Wii

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