A staggering $1.85 billion was spent on video game content outside of physical video and PC game hardware and software in the U.S. during the first quarter. The number represents just over 31% of total spending on video games in the U.S., which came in at $5.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011. The impressive stat is noted by The NPD Group in its latest Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend report, which includes used game purchases, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content and mobile games in this emerging category. The firm notes that physical retail channels still accounted for the the majority of industry sales in the first quarter, but the fact that these newer gaming channels such as social gaming and mobile gaming have grown to encompass nearly a third of the U.S. gaming industry so quickly speaks volumes to where gaming might be headed in the future. The NPD Group’s full press release follows below. More →
Developers looking to attack mobile app segments where they might have the best chance of scoring big with smartphone users would be well served to take notice of Nielsen’s latest findings. The market research firm on Wednesday published some findings from its Mobile Insights and Mobile Apps Playbook reports for the second quarter of 2011, and “Games” was once again the most popular app category. In the second quarter, 64% of app downloaders — smartphone users surveyed who had downloaded an app within the past 30 days — reported having downloaded at least one game over the past 30 days, just ahead of weather apps at 60% and social networking apps at 56%. What’s more, a whopping 93% of app downloaders are willing to pay for the games they play. IPhone owners seem to be the most avid gamers according to Nielsen’s data; iPhone gamers play games for about 14.7 hours on average each month, nearly twice as long as the average mobile gamer last quarter. Nielsen also found that consumers with iPhones, Windows Phones or Android phones were likely to have downloaded the games they play, while BlackBerry users and feature phone users typically played pre-loaded games. Hit the break for additional charts highlighting Nielsen’s findings. More →
Sony’s manufacturing partners will begin building the consumer electronics giant’s next-generation video game console toward the end of this year, with a launch scheduled for 2012, DigiTimes reports. Details surrounding Sony’s PlayStation 4 are very limited for the time being, but the report states that the new console will feature integrated movement-based controls similar to the Microsoft Kinect controller. Foxconn and Pegatron, the two manufacturing firms charged with assembling Sony’s PlayStation 3, will build the new console according to DigiTimes’ sources. 2012 shipment volume for the PS4 is said to be at least 20 million units. Sony’s PlayStation 4 was not expected to launch until 2013 or 2014, but with Nintendo’s Wii U launching next year and Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox due to be unveiled in 2012 as well, it is possible that Sony accelerated the new console’s development in order to remain competitive. Sony’s current PlayStation 3 console has sold more than 51 million units globally since its launch in November 2006. More →
A source with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans within the company’s Entertainment and Devices Division has confirmed with BGR that Microsoft intends to unveil its next-generation Xbox console at E3 2012 next summer. The source is not aware of Microsoft’s launch plans for the new Xbox, which we are told has been in development since 2006. Microsoft has sold nearly 54.4 million Xbox 360 units since the console’s introduction in November 2005. The video game system is currently the ninth most popular gaming console of all time behind Nintendo’s original NES and just ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 3, which has sold 51 million units to date.
Programmer Andrew Russell is working on a project that will undoubtedly pique the interest of game developers around the world. Dubbed ExEn, Russell’s open source software allows devs to port XNA games to iOS, Silverlight and in the near future, Android and OS X as well. In practical terms, this software gives developers a much easier way to take games they have built for Xbox 360, Windows or Windows Phone 7 using Microsoft’s XNA framework and port them to the iPhone or iPad, the Web (Silverlight), and soon to Android devices and Mac OS Xl. Russell’s project is community funded and a public preview for developers who made donations was just released on Wednesday. More →
Redbox on Friday added game rentals to its arsenal at rental kiosks across the country. Video game rentals had previously been available for some time at approximately 5,000 Redbox kiosks spread throughout the U.S. in a beta phase. Now, Redbox is adding video games to another 16,000 kiosks this month, though it is not clear if or when Redbox plans to add games to the remaining 6,000 kiosks it owns and operates. Popular video game titles for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii consoles will cost $2 per day to rent, and the procedure works just like movie rentals — titles can be rented indefinitely and Redbox will keep charging its daily rate until the title is returned. If a title is kept for 25 days, a one-time fee is charged ($25 for DVDs, $34.50 for Blu-ray Discs and $50 for video games) and the disc no longer needs to be returned. More →
