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Nintendo has partnered with DreamWorks Animation SKG to offer the world premiere of a pair of original 3D shorts featuring characters from blockbuster films Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens on the Nintendo 3DS video service. The Halloween-themed shorts, “Night of the Living Carrots,” which features Monsters vs. Aliens characters, and “The Pig Who Cried Werewolf,” which stars the Three Little Pigs from Shrek, debut this week on the Nintendo 3DS video service. Nintendo 3DS gamers will be able to view these 3D videos for free on the Nintendo 3DS glasses-free gaming device.
Tony Elison, Nintendo of America’s senior director and general manager of Network Business, said the videos will premiere on the portable gaming devices video channel and will be exclusive for a limited period of time. The videos will run about six minutes in length, with the longer video, “Night of the Living Carrots,” being cut into two parts from its 13-minute running time to ensure bite-sized, portable viewing for the on-the-go gaming audience.
“If you look at the success that DreamWorks has had at the box office, it’s obvious 3D and animation work really well together,” said Elison. “We have something pretty special on our hands here with these 3D shorts.”
Jim Mainard, Head of Production Development for DreamWorks Animation, said Nintendo 3DS is a powerful platform that allows content creators to reach users on-the-go.
Nintendo has also struck an on-going deal with 3net, the joint venture between Sony, IMAX and Discovery Communications, to bring short-format packages from that networks 3D programming to its gaming device. Nintendo will be able to select content from all of the networks shows. Elison said they’re currently focusing on “Building the Brand,” a documentary series that shows the inner-workings of the manufacturing processes of the world’s most famous brands like Winnebago, the bull riding series “Bull Proof,” and “Feeding Time,” an up-close look at animals.
Nintendo slashed the price of its struggling Nintendo 3DS hardware from $250 to $170 on August 12 and saw hardware sales skyrocket 260 percent. The company sold over 235,000 Nintendo 3DS units in the U.S. alone in August. That has broadened the potential audience for portable 3D content.
“If you were to seize on a specific demo that we’re targeting with this 3D content, early at launch we were focusing on the archetypal early adopter 20-something male gamer,” said Elison. “But since the price drop, this audience is definitely becoming more universal. And we’ve broadened the scope of our video service to appeal to early adopters as well as families and kids.”
Elison said that since it’s still very early in the Nintendo 3DS life cycle, there’s no clear pattern of what genres do well yet on the 3D video front. Nintendo is blending content from megawatt brands like DreamWorks Animation with 3D animated content from independent producers who are pushing the boundaries of 3D. Ellison noted the partnership with College Humor has had success with its claymation dinosaur shorts.
“A few rules of thumb when selecting the programming from the network is that we’re looking for content that is creative, innovative and humorous,” said Elison. “We’ve worked with Blue Man Group and they exemplify those things. Some of their videos start in 2D and switch to 3D for dramatic effect. We’re looking for kid-friendly humor that’s accessible.”
Nintendo has also worked with the band OK Go, which Elison said has consistently pushed innovation in music videos. The group filmed an exclusive 3D video for “All Is Not Lost” for the Nintendo 3DS.
“When we work with the music industry that might be used to doing things edgy, we sit down with them and make sure the content appeals to everyone,” said Elison. “They get it. There’s an inner child inside everybody and that’s something we’ve really been looking to draw out.”
Elison recently spoke at the 3D Entertainment Summit and he firmly believes that “3D isn’t just about spectacle, there’s a lot more you can do with 3D.”
With Nintendo 3DS now facing glasses-free 3D competition from new smartphones like the Sprint HTC Evo 3D and AT&T’s Thrill 4G, both of which offer 3D Hollywood movies, Elison said Nintendo could explore long-form content in the future.
“We don’t have anything to announce in terms of long-form content today,” said Elison. “We’re trying to pick the content that best fits the portable lifestyle, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
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