Archive for the ‘Amazon.com’ Category

Dear Mr. Iwata, Please fix this Nintendo of America problem…

September 6, 2013

Coffee Beans
There are some people in the video game industry that like to place all the blame for Nintendo’s current financial and Wii U situation on Mr. Iwata, the current CEO of Nintendo Company and now CEO of Nintendo of America as well. Some of those people deny that employees and management in other regions for Nintendo, like at Nintendo of America for example, might actually be part of Nintendo’s overall problem as well though.

There is currently one Nintendo problem though, directly related to Nintendo of America’s region, that I don’t think Mr. Iwata made and might not even be aware that the problem exists. At least, I don’t think he would have made this decision, based on one of his own more recent comments. It is a problem that Mr. Iwata now as CEO of Nintendo of America can hopefully address and get fixed though, for consumers and Nintendo investors.

What problem do I think Mr. Iwata as CEO of Nintendo of America should fix? Brew yourself some coffee, and keep reading to see!

The Brew
Dear Mr. Iwata,

When Nintendo launched the Wii U this past holiday season, it was first available in the United States. I was the first person to pre-order the Wii U at my local GameStop the day they opened up pre-orders on the system, and I have enjoyed my Wii U system and the games I have played on it so far.

What I don’t understand though is why Nintendo of America has made the decision to not have the Wii U console available for consumers to buy DIRECTLY at its MSRP from Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer.

If more and more U.S. consumers are doing holiday shopping online and shopping online in general, I think that Nintendo of America would have wanted the Wii U to be available DIRECTLY from the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com, during its first holiday season. Unfortunately though, it appears that an employee at Nintendo of America kept that from happening.

Amazon’s website for the United Kingdom sold the Wii U consoles DIRECTLY at launch, and still does. Amazon’s website for Japan sold the Wii U consoles DIRECTLY to consumers at launch, and still does. Amazon’s website for France sold Wii U consoles DIRECTLY to consumers at launch, and still does. Even Amazon’s website for Canada sold Wii U consoles DIRECTLY to consumers at launch, and still does.

A picture says a thousand words? Sometimes, this one is an example
of the current Wii U Amazon. situation though.

Amazon.com was the only major online retailer in the United States of America to not offer pre-orders or online purchasing of the Nintendo Wii U system this last holiday season. Still as of today (09/06/2013), Amazon in the United States does not DIRECTLY carry and sell the Nintendo Wii U to consumers at its MSRP. The Wii U system is only available from third-party vendors on Amazon in the U.S.A.

Even the new The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Deluxe Wii U Console Set is not available for pre-order or being sold directly from Amazon.com in the U.S., but Amazon in Canada is now taking pre-orders on it.

Nintendo of America has now missed out on almost a complete year of Wii U sales and advertising on Amazon.com. Giving up basically an entire year+ of sales on the world’s largest online retailer in Nintendo’s most important home console region, before the other consoles have even launched this holiday season, doesn’t make common sense to me, much less business sense to me.

It isn’t just the Nintendo Wii U Amazon.com doesn’t carry and sell directly though, as the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii systems have not been carried and sold at their MSRPs directly by Amazon.com in the U.S.A. for almost the last 2 years. I doubt right now that even the new Nintendo 2DS will be carried and sold by Amazon.com when it releases next month. This also extends beyond just Nintendo’s consoles though, as Amazon.com does not even directly carry and sell the Nintendo eShop and/or Nintendo DSi/Wii Shop cards to consumers. What does this mean?

Sony has their PlayStation Network Cards and Microsoft has their Xbox LIVE  digital cards being sold on Amazon.com, and those digital cards from Sony and Microsoft have remained in the “Top 100” section of the “Best Sellers in Video Games” for more than a year now in most cases, helping both companies to sell digital content from their online stores. Nintendo hasn’t been doing that, for AT LEAST the last 2 years. Nintendo has apparently given up selling Wii U/3DS and Wii and DSi eShop cards to consumers on Amazon.com, and has therefore given up many digital sales that would translate from those cards being sold online.

Digital cards from Microsoft and Sony sold directly by Amazon.com ,
but not Nintendo eShop cards. Why?

Instead of grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, etc., having the opportunity to buy Nintendo eShop cards as birthday gifts and holiday gifts for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS owners, Nintendo doesn’t give them a good option for that on Amazon.com. Instead of consumers being able to go to Amazon.com, finding a Nintendo eShop card at MSRP on somebody’s Wish List and buying it for them as a gift, Nintendo has completely given up that side of potential digital retail sales to its competitors, and that is very odd to me.

