While we’re still waiting word on the PlayStation 4, Sony (SNE) is hoping we’ll make do with another revision of its PlayStation 3 console. The company on Wednesday announced that its new CECH-4000 model, slated for release this fall, will be 20% smaller and 25% lighter than the previous model and will also ditch the slot-loading optical drive in favor of a disc-tray that slides open sideways.
EuroGamer on Thursday pointed out some documents from the Federal Communications Commission’s website showing diagrams of what may be the long-rumored “super-slim” rendition of the PlayStation 3. The documents in question refer to the a “CECH-4001x” PlayStation model, which Eurogamer says “could relate to a slimmer PS3″ that the publication “has heard will be announced at German game show Gamescom next month.” With the next-generation PlayStation 4 not due to be released until late 2013, Eurogamer speculates that the super-slim PS3 may be Sony’s way of breathing some new life into its six-year-old console to appeal to late adopters. More →
NPD Group last week announced that video games sales for the month of April were down 26% and software sales plummeted from $630.4 million to $307.2 million, representing a 42% decline from April 2011. The numbers shocked industry analysts, who predicted a maximum software decline of 27%. The only segment of the gaming industry that did not suffer was the accessories segment, which grew a mere 0.5% from $147.8 million last year to $148.6 million this year. According Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews, “should the contraction from 2011 continue at this pace, annual U.S. retail video game revenue in 2012 could fall below the $12.6 billion figure from 2006,” representing a six-year low since the first full year of Xbox 360 sales and the launch year for both the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. More →
Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a subsidized Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle with a monthly subscription option, according to The Verge. The software giant may offer its 4GB gaming console alongside its motion sensing input device for $99 with a two-year commitment, and an early termination fee will be included for contract breakers. Subscribers will then pay a monthly $15 fee that includes access to Xbox Live Gold, a two-year warranty and possibly additional streaming content as well. Microsoft will apparently position the package to compete against the Apple TV, Roku streaming box and PlayStation 3. The Verge reports that we could see an announcement as early as next week. 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 →
Approximately 27 million U.S. households, more than one in five, have either an Internet-ready TV, game console, standalone Blu-ray player, and/or smart set-top box connected to their home network, according to ABI Research. Gaming consoles are the most popular devices, with a connection rate of over 80%, followed by Internet TVs (27%), standalone Blu-ray players (24%) and smart set-top boxes (13%). The research also indicated that a relatively large number of consumers have not connected some devices to their home network, most notably Internet-ready TVs. ABI predicts that the combined penetration rates of all of the devices will reach 60% by 2017. The firm notes that while not all of these devices will be connected to a network, there is room for growth, however, as only 48.5% of consumers with a home network currently have one of these devices connected to the Internet.
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 →
Devices like Apple’s iPad have shown the world that huge advances have been made in mobile gaming over the past few years. Featuring the Apple A5X processor with quad-core graphics, the third-generation iPad takes mobile video games to new heights on iOS devices, but technology blogs and the media tend to get a bit carried away in terms of comparisons between console gaming and mobile gaming. Gameplay itself paints an obvious picture, and the numbers do as well; Microsoft’s seven-year-old Xbox 360 console features floating-point performance of 240 Gflops and 500 million triangles while Apple’s brand new iPad is rated at a maximum of 7.2 Gflops and 35 million triangles. More →
Nexon, the free-to-play gaming developer behind the hit game MapleStory, sees the traditional publishing model fading away. As game consoles become more advanced, video game budgets continue to increase and publishers are forced to charge consumers more for each game. But the $60 price tag associated with today’s games will simply not survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim told GamesIndustry International. “I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they’re going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging,” Kim said. “Today it’s free-to-play, and I’m convinced that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry.” Read on for more. More →
With Friday’s release of the new iPad, Epic Games president Mike Capps has offered a huge amount of praise for Apple’s new tablet in the context of video games. “Apple is definitely building their devices as if they care a lot about ‘triple-A’ games,” said Capps, in an interview with Reuters. Only the highest-quality games are considered “triple-A” titles, most of which cost tens of millions of dollars to produce and are usually found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Capps is trying to push console manufacturers to release more powerful devices in the hopes that they won’t be left behind. Read on for more. More →
The video game industry continued to struggle in the United States last month as sales slid yet again according to market research firm The NPD Group. After dropping 34% year-over-year to $750.6 million in January, total video game hardware, software and accessory sales in the U.S. dipped to $1.06 billion in February, down 20% from the same period in 2011. Hardware sales dropped 18% to $381.4 million, software sales declined 23% to $464.4 million and accessory sales were down 16% to $215.2 million. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other methods to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $550 – $600 million in sales, which would bring total content spend across both retail and these other spend methods to $1.0B-$1.1B for February,” NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said. “Our official quarterly estimate of the total Q1 2012 consumer spend in these areas will be released in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report in June.” Frazier noted that Microsoft’s Xbox was the best-selling hardware platform in February for the seventh straight month. NPD’s list of the top-10 best-selling software titles in February follows below. More →
Over the last year, the total time spent playing video games increased 7% and purchases of digital content and subscriptions rose 8% according to a study from Nielsen. Over half of all households, 56%, owned at least one current-generation gaming console as of January 2012, an increase from 50% in 2011. Mobile, handheld and tablet gaming continues to grow as well, with 66% of households with kids between 6 and 12 years old owning a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP, while also owning an iOS device. More adults ages 25 through 34 play games on Android devices than on iOS devices, but iOS gaming is evenly distributed across the various age groups covered by the study. As for next-generation game consoles, four out of five gamers who own current-generation systems are interested in a future console. More →
Apple’s unveiling of the new iPad overshadowed plenty of big news on Wednesday, and Epic Games’s unveiling of a brand new Unreal Engine 3 feature reel is something we couldn’t let slip through the cracks. The popular lab took to the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday to show off the latest features of its Unreal Engine 3, the latest version of Epic’s popular platform. Shown in the reel is a small sampling of what developers can accomplish with the latest version of Unreal Engine, and the engine supports game development across Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Game samples for each of the aforementioned platforms are shown off in Epic’s video, which follows below. More →