Nintendo of America held a teleconference this morning with Reggie, Perrin Kaplan, and George Harrison, revealing a few more details and answering questions.
Nintendo of America held a teleconference regarding the DS this morning from 7:30 - 8:15 Pacific Time. In attendance were Reggie Fils-Aime (Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing), George Harrison (Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications), and Perrin Kaplan (Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Affairs). There isn't any stunning new information that wasn't included in the press documents, but there are a few new facts discussed, including details on Metroid, marketing, and developers.
Reggie was quick to point out that today is precisely sixty days from the launch. This is Nintendo's first system launch outside of Japan, due primarily to the importance of the Thanksgiving weekend. The Japanese launch date on December 2nd is ahead of a similar weekend in Japan.
The teleconference specifically steered away from any discussions regarding software. Those details will be revealed on the first week of October.
Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt is not the full game, but a multiplayer demo similar to the one at E3, featuring a four-player mode. It's unclear whether there will be a single-player mode in the demo, although it is expected in the final game. The game has been polished up significantly since E3, but there's no word on the length or number of levels. The full game will be released at a later date.
The demos are included to show wireless multiplayer right out of the box without making any extra purchases. Nintendo felt that it was extremely important to show off this key feature of the Nintendo DS.
George Harrison stated that they've raised their sales projections from 3.5 million to 4 million units by the end of the fiscal year in March, possibly higher. The bulk of which will come from Japanese and North American sales since European and Australian markets will be getting the DS towards the end of that time frame.
Nintendo is backing the DS with their biggest marketing campaign ever for a North American system launch: $40 million. Aside from traditional marketing like commercials, the launch marketing includes 12,000 hands-on demo stations at retail and at consumer events. Some retail stores will have multiple DS units to show off multiplayer.
There will be no Cube Club-style tour, but the Nintendo DS will be present at the Fusion Tour and the Street Team will be out in force in November and December.
Reggie commented that they are aggressively launching the DS and targeting a different demographic and "psychographic" than for GBA SP.
Every significant worldwide developer is working on DS games.
After the main thrust from the VPs, there was a Q & A session where several more facts were brought to light.
Reggie stated that out of the games in development he's seen, so far every one of them uses the unique features of the DS. There are no quick ports being made from GBA software.
They have no set predictions for software sales at this time.
One outlet asked what the development business model and lead times were, compared to GBA. The response was that developing games is not significantly more expensive than it is on GBA, and although Nintendo lowered fees on GBA software in September, the DS is still less costly for developers, which is driving interest.
Lead times for DS software will initially be similar to GBA. With manufacturing done in Asia, lead times will be around six to eight weeks. However, Nintendo is planning to build manufacturing facilities in North America to shorten this process.
Development kits are being provided at low-cost or no cost, depending on contracts, which is bringing in a number of developers who have not traditionally worked on Game Boy software.
Another question was in regards to GBA games recognizing the DS for special enhancements. Reggie replied that there would be no default enhancements for GBA games, and no GBA games in the near future are expected to have such enhancements, but it is possible to program extra features into GBA games down the road.
Finally the question of Game Boy and Game Boy Color software was brought up, and Nintendo reconfirmed that they are incompatible with the DS. Only single-player GBA games will be playable on the unit.