The 2011 Game Developers Conference, one of the “majors” in global video game events, has just wrapped up here in San Francisco after five days of events and announcements surrounding new games, technologies and services. Nintendo gave us a first look at the Wii at GDC five years ago, Bill Gates launched the original Xbox here in 2000 and Sony pushed out its Move motion controller last year. While there was nothing of the same magnitude this year and Microsoft appears to be ignoring GDC for big announcements these days, we still had a keynote from Nintendo’s chief Satoru Iwata and a flurry of news from Sony. Read more
Microsoft has announced a mixed bag of pricing for its Kinect motion controller and a new version of its Xbox 360.
The low $200 price for a 4-gigabyte version of the Xbox 360 S coming in August may give Microsoft an advantage over Sony and Nintendo in new console sales, but existing Xbox owners may baulk at paying an extra $150 for a Kinect sensor, available from November 4. Read more
A new, slimmer Xbox boosted sales of the Microsoft console by 88 per cent in June, but video game software sales slumped 15 per cent.
The latest figures from the NPD research group on Thursday continued a disappointing trend for the industry in 2010, with overall sales down 9 per cent so far this year compared to 2009. Read more
Sony’s launch of a slimmed down PlayStation 3 last September at a lower price led to a sustained sales lift and Microsoft would welcome a similar boost for its smaller version of the Xbox 360.
There are no price cuts with the $300 Xbox 360 S, announced at the E3 show in June, but added features such as built-in wireless connectivity mean better value for money. Read more
The US video game industry remains in Dead Man’s Gulch despite the success of a spaghetti Western title in May.
The latest figures from the NPD research firm show Take-Two shifted more than 1.5m copies of Red Dead Redemption as the best-selling game of the month, but overall industry sales fell 5 per cent on a year ago to $823m, with console sales down 20 per cent at $241m. Read more
Perhaps the most fun to be had playing a video game at the E3 trade show last week was sitting in a motor racing cockpit with 3D glasses and trying the new Gran Turismo for PlayStation 3.
The photorealism and visual and force-feedback effects were astonishing. And yet my favourite racing game currently – in a crowded field – remains another Sony game -ModNation Racers. Read more
The US video game industry suffered one of its worst sales declines last month, according to April figures released on Thursday by the NPD research firm.
Console sales fell by 37 per cent and software sales by 22 per cent, with the industry suffering an overall 26 per cent fall to $766m in revenues, down from $1.03bn a year earlier. Read more
With the “It Only Does Everything” marketing campaign for the PlayStation 3, Sony seems to be seizing on consumers’ maturing awareness of high-definition television – its features and new affordability – and the advantages of bringing an internet connection to the living room.
Halving the price of the console from its $600 debut has also helped. Peter Dille (pictured), head of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, told the MI6 Conference on Thursday that PS3 sales grew 184 per cent in the three months following the September 1 price cut to $299.
In an interview after his keynote speech, he talked about the PS3′s potential finally being realised by consumers, the forthcoming 3D upgrade and the advantages of the new Move motion controller. Q&A extracts after the jump. Read more
A year after its launch, Sony has announced its Home virtual world, accessed through the PlayStation 3, has reached the 10m user mark.
The console maker is also introducing its first massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game within Home today, which it describes as a unique social gaming experience.
It certainly represents Sony leveraging the PS3′s superior technology – Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox Live service and the Nintendo Wii do not have the capabilities to tackle online games and environments of this level of sophistication. Read more
The Beatles: Rock Band outsold Guitar Hero 5 in September in the US, while Sony’s PS3 console beat its rivals’ sales figures for the first time, according to the latest figures from the NPD research firm.
The “Battle of the Bands” was a key focus as the two titles were released at the same time, but both were outsold by the latest release in the Halo franchise - Halo 3: ODST - and Madden NFL 10. Read more
The first data are starting to appear on sales of Sony’s revamped Playstation 3 “Slim” since price cuts went into effect at the start of September. The data are good. The question is whether they are good enough.
In Japan, research company Enterbrain says that Sony sold 150,252 PS3 Slims in the four days between its launch on September 3 and September 6. That is the highest weekly sales number Sony has recorded for the PS3 since its launch in 2006 and also compares well with products past, such as the 170,779 units of Nintendo’s DSi handheld console sold during its first two days in the shops last autumn. Read more
Sony has changed the dimensions of its PlayStation 3 console and the dynamics of the current generation console wars with the introduction of the PS3 “Slim” from September 1 at $299 in the US.
Sony gave me a quick tour of the new console in San Francisco on Wednesday. Take a look at the smaller, lighter, less shiny PS3 in a video after the jump. Read more
The US video game industry, which appeared to be riding out the recession last year, had the horse shot from under it in the first half of 2009.
The June sales figures released by the NPD research firm on Thursday night showed the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. June’s 31 per cent drop was the greatest year-over-year monthly fall since September 2000, when the industry declined 41 per cent. Read more
Nintendo’s flagship summer title, Wii Sports Resort, has got off to a strong start since its launch in Japan last Thursday June 25th.
According to figures from publisher Enterbrain in its Famitsu magazine, Wii Sports Resort sold 353,827 copies in its first four days on sale. That makes it the third most successful launch in the history of the Wii in Japan. Read more
The FT’s Lex column suggests that for Sony, cost cutting alone may not be enough to get the company in the black. Despite the company’s rosy projections, sales of PS3 consoles are likely to remain challenged. And while movies should perform better this year than last, the film unit represents only 10 per cent of revenues.
The Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment group thinks it may break even at the operating level this year. That is a brave call as the company was losing $1bn a month in the last quarter of the year ending in March.
Creating a planet and helping flowers to bloom are a far cry from the usual death and mayhem meted out by hard-core video gamers.
But for those wanting to be creative rather than destructive and mellow rather than filled with adrenaline, the latest additions to the Spore franchise and the new Flower game for the PlayStation 3 can be recommended. Read more