Column: Nintendo’s unenviable choice

9:00 pm EDT, April 26, 2012

For the first time since the publisher went public, Nintendo reported a financial loss for the fiscal year of $530 million. While the company projects a return to profit next year due to a reduction in production costs for the 3DS and the release of the Wii U, some analysts are advising them to ditch the first-party stranglehold they have on their most popular franchises.

“Nintendo has to deal with the change and let Mario games be played on non-Nintendo devices,” Japanese analyst Nanako Imazu told Games Industry after the losses were revealed.

It is well known that tablets and smartphones pose significant competition to Nintendo, maybe even more so, at least at the moment, than Sony’s struggling PlayStation Vita.

President Satoru Iwata has said before the company has no plans to have its franchises appear on outside hardware, including smartphones.

This presents an interesting dilemma for gaming’s arguably most beloved company. Would it be better to open up software such as Mario to non-Nintendo systems in order to increase the volume sold or stay the course and keep your main selling points close to the chest?

On one hand, opening up Nintendo’s most famous franchises will dramatically increase sales numbers for software, something the company could benefit from. Despite selling roughly 95 million Wii consoles to date, Nintendo’s most touted exclusive of last year, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, only managed to sell roughly 3.4 million copies of the game as of the beginning of this year. While this remains an impressive number of units sold, it’s nothing compared to the amount that could be moved if it were on multiple platforms.

Even classic Nintendo properties would benefit from a port to outside hardware. When a fake Pokemon Yellow was released to the App Store in February, people jumped at the chance to pick it up, making it the number one selling application despite the low ratings of the scam. There are countless thinly-veiled Mario rip-offs on the App Store already, also. It’s obvious people want to play Nintendo software, why not make it more accessible?

However, any benefits Nintendo would gain by putting software on other platforms would probably come back to hurt their own hardware sales. There’s a reason why the DS and Wii are two of the best selling systems of all time. The Wii was an underpowered system even at launch, but what helped sell it, in addition to the unique control system, was the promise of new Mario games and other key Nintendo titles.

The 3DS struggled mightily at launch because of the lack of software that fans wanted to play. While the price cut certainly helped sell the new handheld, what really put it over the edge was the release of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, the former selling over five million copies.

Personally, while I’m happy with my Vita as a handheld, I’ve even considered picking up a 3DS solely to play Mario titles, including the recently announced New Super Mario Bros. 2.

Nintendo is especially reliant on first-party titles as its systems are rarely as well supported by third parties as Sony or Microsoft.

If Nintendo does not have the rumored Mario or Pikmin titles ready for the Wii U’s release date later this year, sales numbers will surely suffer for the system early on. If this happens, they may be forced to cut the price similar to the 3DS and take a loss on another system.

While fans may want to play Pokemon or Metroid elsewhere, the fact that they can’t is actually to Nintendo’s advantage. Exclusive software is the reason fans buy into Nintendo hardware, and giving away their biggest advantage to competitors, while possibly beneficial in the short term, will only come back to hurt them in the end.

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?

Uh oh — fans of Nick and Jess aren’t going to like this news! Megan Fox is returning to New Girl in season 6 for a major arc.

Last season, Megan Fox stepped in to fill in Jess’ place while Zooey Deschanel was on maternity leave. During that time, Fox’s character Regan grew quite close to Nick! They even ended up going to Cece and Schmidt’s wedding together and made plans for the summer. With awful timing too, since it seemed like Jess was just about ready to admit her feelings for Nick.

Now TV Line is reporting that Fox will be returning for a huge story arc in New Girl season 6. It’s believed that Nick will return home from his summer with Regan alone, but she will appear around the middle of the season. The timing of her appearance is due to Fox’s own pregnancy with her third child.

If we had to guess, we’d say that the writers will definitely be throwing some angst into the script. It always seems like either Jess or Nick is pining for the other while they’re in a relationship. Will Jess try to get over her feelings for Nick with someone else? Or will she just try to show him why they should be together? Fans will have to wait and see when the show returns!

New Girl season 6 returns to Fox on September 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET!

Are you excited to see Megan Fox return to ‘New Girl’?