I think that Nintendo has seen how important digital sales can be, and how profitable they are as well. Which is probably why Nintendo is now doing many more Nintendo Wii U eShop promotions, such as the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD early Wii U eShop download starting on September 20th.

So, why wouldn’t Nintendo of America and Nintendo in general have the Nintendo eShop cards on the world’s largest online retailer for consumers to buy? I think just as importantly though, if not more so, is if Mr. Iwata does not want to publish Nintendo developed games on the other consoles offered by Microsoft and Sony, then Mr. Iwata should make sure to keep Nintendo’s own consoles in front of as many consumers as possible.

Again, why would Nintendo of America, or even Nintendo in general, not want to have the world’s largest online retailer selling Nintendo systems directly to consumers at their MSRPs? It doesn’t make any sense to me, especially if we are concerned about the long-term future and profits of Nintendo overall.

Which the last point is why don’t I believe that you, Mr. Iwata, made the decision to cut ties with Amazon.com and not sell Nintendo systems in the U.S.A. directly from the world’s largest online retailer to consumers at the MSRPs, in what has been Nintendo’s strongest market for home consoles in recent years.

Mr. Iwata, you recently told ComputerAndVideoGames in an interview that you didn’t want to concentrate just on Nintendo’s short-term profits, but instead you are responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well. I would agree, and that’s why I’m writing this directly to you.

If cutting ties with Amazon.com and not selling Nintendo consoles and eShop cards was a decision for the immediate short-term finances, it MIGHT make some sense, depending on the reason(s) behind the decision. But, if you are the Nintendo employee that has decided to not actively sell Nintendo eShop cards on Amazon’s sites around the world though, can you please explain that decision?

Does not having all current Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards sold directly to consumers at MSRPs by the world’s largest online retailer make sense for the long-term future and profits of Nintendo? I don’t think so, unless you think that Amazon.com isn’t going to be around in 5-10 years, or that fewer consumers will be spending money on online purchases.

Whichever employee at Nintendo decided to cut ties with Amazon.com and not have Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS systems, and even the Nintendo eShop cards as well, sold directly from Amazon.com at their MSRPs, I think has done more financial harm than good for the company.

It makes no sense to me, with more and more consumers making purchases online, to have your most important region in recent years for home console sales, the United States, not offering the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems (and Nintendo eShop cards) directly from the world’s largest online retailer at their MSRPs.

The current President of Nintendo of America, Mr. Fils-Aime, is aware of the Amazon.com situation, though he did not provide any details as to why the United States of America is the only country where Amazon’s website does not directly sell Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards at MSRPs to consumers, when he was asked about it last year.

If you, Mr. Iwata, were the one that made the decision to cut ties with Amazon.com before the Wii U launched and apparently shortly after the Nintendo 3DS launched, can you please explain to investors why you think this is a smart decision for the long-term future and profits of Nintendo? If you weren’t the Nintendo employee that made this decision, can you please let investors know which employee made this decision and have them explain why it was made?

If you didn’t make this decision and are going to try and fix it now that you are aware of it, contacting Amazon.com’s CEO directly, Mr. Bezos, might be the best solution to finding out what exactly happened and why.

Mr. Iwata if you can fix the current Amazon.com situation in the United States and get Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards on the site, I’m guessing there would be thousands of consumers (if not millions) to add them to their Amazon.com Wish Lists and/or purchase them this holiday season as gifts. Maybe you can even take it a step further, and allow developers to sell eShop codes for their games directly on Amazon.com, like what Nintendo has done for some Wii Virtual Console games in the past.

So, in short:
Dear Mr. Iwata,

Please fix this Nintendo of America problem with Amazon.com and get Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards sold directly from the site at MSRPs, for consumers and Nintendo investors.

Sincerely,
Scott Mullins

Caffeinated Thoughts
I don’t understand why Nintendo of America has apparently chosen to burn its console bridge with Amazon.com, especially considering they had a new console release last year. While Microsoft and Sony both have been using Amazon.com to promote pre-orders for their new consoles and games releasing this holiday season, and their digitial promotion cards remain in the “Top 100”, it seems like Nintendo of America is happy with consumers having fewer places to buy and see their products.

So, Nintendo of America had the worst Wii U launch ads, had the horribly run Best Buy E3 Wii U events speaking from experience, and doesn’t have Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards being sold at MSRPs directly by the world’s largest online retailer?

