on eBay due to the whole Retro-Gaming Fad.
One thing which would be good would be a way to download ROMs of Cartridge games you own, in a similar way in which you can use music from Conventional CD’s (or Tapes or Vinyls, or 8-track, or Reel-to-Reel, or whatever, given an audio input and appropriate software) in iTunes.
However, if they are asking current game prices for retro games, this will be bad. I’m not paying AU$80 for Zelda.

Posted by Daniel Woods in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 24, 2006 at 11:15 PM (CST)


I really think that the revolution will be the best seller. On all the forums people that plan on buying a ps3 or 360 also want a revolution, so you got the hard core already.
But then the rest come in where there are children or low core gamers that just want a system to play on the weekends. This is perfect for them too!

Posted by Jonathan Keim in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 24, 2006 at 11:26 PM (CST)


Didn’t Microsoft already do this?

XBOX Live Arcade, perhaps?

Posted by Brandt Adams in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 12:30 AM (CST)


No. The scope of what Nintendo is talking about here is somewhat akin to offering a thousand or more downloads from 2 or 3 major record labels (themselves being one of them, and the primary supplier), at a time when the best alternate legal option is GameTap’s ~350 game library. Live Arcade is comparatively tiny and doesn’t bridge the company gap in nearly the same way. These are still early days, anyway; expect all of the services (and Sony) to grow from here.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 12:35 AM (CST)


Building a MAME-like emulator into iTunes and them selling games online (esp those that could be played on an iPod) always seemed like a natural to me. Seems like there’s a big untapped market for additional games on iPod along with an add-on controller attached to the dock connector.

Posted by Coleco in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 10:11 AM (CST)


Not quite what the article is saying. The article is talking about how Nintendo is making an ITMS like store for its older games. Not for iTunes

Posted by Alek in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 11:50 AM (CST)


This sounds like a great idea. I have also liked Nintendo above the others, but was dissapointed by the support for the N64 (and their decision to use CARTRIDGES) and the Gamecube, thought I still own them.

If this is true, then my next Nintendo system will probably be my most played.

Posted by ahMEmon in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 12:05 PM (CST)


I don’t mind downloading old school games, but i’d rather pay for the disc of new releases.

I am no nintendo Fanboy, but I have to say, Nintendo is looking a hell of a lot better than xbox and ps3 in my eyes.

Posted by Razmig in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 12:28 PM (CST)


GameTap has already done this with nearly 400 games in their catalog.  Plus they are constantly adding new games all the time.  It is an awesome service a they already have a lot of great games.  Plus they have games that I have never heard of before and now like and play all the time.  I can’t help but wonder how Nintendo will setup the service.  Will it be a buy to own, a rental service per game or a subscription service to a game library like GameTap?

Posted by mac10 in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 1:02 PM (CST)


im waiting for the ps3 its gonna be even better than the xbox360

Posted by KOOBAZI in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 2:04 PM (CST)


Wow, This is great. I remember playing Sega and really loving it but then playing on the next generation of consoles and not really being too impressed. I guess there’s something about 2D scrolling action that does it for me.

Posted by metalfingers in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 2:40 PM (CST)


This is the same thing as the 360’s Live Arcade.  The only difference is that Nintendo will be able to sell its own games and Xbox can’t sell those.  Nintendo has a vast library available to it, but I doubt that it will be any larger than Xbox’s by the time the Revolution comes out.  Don’t forget, Xbox has Capcom… Street Fighter II baby!

Posted by luvkit in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 2:49 PM (CST)


No, it’s not the same thing. If Nintendo did it the same way Microsoft is, they would only be offering SOME games from the Gamecube. Rather, they are offering games dating back all the way to the NES days, plus Sega Genesis games and TurboGrafx-16 games. Microsoft is of course limited by the fact that they entered the gaming market with the Xbox, and so already have a smaller library to offer. Still, from what I know, the Xbox games offered through the Live Arcade service have been labeled as too few and not good enough anyway.

Posted by Joshdude in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 3:21 PM (CST)


As a guy who owns an Xbox 360, I love Live Arcade but it will never hold a candle to this. Live Arcade only gets one or two new games every month or two and they’re almost ALWAYS ports of free stuff you can play at Yahoo! games (like Zuma and Bejeweled) or on a cell phone. This service sounds kick ASS. I’ve always been a Nintendo fan and have owned every console they’ve released including the NES, SNES, 64, GameCube, the original big-ass white Game Boy, the re-issue Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and my current personal favorite, the Nintendo DS—never got a virtual boy or a GB color though. I basically planned on buying a Revolution since I heard about its release but the more I hear the more excited I get. I’m an old-school gamer from back-in-the-day and just knowing I can download all those old games and play them on a Nintendo console with a Nintendo controller is cool beyond words. Not to mention I owned a Turbografx-16 and there are A LOT of those old games I’d love to play again. Dragon Spirit anyone?!

Posted by SaintEuphoria in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 4:35 PM (CST)


SaintEuphoria, if Nintendo’s service takes off, don’t be surprised to see Live Arcade get more ports of old PC-based games (talk about a library of thousands!). Up until now, it’s seemed as if MSFT has been unwilling to upset their Xbox developer partners by offering old games, but I suspect that Redmond is going to be quite unwilling to concede anything to Nintendo as they are with Sony.

That said, I hope Nintendo does very well with this and makes FISTFULS of cash. Then perhaps they can spend some of that windfall to shore up that woeful Mariners pitching staff; ‘06 is looking like it’s gonna be a another painful year watching these bozos…

Posted by flatline response in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 6:35 PM (CST)


this is pretty cool.

btw, this pretty much makes the abandonware issue null and void as nintendo will be reissuing these old games (and reupping the copyrights)...

Posted by greeeaaat in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 10:06 PM (CST)


Also a very big fan of nintendo here. I LOVE the idea of all the old-school games coming back for the new generation to see what we had, and just how much fun 2d can be. One thing tho: I couldn’t help wondering if the controller would be a problem or not. I mean I love the NES, SNES, and Sega, but I’m curious as to if it would seem a bit awkward playing with the revolution style controller. Can’t wait for the launch! L8r Everyone!

Posted by Elementix in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 25, 2006 at 11:39 PM (CST)


2 days without a news update? I’m dyin!!

Posted by aaronsuspect in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 26, 2006 at 10:33 PM (CST)

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