Slowing PC sales forced market research firm Gartner to cut its forecast for 2013 global IT spending growth in half. The company announced this week that spending is on pace to increase 2% year-over-year to $3.7 billion. It had previously predicted growth of 4.1% for a total of $3.8 billion in spending, however “recent fluctuations in U.S. dollar exchange rates” and poor PC sales forced the firm to reduce its forecast. More →
Although there’s some new hope for sales growth in the second half of the year, 2013 has turned out to be an ugly, ugly year for traditional PCs so far. New research from IHS iSuppli suggests that the PC market might be in even worse shape than previously expected, as “contract manufacturers of notebook computers suffered a worse-than-expected first quarter after shipments to clients like Apple and Hewlett-Packard tumbled to the lowest level in three years.” Overall iSuppli projects that notebook shipments were down by 17% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2013, or 4 to 5 percentage points worse than the firm had initially forecast. It isn’t entirely gloomy, however, because iSuppli thinks PC shipments will pick up in the second half when “lower-priced ultrathin PCs with new touch-enabled features become available on the market, along with the release of a more powerful microprocessor from chipmaker Intel.”
A new report has found that the number of gamers playing games online has continued to increase over the past year. According to NPD Group, 72% of U.S. gamers play online, up from 67% in 2012. Not only are more gamers connecting to the Internet, but they are also spending more time playing games in general. The average amount of time spent each week on gaming has gone up 9%, and for online play, it has increased 6%. More →
It’s not easy being a PC vendor right now and the latest report issued by IDC indicates that it won’t get easier anytime soon. In particular, IDC says that an economic slowdown in China will lead to a further erosion of PC sales in the first quarter of 2013, a trend that is particularly worrisome because China accounted for “over 21% of global shipments in 2012,” making it the world’s largest market for personal computers. Because of this, IDC analyst Loren Loverde projects that “we could see a drop [in PC shipments] touching double-digits in the first quarter and a mid-single-digit decline in the second quarter before we see any recovery in the second half of the year.” Loverde also thinks it will be very difficult for the PC industry to return to growth this year and that the PC industry will need to deliver “attractive new PC designs and more competitive pricing relative to tablets and other products.”
For years, gamers have complained about Ubisoft’s (UBI.PA) poor implementation of DRM for its PC games to no avail. But in an interview published by RockPaperShotgun, Ubisoft worldwide director of online games Stephanie Perotti says that Ubisoft has, since June of last year, quietly ended its “always-on DRM” for PC games. The DRM policy required PC games to always be connected to the Internet in order to load. Moving forward, Ubisoft-published PC games will only require a one-time online activation during installation. The company will also eliminate limits on both the number of times a game can be activated and on the number of PCs it can be installed upon. Ubisoft’s change of heart comes after CEO Yves Guillemot recently said that DRM was a necessary evil due to high piracy rates that topped 90%.