Why? Maybe they need more coffee at Nintendo of America? Maybe they need to hire more staff? Maybe the staff needs to work less, and perhaps could use some vacation time? Whatever the case is, something seems off at Nintendo of America to me, and I’m not sure how aware of the situation Mr. Iwata is, being that he just became CEO of Nintendo of America this year.

Hopefully though, this issue will be fixed before this holiday season, and hopefully before the Wii U price drop later this month. If this is an issue you would like to see Mr. Iwata and/or management at Nintendo of America address, feel free to tweet this post to @Nintendo and @NintendoAmerica.

Questions
Do you think Mr. Iwata was the Nintendo employee that made this decision regarding the relationship between Nintendo of America and Amazon.com, or do you think it was another employee at Nintendo?

If you enjoy shopping online, as I do, do you think Nintendo of America should fix the problem with Amazon.com before this holiday season, or at the very least explain to consumers and Nintendo investors why Amazon.com is the only Amazon site (that I’m aware of) to not directly carry and sell Nintendo systems at MSRPs to consumers, only having third party vendors that do it?


Links to some Nintendo items sold on Amazon.com, but not DIRECTLY BY Amazon.com:


CONNECT WITH COFFEE

Coffee Shop! Online Wii U deals – save 20%, or more!

August 30, 2013

Coffee Beans
I told a friend back in June who was interested in the Wii U then, that I thought a price drop would happen for the system pretty soon and I would wait a little while to see what Nintendo would do. So, earlier this week when Nintendo announced the Wii U Deluxe Set is getting a new MSRP of $299.99 starting on September 20th, I was glad to see it happen and immediately told my friend about it.

The Wii was hard to find in many locations for nearly 2 years after it released, and because it was selling like hot coffee on a cold winter’s day, the prices of many first party Wii games rarely dropped below their MSRPs. Even now, some Wii games have their original MSRPs of $49.99.

The Wii U has been struggling with its monthly sales compared to the other consoles, since January of this year. The biggest beneficiaries of this unfortunate situation for Nintendo though, are the consumers. The Wii U hasn’t even been out a year yet, and already many Nintendo published Wii U titles are seeing some significant discounts off their MSRPs.

If you currently own a Wii U, or plan on getting one soon (like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Wii U Deluxe Bundle), hit the jump to see some current Wii U deals on games and gear that are at least 20% off their MRSPs/List Prices!

The Brew
First up, if you own a Wii U and have been interested in grabbing New Super Mario Bros. U, you can currently get it for $44.31 with free shipping, HERE, which is a savings of 26% from its MSRP.

If you are even a little bit interested in Call of Duty: Black Ops II for the Wii U, I highly recommend it. The online community is still active, and I don’t have issues finding regular Team Deathmatch battles to hop in. Amazon.com currently has Black Ops II for the Wii U on sale for just $37.96, HERE, with free shipping. Just make sure to check the “More Buying Choices” section on the right side of the page and look for Amazon there, otherwise you will currently be buying the game from a third party vendor on the main page, and the order will be “Fulfilled by Amazon” instead. It is cheaper by nearly $10 that way right now though, if you don’t mind purchasing from a third party vendor.

For Disney fans that might have recently purchased a Wii U, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is on sale from Amazon.com for $25.24 with free shipping.

Fighting fans have two deals to pick from on the Wii U right now:
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U is currently on sale for only $19.77, a 50% discount, HERE! Like Black Ops II, check the “More Buying Choices” to make sure you are getting it directly from Amazon, unless you don’t mind buying it from a third party vendor.
The second fighting game Wii U owners can buy at a discount of more than 20% right now is Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game is currently discounted almost 30% on Amazon.com, HERE, and is selling for $43.23 with free shipping.

Do you enjoy hunting? Have you ever wanted go monster hunting? If so, you might want to check out Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Wii U. I actually own the game, just haven’t opened it yet. It will probably be played for one of the CoffeeWithGames Game Nights in the future, and I’m looking forward to hunting some more monsters. You can currently save just over 20% off Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate’s MSRP of $59.99, HERE.

If you’re not super, super, super cheap like I am, you probably will want to protect your Wii U’s GamePad sooner, rather than later. You can currently get the Blue Wii U GamePad Nerf Armor protective case on sale for just $12.97, which is 35% off its MSRP of $19.99, HERE.

There are currently two Wii U eShop games on sale, both more than 20% off their eShop list prices.

I have played and beaten Trine 2: Director’s Cut on the Wii U, and really enjoyed my time with the game. The game is currently on sale for just $7.99! You read that right, you can purchase Trine 2: Director’s Cut for just $7.99! Trine 2 was an eShop launch title available when the Wii U launched last November, and has an eShop list price of $19.99.

