LOS ANGELES — Nintendo has gathered another big crowd of media and game-industry partners inside the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Boulevard this morning for its E3 press conference.
Here are some of the questions hanging over Nintendo, the breakout success story of the current-generation console competition:
— Can it increase Wii production to match mass-market demand for the runaway console leader?
— With a series of hits already in the market this year, including “Mario Kart Wii” and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” what will it do for a holiday encore?
— Given that many other hit Wii titles are from Nintendo, how does the company attract more third-party game developers?
— How will game developers make use of the Wii Balance Board, a new controller that is changing the way people interact with games?
Check back for answers.
Update, 9:41: Snowboarder Shaun White, the U.S. gold medalist at the 2006 Torino Olympics joined Nintendo executive Cammie Dunaway on stage to demonstrate a new snowboarding game from Ubisoft, which makes use of the Balance Board, for the Wii by the end of the year.
Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata said that his software developers are at work on new Mario and Zelda titles for the Wii.
A new device on the way is the Wii Speak headset that will allow a group chat in a new game, “Animal Crossing.” It also is due out by year end.
Update, 9:48 a.m.: Nintendo is pumping its DS portable, which sometimes flies under the radar. But it shouldn’t. The company expects to have sold 100 million units globally by the end of its fiscal year, March 2009.
Dunaway just dropped a big piece of news: The DS will have a custom version of the blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto” called “Chinatown Wars” this winter. Set in a modern day Liberty City, the game features a custom game engine, new characters and the same open game play.
Update, 10 a.m.: Nintendo’s famed designer Shigeru Miyamoto just demonstrated Wii Music, a game that takes air guitar and drums to a new level, looks a bit different from other music games. To play a note, the player holds the Wii Remote like one would when holding the actual instrument. The Wii detects the position and movement of the Remote and creates the music. The game will have 50 instruments including saxophone, taiko drums, a full drum set (with lessons), hand bell choir, piano and violin. The game is also due later this year.
Update, 3:47 p.m.: Here’s a photo gallery from the event.