Sony’s (SNE) six-year-old PlayStation 3 hasn’t run out of steam. The company announced on Friday that its PS3, first launched in 2006, finally hit 70 million units sold as of November 4th and is now neck and neck with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360, which had the advantage of launching one year earlier. Packed with a Blu-ray drive and a strong library of games, movies and music, the PS3 has finally caught up to the Xbox 360 as it attempts to win the 10-year console cycle marathon. Nintendo’s (NTDOY) massively popular Wii still eclipses both consoles with 97 million cumulative units sold, according to VGChartz. Sony also revealed that PlayStation Move motion controller has managed to shift over 15 million units since it launched in 2010. Sony’s press release follows below.
The Xbox 360 isn’t the only console getting a UI revamp. While Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3 isn’t getting an OS update to its XMB interface, the completely redesigned PlayStation Store is now officially live in North America. The good news for PlayStation users is that finding and navigating between new PlayStation Store content on the new UI is a much easier affair now. New releases are prominently displayed with prices and are no longer hidden under layers and layers of icons. The new Store is also much cleaner looking, faster to load and its search is more intelligent. Sony’s video walkthrough of for the redesigned PlayStation Store follows below.
Two more months and Sony (SNE) would have made it through the entire year without any drama involving hackers trying to crack its console security or bring down its PlayStation Network. According to Eurogamer, the PlayStation 3’s security has been breached by a hacker group called “The Three Tuskateers.” The hackers reportedly discovered the console’s “LV0″ firmware decryption keys and were forced to leak it out for free after another Chinese hacking crew called the “BlueDiskCFW” planned to profit off their work. In layman’s terms, the LV0 keys allow hackers to easily decrypt any PS3 firmware, meaning any patches Sony adds could easily be circumvented.
The latest number from NPD Group paint a troubling picture for the gaming industry. In the month of September overall sales within the industry — including accessories, discs and consoles — in the United States fell 24% from $1.1 billion in 2011 to $848.3 million, CNET reports. Sales of gaming hardware alone tumbled 39% year-over-year to $210.9 million, while software sales decreased 18% year-over-year from $609.7 million to $497.4 million and accessories fell by 11% to $139.9 million. More →
Sony’s (SNE) “super slim” PlayStation 3 is off to a good start despite the console’s price actually increasing. According the MCV, Sony saw a 138% increase in PlayStation 3 sales with the release of its smaller, lighter game console in the United Kingdom. What’s more, MCV says that the 500GB model also accounted for 37% of all PlayStation 3 sales last week, which is particularly impressive since the slimmer model was only released this past Friday. More →
Despite a solid launch, the PS Vita handheld has failed to become the hit that Sony (SNE) was expecting. Saddled with a $250 price tag and games that cost as much as $40 to $50, consumers have questioned what value a dedicated gaming portable has in a world where tablets offer quality games for $10 or less. In an interview with CVG, Sony’s VP and MD for PlayStation UK Fergal Gara said that “it’s not out of the question” that the company might sell the PS Vita and PlayStation 3 together in one bundle. In other words, two consoles in one box. Any takers? More →
Gamers were left scratching their heads when Sony (SNE) announced its new slimmer PlayStation 3 would actually cost more than the model it was replacing. With these types of products shrinking, it’s usually the case that the reduction in build materials means savings pass on to the consumer. Not so — the new $269.99 PlayStation 3 will replace the old and out of production $249.99 PS3. Granted, consumers will get a copy of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and a 250GB hard drive instead of a 160GB one, but why hasn’t the six-year-old console hit the $199 price point yet? After all, the 4GB Xbox 360 is already sold for $199.99. More →
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.