If you are trying to do the math on that one, it’s a savings of about 60% off its eShop list price. Here’s a trailer for Trine 2 on the Wii U, if you’re wondering what the game is like:

Nano Assault Neo is the other Wii U eShop game on sale right now, and you can currently buy it for just $6.99. It has an eShop list price of $9.99 regularly, so it is currently discounted about 30%. I haven’t played Nano Assault Neo, but like Trine 2, it LOOKS very well done on the graphical side.

If you aren’t aware of what Nano Assault Neo looks like, here is the trailer for it from the Wii U eShop:

Questions
While I can easily recommend Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Trine 2: Director’s Cut at their prices, are there any Wii U games you would recommend at their current prices (or, maybe not)?

I have some funds in my Wii U eShop account and am interested in Nano Assault Neo, but I’m not sure I would enjoy the genre, as I haven’t really played the games in it before. If you own Nano Assault Neo on the Wii U, is it a game you recommend to other Wii U owners?

Coffee Shop! Game deals for the PC, PS3, 3DS, & Wii U!

May 17, 2013

Coffee Beans
Amazon.com is running some pretty incredible deals on a good number of PC games right now, and along with highlighting some of those, there are a few PS3, 3DS, and Wii U deals you might be interested in.

When I say incredible deals, I don’t just mean 10% off titles. No, I mean some PC titles 75-88% off their “List Price” on the site. You also don’t need any special coupon(s), special code(s), or special pass phrase(s) to get the deals.

Brew yourself some coffee, and hit the jump to see what games you can find!

The Brew
First up, some of the PC games –
1) You can get Bioshock & Bioshock 2 for under $5! That’s right, BOTH Bioshock games are on sale for just $4.99 in the Bioshock Dual Pack, HERE, which is an 88% savings from the “List Price”!
2) Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is on sale for just $7.49; that’s a 75% savings from its “List Price” on Amazon.com! Get it, HERE!

3) Dead Space & Dead Space 2 for under $10? I know one guy that I think would recommend them. Right now, you can get the Dead Space Dual Pack for only $7.99, which is an 80% savings, HERE!
4) Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Standard Edition is on sale for just $4.99, a 75% savings, HERE!
5) Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition & Dragon Age 2 can be grabbed for under $10 right now, bundled together. The Dragon Age Pack includes both games discounted 80% from the “List Price”, HERE, and can be purchased for only $9.99!
6) Mark of the Ninja is a 2D side-scrolling game, with a heavy emphasis on stealth. The game has a customer review score average right now of 95.71% on Amazon.com, based on 28 reviews. You can grab the game right now for only $3.75, which is 75% off, HERE!
7) Metro 2033 can be picked up for only $4.99, HERE!
8) Last, but not least in the PC titles, The Walking Dead from Telltale Games, for the best price I have seen it yet! For only $9.99, a 60% savings, you can get the entire season of The Walking Dead. It includes Episode 1 – A New Day, Episode 2 – Starved for Help, Episode 3 – Long Road Ahead, Episode 4 – Around Every Corner, and Episode 5 – No Time Left. Again, this is the ENTIRE first season of the game series from Telltale Games, and for under $10. Don’t walk away from this one, if you have been interested in it, get it HERE.

PlayStation 3 deals –
1) Crysis 3 is on sale for $24.99, a 58% savings, and the game released just back in February! Get it HERE!
God of War: Ascension is on sale for only $39.99, which is $20 off its list price, HERE.
Just Dance 4 is on sale for $19.99, which is a 50% savings, HERE.

3DS deals –
1) Mario Kart 7 is on sale for $29.99, HERE.
2) Paper Mario: Sticker Star is on sale for $24.99, a 38% savings, HERE.
3) Resident Evil: Revelations is on sale for just $17.76, HERE.
4) Super Mario 3D Land is on sale for $29.99, a 25% savings, HERE.

1) Assassin’s Creed III is on sale for just $29.99, a 25% discount, HERE.
2) Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is on sale for $24.99, a 50% discount, HERE.
3) Scribblenauts Unlimited is on sale for $42.78, HERE.

If you own a Wii U, also make sure to check out the eShop as you can currently grab two games that are on sale. You can get Super Metroid for only 30 cents right now, through June 11th. If you wonder how many hours you might expect from Super Metroid, you can read/see the latest official U.S. Nintendo Channel data report for the game, HERE.

