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Nintendo to sponsor Nico Nico conference

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Dwango, the operator of online video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga, surprised its users last week by announcing that gaming giant Nintendo will be a special co-sponsor of the second Nico Nico Cho Kaigi event, which aims to bring the virtual activities of Nico Nico Douga into the real world this April.

“I know we are the ones who asked, but we are really surprised (that Nintendo has agreed to support the event),” said Dwango Chairman Nobuo Kawakami during the Dec. 6 announcement of the general outline of the two-day Nico Nico Cho Kaigi (Cho Kaigi means “super conference”).

The crowd of Nico Nico users who had gathered at the Nicofarre hall in Roppongi for the event were clearly both intrigued and excited when they heard Nintendo’s signature sound of a coin being gained in the game “Mario Bros.,” as the voiceover on the presentation video announced that “The special co-sponsor is … .” Then, as Nintendo President Satoru Iwata appeared on the stage, the crowd went into a frenzy of astonishment.

Iwata said Nintendo has been broadcasting its events and original programs through Nico Nico’s live-streaming service and wanted to show its appreciation to Nico Nico users.

Nico Nico Cho Kaigi, held in Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture on April 27 and 28, will feature a wide variety of exhibitions and events to bring popular Nico Nico Douga content to the physical world, such as having dancing contests for those who upload their dance videos and displaying artworks whose creation process was shot and uploaded.

It will also have a large-scale live event called Nico Nico Cho Party, which last year featured 249 artists popular among the Nico Nico community including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Despite having about 92,000 visitors, Nico Nico Cho Kaigi ended up posting a ¥470 millon loss for Dwango last year.

Along with Nintendo, Lawson, Karaoke no Tetsujin and SilverStar Japan will also co-sponsor the event.

Despite having several sponsors this year, Takeshi Natsuno, a Dwango director, said the event is still likely to be in the red, adding that it will be a real success if the event breaks even.