PC vendors will continue to struggle as worldwide shipments are expected to grow just 0.9% in 2012, according to IDC. The research firm estimates that companies will ship only 367 million units, marking the second consecutive year of growth below 2%. Even with the impending release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, sales are expected to remain slow. “The U.S. market will remain depressed until Windows 8 products hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of 2012. The industry is responding by reducing shipments of PCs and clearing Windows 7-based inventories to pave the way for a new generation of systems,” said David Daoud, research director of personal computing at IDC. “But, as we move into the tail end of the third quarter, PC activity will continue to slow as demand drops. The third-quarter back to school season is also proving to be a challenging period, despite prices dropping to their lowest levels. We expect the year will end with shipments in the U.S. falling by 3.7%, marking the second consecutive year of contraction.” IDC’s press release follows below. More →
Activision on Tuesday announced the next entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, a sequel to one of the most successful games of all time. Treyarch, the studio behind the original Black Ops title, is developing the sequel. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 propels players into a 21st Century Cold War, where technology has created a new generation of warfare. Activision chief Eric Hirshberg previously said, “The next Call of Duty will bring meaningful innovation to the series.” The game is available for pre-order now and is slated to be released on November 13th for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The official Call of Duty: Black Ops II trailer follows below. More →
Electronic Arts and Crytek last week announced the highly anticipated next installment of the Crysis franchise, Crysis 3, alongside a 19-second teaser trailer. On Tuesday, the two companies issued the official gameplay trailer that showcases the game’s stunning graphics. The third installment of Crysis is set in 2047, and users control protagonist “Prophet” as he returns to New York only to discover that the city is covered by a giant Nanodome created by the evil Cell Corporation. This dangerous new world demands advanced weapons and tactics, such as a lethal composite bow, an enhanced Nanosuit and devastating alien technology that will turn Prophet into the deadliest hunter on the planet. The game, which is built using the latest CryENGINE technology, will be released in Spring 2013 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and is now available for pre-order. The full Crysis 3 gameplay trailer follows below. More →
Some believe a future full of massive, gesture-controlled computer displays like the ones seen in Twentieth Century Fox’s Minority Report are an inevitability, and a prototype PC designed by an intern with the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group may be among the first steps in making that future a reality. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D student and MIT Media Lab research assistant Jinha Lee recently set out to change the way we interact with desktop computers. While progress has been made with 3D display technology, 3D has not yet proliferated in the personal computing space and Lee wants to change that. The end result of his work is a fascinating desktop computer with a transparent 3D display and a unique gesture-based interface that could change the way we use computers. More →
Rovio on Monday announced that the company’s latest Angry Birds installment has been downloaded 10 million times in less than three days. Angry Birds Space launched last Thursday on iOS and Android devices, as well as on OS X and Windows PCs. In the fourth major Birds release, users are faced with new challenges such as zero-gravity planets and new gameplay features like slow-motion and lightspeed destruction. The game has over 60 levels, including some hidden ones, and Rovio has promised that it will receive content updates in the future. Since the game’s release, fans have dubbed it the best Birds game since the original. More →
Whether or not we are currently living in the post-PC era is no longer a question, Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie said recently. ”People argue about ‘are we in a post-PC world?’. Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world,” Ozzie said on stage Wednesday at a technology conference, according to Reuters. ”That doesn’t mean the PC dies, that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.” Apple on Wednesday unveiled the latest version of its wildly popular iPad tablet, and dozens of Android-powered media tablets will launch during 2012. Despite the continued proliferation of light-duty tablets, Microsoft is finally planning to counter the tablet craze with its upcoming Windows 8 platform, an operating system that will find its way to media tablets as well as full-fledged personal computers. Gartner said in a report on Thursday that it expects the traditional PC market to grow 4.4% in 2012 after staying flat in 2011. More →
Last month, Capcom announced that the sixth installment of the company’s Resident Evil series would launch for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 20th, with a PC version coming soon after. Details surrounding the game were few and far between, however Capcom previously announced that Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield would join forces in a world where bioterrorist attacks have turned everyone into a zombie. According to Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Capcom has now confirmed that the undead will be able to run and use firearms, and they are not infected with the T-virus but something else entirely. To survive the hordes of next-generation zombies, characters will have the ability to run and shoot simultaneously, quick-turn, roll, dive, take cover and use melee combat. Executive producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi confirmed in the publication that number six is not a return to the franchise’s roots, instead taking the best elements of the fourth and fifth installments and adding more horror. The video trailer for Resident Evil 6 follows below. More →
Smartphone shipments overtook client PC shipments for the first time in 2011, according to new data from market research firm Canalys. Vendors shipped a total of 158.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, representing a 57% increase compared to the 101.2 million units shipped in the same quarter a year earlier. Shipments for the full year of 2011 rose 63% to 487.7 million units, up from 299.7 million shipped in 2010. The PC market only grew 15% to 414.6 million units in 2011, which included an astonishing 274% increase in tablet shipments — tablets accounted for 15% of all PC shipments last year according to Canalys. The firm expects growth in the smartphone market to slow in 2012, with vendors putting more focus on profitability. Canalys’s press release follows below.