You can also now get RUNNER2 on sale for $11.25, until May 30th. I already purchased Super Metroid, and might be taking advantage of the RUNNER2 sale soon!

If you haven’t seen any footage of RUNNER2, I’m including its Wii U trailer below:

Question
Would you recommend any of these games at their discounted prices, or know of any other game deals happening now that you would recommend?

If so, please leave feedback below!

Current Wii U trade-in values – Amazon.com, Best Buy, & GameStop

March 22, 2013

Coffee Beans
The Wii U released on November 18, 2012, just over 4 months ago now in the United States. As you may well know, the Wii U system released in two sets: the Deluxe Set with a MSRP of $349.99 and the Basic Set with a MSRP of $299.99.

Sony has already made the official announcement about the PlayStation 4, and while we don’t know a price point on it yet, you can already sign up on Amazon.com and at GameStop stores to be notified when they get more information.

Microsoft is supposed to be revealing information about their next console (Xbox, Durango?) soon,  and we don’t what the price(s) on that new system will be either.

You may own a Wii U and sometimes wonder what the current trade-in value is for it. If you’re thinking about trading in the Wii U now and putting the amount you get from it toward a new system, how much can you currently get for your Wii U system? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look at the current trade-in values for the Wii U Deluxe Set and Wii U Basic Set!

The Brew
First up, the good! Amazon.com is currently offering the highest trade-in value(s) on both the Wii U Deluxe Set and the Wii U Basic Set. If you choose to go with Amazon, the trade-in value is determined by your Wii U’s condition: “Like New”, “Good”, or “Acceptable”. The image below shows the current Amazon.com trade-in value(s) being offered, which you would receive in gift card form.

Click to enlarge.

As you can see in the image above, the “Like New” condition of the Wii U Basic Set and Wii U Deluxe Set will get you a $173.50 or $222.40, respectively.

Next up, the bad! Best Buy now also does trade-ins on video games and consoles, if you perhaps didn’t know or possibly forgot about it. Like Amazon.com, Best Buy determines your Wii U’s trade-in value based on its condition. Best Buy’s determining conditions are: “Good”, “Fair”, “Poor” and “Not Working”. The image below shows the current Best Buy trade-in value(s) being offered for Wii Us, which also like Amazon, you would receive the trade-in value in gift card form.

Click to enlarge.

Best Buy’s best trade-in values, the “Good”, will get you $150.00 for the Wii U Basic Set or $175.00 for the Wii U Deluxe Set, as you can see in the image above. While not as high as Amazon.com’s current trade-in values, it is better then the next company’s!

Now, the ugly! GameStop. While GameStop is the only store that offers cash values as well as store credit, they are the lowest trade-in values of the three companies. Here are the current Wii U trade-in values being offered by GameStop:
1) The Wii U Deluxe Set will currently get you $120 store credit, plus there is an additional 30% trade-in bonus at least until this Sunday (March 24th). With the 30% trade-in bonus, you would get a total GameStop store credit of $156.
2) The Wii U Deluxe Set will currently get you $96 in cash value, $60 less than the store credit value, if you prefer cash over store credit.
3) The Wii U Basic Set will currently get you $80 store credit, and with the additional 30% trade-in bonus going on, the total GameStop store credit you would get is $104.
4) The Wii U Basic Set will currently get you $64 in cash value at GameStop, which is $40 less than the score credit.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I think Amazon.com’s trade-in values are the best, or “the good”, simply because it offers the highest trade-in value on both the Wii U Deluxe Set and the Wii U Basic Set right now. This was the case between Amazon.com and GameStop last year, when I reported on 3DS trade-in values before the 3DS XL released.

While I think it’s nice that GameStop does offer a cash value for the system(s), I don’t think that would be the best route to go if you’re wanting cash for it (depending how fast you need it). I would actually suggest looking at selling your Wii U system as “Used” on Amazon.com. Right now, used Wii U Deluxe Sets are starting at just above $280, and Wii U Basic Sets are selling “Used” for right around $260.

So, if you’re debating on trading off your Wii U perhaps to help buy the new PlayStation 4 and/or the next Microsoft console, hopefully this post will give you an idea of which route is the best to go.

Personally, I’m keeping our Wii U, though I am looking forward to learning more about the new consoles from the other consoles as well!

Questions
If you own a Wii U have you thought about trading your system off? If you don’t own a Wii U system yet, have you thought about possibly buying the system used and saving a few dollars?


