Wii

Chris Nuttall

Video game publishers have had their best November on record in the US, according to the NPD research firm, with hard-core gamers loading up on two first-person shooters and a classic role-playing game.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from Activision was the top-selling title, with Electronic Arts rival, Battlefield 3, at number three, and the highly-rated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (pictured) from Bethesda Softworks splitting the two shooters. Read more

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

Shortages of the Nintendo Wii console will continue until the end of March in the US after the company was caught by surprise by December’s record sales.

In an interview at Nintendo’s Media Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Reggie Fils-Aimé (pictured), president of Nintendo of America, told me Nintendo had been “hand-to-mouth” in supplying retailers with product in January and February after 3.8m Wiis were sold in the US in December. Read more

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

Nintendo’s US chief says the $50 price cut for the Wii has given the console a significant sales lift.

Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo president in the US, told the FT in an interview that the price reduction was part of a strategy to boost holiday season sales, coupling it with Sunday’s launch of its Wii Fit Plus title. Read more

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Robin Harding

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

Chris Nuttall

Video-game industry sales are continuing to slump in the US, with NPD figures for May released this evening showing a 23 per cent drop year-on-year, with falls led by hardware sales.

It’s hard to imagine any improvement till the holiday season, barring early price cuts for the consoles.  Major game releases also seem to be “back-end loaded”, compared to last year, when there were big hits earlier in the year, such as Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA). Read more

Chris Nuttall

Nintendo tried and rejected the motion-sensing camera technology that Microsoft and Sony are now adopting to try to catch up with their rival in the home console market.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president, told the FT’s Robin Harding that Nintendo obtained better results from the accelerometer that was eventually incorporated into its Wii Remote handheld controller. Read more

  • Intel paid $884m in cash for Wind River Systems, a software company that should help the chipmaker’s push into new markets. Wind River, based in the San Francisco Bay area, represents Intel’s biggest acquisition in the four-year tenure of Paul Otellini as chief executive.
  • Data Domain said it would evaluate EMC‘s all cash $30 a share offer, a day after saying it had agreed to an offer of $30 in cash and stock from NetApp. The unusual reversal signaled potential discord within Data Domain’s management. EMC has significantly more free cash than NetApp, and is well-positioned to win the bidding war.

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The FT’s Lex column considers the three-way war for the living room, and concludes that with little console innovation on the horizon, Nintendo’s Wii, the current leader, could be vulnerable:

Microsoft has an opportunity to catch up on Nintendo. The US software giant has the cheapest console on the market at $199 in the US, for something that is more capable than Nintendo’s $250 machine. Read more

  • Bing made an early debut, but Microsoft‘s new search service is about to test new social and legal limits in its presentation of video clips. On Bing, “thumbnail”-sized video clips play automatically when a cursor hovers over them. That might be as far as any major company has gone to test the limits of the “fair use” defence to copyright infringement when it comes to video content.
  • Prime View International, the Taiwanese maker of screens for Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers, aims to consolidate its hold on the nascent “electronic paper” industry by acquiring E Ink, the US company that owns key technology for making the screens.

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  • The economic slump hasn’t ended yet. That was the word from the executives of Microsoft and Dell, as they countered the recent optimistic views expressed by other big tech companies. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said: “To think that things would be back in a year seems naive to me.” Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, said: “Based on what we see in the marketplace, we’re not comfortable talking about seeing a bottom at this point.”
  • Microsoft and Google took direct aim at each other’s core businesses as they showed off ambitious new services that represent some of their biggest internet development efforts. Microsoft unveiled its new search engine, Bing, to generally positive reviews. Google, meanwhile, stole the thunder by showing-off Wave, a new communication platform that incorporates elements of email, chat and document sharing.

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Chris Nuttall

Nintendo’s Wii, clear leader in the next-generation console race, has just passed another major milestone.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president, told the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today that global shipments had now passed 50m, making it the fastest selling hardware in video game history. Read more

Chris Nuttall

John RiccitielloElectronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello, a keen gamer, must have that stuck-on-the-same-level feeling after the video game publisher’s latest results.

He returned to EA in April 2007 with the task of improving an underperforming giant of the industry. Read more