Sales of video game consoles in the U.S. hit a five-year low last month according to new data from research firm NPD Group. “May 2011 was the lowest month of sales for the industry since October 2006,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “A light slate of new releases is at the heart of this month’s performance.” Combined sales of hardware, software and accessories totalled $743 million according to the firm, representing a 14% decline compared to May 2010. Software sales were down 21% from the same month a year prior to $400 million. Microsoft managed to combat the trend — and keep total console sales in May from sliding to unheard-of lows — having sold 270,000 Xbox 360 consoles, up 39% year-over-year. Take-Two Interactive’s L.A. Noire was the top-selling software title for the month. More →
Microsoft’s Israeli research and development team may have recently teased an upcoming Xbox 360 feature that is sure to interest a few gamers out there: 3D. Late last month, Microsoft’s R&D team posted a link from its official Twitter account pointing to a Hebrew-language Gadgety.co.il post about an interesting rumor. In a nutshell, the rumor suggests that Microsoft is currently prepping a software update for the Xbox 360 that will enable HD stereoscopic 3D. Included with Microsoft’s tweet was a question that translates to: “what do you think of a 3D console?” Now, companies don’t typically draw attention to baseless rumors, so we’re thinking someone at Microsoft got a little excited and might have slipped up, especially when considering the playful question posed alongside the link. The initial report suggested Microsoft’s 3D feature would be introduced at E3 2011, but that obviously didn’t happen, possibly because the software was not yet ready to be shown off. We have a feeling Xbox fans could be in store for a treat soon, however, and an announcement in the coming months definitely wouldn’t surprise us. A screenshot of Microsoft’s tweet can be seen after the break in. More →
As Research In Motion continues on its quest to recapture consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets, the Canadian BlackBerry maker on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Scoreloop. California-based Scoreloop is a self-professed pioneer in mobile social gaming. According to a post on RIM’s Inside BlackBerry developer blog, the team at Scoreloop is “bringing their expertise in creating social and collaborative gaming toolkits for mobile developers to the BlackBerry platform.” Scoreloop had previously developed tools that supported cross-platform social gaming, and the company says it will continue to support cross-platform solutions following the its transition to RIM, though it will focus mainly on RIM’s QNX-based operating system. More →
While Nintendo has been quiet when it comes to the specs of its newly announced Wii U gaming console, preliminary details are beginning to emerge from the E3 2011 show. We obviously already know plenty about the Wii U touchscreen controller, which we went hands-on with yesterday, but the console itself is a bit of a mystery. A few of Nintendo’s hardware partners got a little excited, however, and we now have a few pieces of the puzzle. We know the Wii U will support full HD 1080p gaming, and now we also know it will be facilitated by a custom Radeon HD graphics processor from AMD. In addition, IBM will be supplying Nintendo with a 45nm multi-core processor with embedded DRAM for the console.There are also four USB ports on hand, an HDMI port, an S-video port and component jacks, and the console with obviously feature 802.11n Wi-Fi. The rest, for the time being, is still a mystery. In case you missed it, we’ve also included Nintendo’s full press release below. More →
That’s right folks, it’s finally time to sit back and watch as Nintendo unveils the console we’ve all been waiting to see: the next-generation Wii. Nintendo’s Wii has been an absolute blockbuster for the storied Japanese gaming giant. The company has sold nearly 90 million Wii consoles to date, but sales have slowed significantly over the past few years as the Wii began to show its age. With features like full HD gaming and controllers with built-in touchscreen displays, Nintendo’s next-gen Wii 2 will be an effort to recapture the early success of the Wii… but can Nintendo manage to appeal to casual gamers and hardcore gamers with a single console? Hit the break for our live coverage of Nintendo’s E3 keynote to find out!
Those of you who tuned in to our live coverage yesterday know all about the new details surrounding Sony’s next-generation handheld gaming console, but for those unfortunate souls who missed it, here are the highlights: Sony announced on Monday that its next PSP — known until now as the Sony Next-Generation Portable, or Sony NGP — has been dubbed “PlayStation Vita.” In terms of pricing, the PS Vita will start at $249 for a Wi-Fi model, and a 3G-enabled version will be available as well for $299. Unfortunate though it may be, we still don’t have a firm release date for the sleek new Vita, but it will definitely be out in time to soak up all those holiday bonuses. Hit the break for Sony’s full press release. More →
Amazon on Thursday announced yet another online application store, this time for Mac OS X users. The Amazon Mac Download Store will compete directly with Apple’s own Mac App Store, and there will be no love lost between these two giants. There are currently 201 software titles and 51 different games available, including full blown apps like Microsoft Office and Intuit QuickBooks, and hit games such as Dragon Age: Origins. Customers can quickly purchase and download applications using their Amazon accounts, and purchases are automatically backed-up in case you need to reinstall the apps at a later date. More →