If you’re thinking about buying a Wii U used, or new, here are a few games you might enjoy:

Coffee Shop! The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct pre-order deal (PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)

March 13, 2013

Coffee Beans
Do you enjoy The Walking Dead TV series? Are you interested in the new The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct game that is scheduled to release next week, on March 19th?

If you have been thinking about purchasing the game when it releases next week, but haven’t pre-ordered it yet, now is a good time to do so. The game is releasing on the PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360, and has a MSRP of $49.99. Amazon and GameStop are offering different pre-order bonuses, but Amazon has now discounted the game’s pre-order price by 25%.

You can currently pre-order The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct from Amazon.com for just $37.49. The pre-order price is for the PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360 versions, but not the PC version right now.

You can take advantage of the pre-order price right now for The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct from Amazon.com, with all the versions linked below (again, the PC version is currently not discounted):

Coffee Shop – Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition for $9.99 (PS3, 360, PC)

November 9, 2012


Coffee Beans
If you have been interested in Fallout 3, but have never bought it, now may be a great time to grab it. The Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC is currently on sale for just $9.99.

The game is eligible for Amazon.com’s “FREE Super Saver Shipping” which applies to orders totaling over $25, and is also eligible for free shipping for Amazon Prime members.

If you have played Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, do you recommend one over the other?

You can purchase the Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition for the PlayStation 3, HERE. The Xbox 360 version, HERE. The PC version, HERE. Or, by clicking on their boxes below:

Coffee Shop – The Last Story for $8 on Amazon.com!

November 4, 2012

Coffee Beans
The title says it all really, The Last Story is currently on sale for only $8.00 on Amazon.com! I just did the debut data report on the game not even 2 weeks ago, which you can read HERE.

For $8.00, if you’re like the average Wii owner that has reported data from the game, you should be able to expect at least around 18 hours of gameplay from The Last Story.

If you have been interested in the game, now is probably the best time to grab it if you wanted it, or are thinking about giving it as a birthday or Christmas gift this year. You can buy it now and just leave it in your collection of games as an incomplete game if you have a big backlog of games, which is not necessarily a bad thing; and if you grab it on sale that means there is more money, for more coffee in your pot!

Grab it while you can, HERE (and below), as I’m guessing this sale won’t last long!

Critics vs. Customers! Madden NFL 13 – PS3 & Xbox 360 Reviews Averages

September 24, 2012
Review score averages shown were captured around 5:00PM EST, on 9-24-12.

Coffee Beans
Did you know the Madden NFL video game series has been around for almost 25 years now, with a “new” Madden game being released basically every year since the series started?

Madden NFL 13 was released almost one month ago now, on August 28, 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 and received an ESRB rating of “Everyone” with no content listed for gamers or parents to be aware of. The game was developed by EA Tiburon, and published under Electronic Arts’ EA Sports label.

One big new feature in Madden NFL 13 is the new physics engine in the game, the Infinity Engine, which is designed to make tackles and hits more authentic, and it tries to make sure “no two plays ever look or feel the same” in the game.

We are now 3 weeks into the the official NFL season, and we have almost a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for Madden NFL 13 to look at. Have PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players of Madden NFL 13 agreed with critics on the game? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
The first “professional” critic review scores for Madden NFL 13 started being published around August 24th, a few days before the game released.

First up, the reviews for Madden NFL 13 on the PlayStation 3. The PS3 version has a “professional” critic review score average of 84 out of 100 based on 17 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a critic review score average of 84.14% based on 18 reviews on GameRankings.com.

What about the customers though, what has their reaction been to the game since it released? Well, Madden NFL 13 on the PS3 has a customer review score average of 37.35%, based on 318 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

The Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 13 has a “professional” critic review score average of 82 out of 100 based on 32 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a critic review score average of 83.37% based on 31 reviews on GameRankings.com.

Madden NFL 13 on the Xbox 360 has a customer review score average of 45.60%, based on 375 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

Broken back? Or, broken reviews?

Caffeinated Thoughts
I think the “professional” critic review score averages versus the customer review score average for Madden NFL 13 clearly show there is a disconnect somewhere. We’re not talking about a simple 10% review score average difference, we have about a 36-46% review score average difference between the “professional” critics for Madden NFL 13 and the customers for Madden NFL 13.

One of the first reviews published on August 24th, by the largest video game site on the web (see – IGN), gave the game a 9.0 out of 10. To me, the review seemed to be a well crafted PR statement almost, based on features in the game, but glazing over real issues with the game (or, simply not mentioning them). The reviewer said of one feature, “This kept me coming back to the Connected Careers week after week.” I was curious as to how many weeks he had the review copy, so I asked and according to the reviewer he had it maybe 2-3 weeks before his review was published; which was a full 2-3 weeks before the game released and was available to the general gaming public.

Why does this matter? Early in his review he states, “At a glance, Madden NFL 13 might just look like Madden, but in your hands, it feels polished.“, which I found odd based on my time with the demo.

I played the PlayStation 3 demo for Madden NFL 13, and completed several games in it. The demo didn’t sell me on the game though, because I thought it lacked polish. Sure, I could understand some issues from a new series, but seeing holograms on the sidelines (people that are *there* but you can run through), bad camera angles on replays, cars that look like cardboard boxes driving outside the stadiums, and things like hearing the same comments from announcers within a game, just seemed to me that EA hasn’t been pushing the series very much.

Also, when I see a glitch like in the following video that was posted up in Chalgyr’s Game Room review of the game, the word “polished” doesn’t enter my thoughts:

How is it possible for the critic and customer review score averages to be so far apart, on the same game? Well, from what I read of the critic reviews it seems many didn’t experience real-world online play in the game, and perhaps were in an *EA bubble* before the game released protecting them from bad experiences with it?

Also, many of the early critic reviews, like IGN’s, failed to mention features taken out of the game, one being the lack of offline cooperative play in Franchise Mode, which apparently from many user reviews is still a big selling point for the game/series. Perhaps, the more time you spend with the game, the better it becomes and a solid 2-3 weeks is what the customers need to be spending with the game before reviewing it (this wouldn’t change the lack of features though)?

Questions
If you purchased Madden NFL 13 for the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, what do you think about the game? If you were to give the game an overall review score average, would it fall closer to the “professional” critic review score averages above, or to the customer review score averages shown? Is Madden NFL 13 a game you would recommend to other gamers, that perhaps have played a few Madden games over the years, but haven’t purchased one in a while?

Also, if you haven’t purchased Madden NFL 13 yet, will the customer review score averages reflected above for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, make you think twice before reading a “professional” critic review score average and basing your decision to purchase a game on it?

If you are interested in Madden NFL 13, or just want to read through the Amazon.com customer review score averages (which I highly suggest), you can see the games on Amazon.com below:

Amazon & Target leak Wii U games release dates? Wii U to release same day in US & UK?

September 13, 2012


Coffee Beans
In just under 12 hours now, Nintendo of America will be holding their Wii U press conference and all speculation as to the system’s release date, price, and launch games should be put to rest. Yesterday, as I was writing my, “Wii U – Caffeinated Predictions, Thoughts, & Wishes” post, I was doing research and checking a few sites to see if any had changed release dates early, and I was checking for any Black Ops II information that might have been leaked early.

I predicted in my post that went up this morning a Wii U release date of October 28, 2012. I mentioned in the post and prediction I had done some “investigative work” that helped me reach that conclusion, and when I was researching yesterday I spotted the same release date, for three separate Wii U games, on two different retail sites.

What Wii U games have been listed with new release dates that aren’t apparently just place-holder release dates, perhaps giving us a clue to when the console will release in the US and the UK? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
First, Amazon.co.uk has Tank! Tank! Tank! listed on their site, still, as releasing on November 1, 2012. The site says, “This item will be released on November 1, 2012.” Is it just a default place-holder date though? I don’t think so, for a few reasons. Tank! Tank! Tank! isn’t the only Wii U game I spotted on Amazon.co.uk with a release date listed. Two other Wii U games, Rise of the Guardians and Ben 10 Omniverse, also have release dates listed, but they are not listed for November 1, 2012. They are listed as November 23, 2012 and November 30, 2012, respectively.

You can see a screenshot of Tank! Tank! Tank!’s Amazon.co.uk page in the image below:

The one common factor between the three Wii U games listed on Amazon.co.uk with different release dates is the publisher, Namco Bandai.

The other retail site that had November 1, 2012 listed as a release date was Target.com. Except on Target.com, they had/have two Wii U titles listed with a release date of November 1, 2012. Those Wii U games are Just Dance 4 and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012. You can see images for both of those games with the dates listed in each below:

Both the Wii U games on Target.com are being published by Ubisoft, but on other sites have apparent place-holder release dates as December 31, 2012.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I think its very interesting that two separate sites, in two different countries, have the same release date of November 1, 2012, but on three different games. If it was a simple place-holder date just from a publisher, I wouldn’t expect Ubisoft and Namco Bandai to use the same place-holder date, as December 31, 2012 has been the default place-holder apparently being used by most retailers, probably as instructed by Nintendo.

I based my October 28, 2012 Wii U release date based on the history Nintendo has with releasing consoles on Sundays, but seeing a game like Just Dance 4 which will already be out for the other consoles having a release date for November 1, 2012 makes me wonder. Will Nintendo break their history of releasing consoles on Sundays in the US, and instead release the Wii U on a Thursday, that Thursday being November 1, 2012?

I guess we will find out in a few short hours, and I’m going to brew some coffee as sleep will probably be rare the next 24 hours for me.

Questions
Do you think from the date on Amazon.co.uk and Target.com for three Wii U games being the same, that the Wii U console will be releasing on November 1, 2012 perhaps in the US, and the UK?

Also, are any of you staying up for the Japanese Wii U information tonight, and will any of you be attempting to watch the Nintendo of America Wii U conference in the morning?

Critics vs. Customers! Best & Worst 3DS Launch Titles

August 16, 2012

Coffee Beans
     The Nintendo 3DS was released on March 27, 2011 in North America at a retail price of $249.99. The system had 18 games available at launch, from my count, and most had MSRPs of $39.99.
     The Nintendo 3DS XL will be releasing in just a few days, August 19th, at a MSRP of $199.99. If you have not purchased a 3DS yet, but are planning to buy the 3DS XL this Sunday you might be wondering if there are any older 3DS games you should take a look at it when you pick up the new system.

     For this first “Critics vs. Customers”, we are taking a look at the best third party customer rated 3DS launch title, and comparing it to its critic review score averages. We will also take a look at the worst customer rated 3DS launch game, and show what the “professional” critic review score averages were for it as well.
     First, you may be wondering what third party games launched with the 3DS last year. From my count there were 13 third party games available to purchase when the 3DS launched last year. Those were: BUST-A-MOVE UNIVERSE, SAMURAI WARRIORS: Chronicles, Combat of Giants Dinosaurs 3D, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars, The Sims 3, SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV 3D EDITION, RAYMAN 3D, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Asphalt 3D, RIDGE RACER 3D, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, and Super Monkey Ball 3D.
     Can you guess what third party 3DS launch title has the highest customer review score average, from the world’s largest online retail site? What about the lowest? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
     If you are picking up a new 3DS system this coming weekend, let’s start with an older game you might want to avoid buying according to many customers.
     What third party 3DS launch game has the lowest customer review score average? The Sims 3.

     The Sims 3 has an Amazon.com customer review score average of 42.00%, based on 20 customer reviews. How does that compare to the “professional” critic review score averages?
     The game has a “professional” critic review score average of 52 out of 100 based on 29 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a “professional” critic review score average of 53.71% based on 17 reviews on GameRankings.com.
     The customer review score average is lower than the critic averages, by basically 10%.

     What third party 3DS launch game has the highest customer review score average? Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D!
     Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D has an Amazon.com customer review score average of 91.00%, based on 20 reviews. How does the customer review score average compare to the critic review score averages?

     The game has a “professional” critic review score average of 73 out of 100 based on 43 reviews on MetaCritic.com, and it has a “professional” critic review score average of 73.87% based on 23 reviews on GameRankings.com.
     As you can see, the customer review score average for the game is nearly 20% points higher than the “professional” critic review score averages from MetaCritic.com and GameRankings.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
     If you had told me that Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D was the highest customer rated third party Nintendo 3DS game from launch, at least according to customers, I would have found that odd. Why?
     Because I had looked at most of the 3DS release titles and read reviews on many of them, as I originally planned on buying the Nintendo 3DS day one. From the customer reviews, it really does seem that they enjoyed PES 2011 a great deal; but when reading some of the “professional” critic reviews for the game, it seems that the game had little things that held it back from being a great title. Evidently though, those little things didn’t seem to bother many of the customers.
     If you have not seen anything on Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, here is the launch trailer for the game:
   
     Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D might be harder to find now, due to the newer Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 already being released earlier this year. If you are a current 3DS owner or getting the 3DS XL this weekend, PES 2011 might be a game to add to your list if you go bargain bin shopping, or if you find a “Buy Two, Get One Free” sale happening sometime.

Questions
     Did any of you correctly guess, without looking of course, the best and worst rated 3DS launch titles? Were any of you surprised to see what the best/worst customer reviewed 3DS launch games were?
     More importantly, if you are a 3DS owner and have played either of The Sims 3 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, would you lean more toward the critic or customer review score averages for the games, and why?

If you are interested in either of the titles covered, you can see them on Amazon.com below: