Microsoft working to add 3D features to upcoming Xbox

By on February 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM.

Microsoft working to add 3D features to upcoming Xbox

Microsoft is working to bring exciting new 3D features to future generations of it wildly popular Xbox gaming and media console. As the world waits for Microsoft to unveil its highly anticipated next-generation Xbox 720, rumors continue to swirl regarding what we might expect from the upcoming Microsoft console. We know it will be more powerful, it will support more impressive graphics and it may focus as much on other forms of home entertainment as it does on gaming. Microsoft has also teased us with the idea of integrated 3D capabilities, and a new job listing suggests the company is still hard at work to make enhanced 3D Xbox gaming a reality. Read on for more. More →

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NPD: Apple ends 2011 as No.1 brand, Best Buy top retailer

By on February 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM.

NPD: Apple ends 2011 as No.1 brand, Best Buy top retailer

Consumer technology hardware sales in the United States fell 0.5% percent in 2011, ending the year just shy of $144 billion according to market research firm The NPD Group. Roughly 60% of all sales were from PCs, TVs, tablets, eReaders, mobile phones and video game hardware, NPD said. Computers generated the most revenue with nearly $28 billion or roughly 20% of sales, with tablets and eReaders doubling sales to $15 billion in 2011. For the second year in a row, Apple led all consumer electronics brands and was the only one to increase sales during the holiday quarter, posting a 36% year-over-year increase. The Cupertino-based company accounted for 19% percent of all sales, almost double second-ranked Hewlett-Packard. Best Buy was the top retailer for the second year in a row, followed by Walmart and Apple respectively, with Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place. Online, direct mail and TV shopping channel sales increased 7% and accounted for 24% of all sales, up from 22% in 2010. Read on for NPD’s press release. More →

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Video game sales plummet in January, Xbox leads consoles for sixth straight month

By on February 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM.

Video game sales plummet in January, Xbox leads consoles for sixth straight month

Sales of video game hardware and software in the United States plummeted last month according to new data from market research firm The NPD Group. The firm’s January figures suggest that sales of video game hardware fell 38% to $199.5 million, down from $324 million in January 2011. Video game software sales slid 38% as well in January, falling to $355.9 million, and sales of accessories in the U.S. dropped 18% year-on-year to $195.2 million. Total industry sales were down 34% to $750.6 million. “January retail performance experienced steep declines with a lack of software launches, and poor Hardware and Accessory performance partly related to bad comps from Kinect-related success in Jan’11,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other ways 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 $350 – $400 million in sales.” Callahan noted that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console for the sixth consecutive month in January, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the top-selling software title. A complete list of NPD’s top-10 games for the month follows below. More →

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World’s first PC game, co-written by Bill Gates, now available for the iPhone

By on February 9, 2012 at 7:40 PM.

World’s first PC game, co-written by Bill Gates, now available for the iPhone

Owners of Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch can now enjoy a remake of the first-ever PC game, co-written by Bill Gates himself, which came pre-installed on several IBM computers in 1981. First released late last month, XVision’s DONKEY.BAS is a terrific recreation of the PC game by the same name. Players control a race car as it advances up the screen. Donkeys repeatedly come into view, and the simple goal is to switch lanes before colliding with any curious creatures. “We did this game as a tribute to the original,” XVision founder Johnny Ixe told BGR, noting that the firm added a number of new features to the game in order to distinguish it from the original. The spirit of the game remains, however, and gamers looking for a bit of nostalgia would be hard-pressed to find a better blast from the past. DONKEY.BAS is available now in the App Store for $0.99. More →

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Lawmaker launches assault on violent video games

By on February 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM.

Lawmaker launches assault on violent video games

An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed levying a new tax on violent video games. Oklahoma Democrat Will Fourkiller has suggested the tax be applied to all games that receive an ESRB rating, which is intended for adults only. In addition, Fourkiller thinks T-Rated games should also have a tax added to the cost of the games, since some include “simulated gambling.” But a tax on all T-Rated games would be too broad, Ars Technica points out, as there are also titles that are rated T for “cartoon violence, crude humor and suggestive themes.” Read on for more. More →

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Apple snatches Microsoft marketing exec as assault on gaming industry continues

By on February 2, 2012 at 8:20 AM.

Apple snatches Microsoft marketing exec as assault on gaming industry continues

Apple has hired a former marketing executive from Microsoft to help promote the App Store and iTunes in Europe, MCV reports. Robin Burrowes, former head of Xbox LIVE marketing in the EMEA region for Microsoft, joined Apple in January according to his LinkedIn profile. His formal duties at Apple remain unclear — Burrowes’s profile only states that his role involves “App Store Marketing” — but the executive’s background suggests gaming will be a strong focus. Apple has hired a number of executives with experience in the gaming market recently, including Nintendo’s former head of public relations Robert Saunders and former Activision, EA and Xbox PR head Nick Grange. The video game industry finds itself among a number of businesses that have been disrupted by Apple’s iOS lineup, and the company’s recent hires suggest that Apple intends to continue pushing the gaming capabilities of its mobile device lineup. More →

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Video game sales fall 21% in December, down 8% for full-year 2011

By on January 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM.

Video game sales fall 21% in December, down 8% for full-year 2011

The video game industry capped off a rough year in the United States with a horrible holiday month that saw sales plummet year-over-year across all categories. Market research firm The NPD Group recently released its sales estimates for December 2011 and the full year, and neither set of figures paints a pretty picture. Last month, total industry sales plummeted to $3.99 billion, down 21% from $5.07 billion in December 2010. Hardware sales dropped 28% to $1.32 billion in December, and software sales were down 14% to $2.08 billion. “December was very rough for new physical sales of video games hardware, software and accessories,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “Because of the great slate of content that came to market during the fourth quarter, I had expected December sales to represent a larger portion of total year sales than what occurred. This year, December accounted for just 23% of annual sales, while the average for the past ten years has been 28.” For the full year, hardware sales were down 11% to $5.58 billion, software sales dipped 6% to $8.83 billion and total industry sales slid 8% to $17.02 billion. The NPD Group’s full press release follows below along with a list of the top-10 best-selling games of 2011. More →

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Xbox 360 crushes PlayStation 3, Wii in November sales

By on December 12, 2011 at 1:15 PM.

Xbox 360 crushes PlayStation 3, Wii in November sales

Sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game console trounced the competition in November, nearly doubling PlayStation 3 sales and sales of Nintendo’s Wii console. According to November sales data from leading market research firm The NPD Group, Microsoft sold 1.7 million Xbox 360 consoles in November. While Sony managed unit sales growth of about 70% year-over-year, the company only sold about 900,000 PlayStation 3 consoles last month. Nintendo sold 860,000 Wii consoles, 795,000 portable Nintendo 3DS consoles and 350,000 older Nintendo DS units in November. “This is the fourth consecutive month in which the Xbox 360 has been the top selling hardware system,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “The gap between 360 sales and sales of the next best selling platform was the largest we’ve seen since December 2008 when the Nintendo DS was the top selling system.” Total industry sales were up less than 1% to $3.00 billion in November according to NPD, and hardware sales dipped 9% from 2010 to $982.4 million. Software sales were up 15% year-over-year to $1.67 billion but accessory sales dropped 34% to $273.8 million despite strong holiday sales of Microsoft’s Kinect controller. The NPD Group’s list of the 10 best-selling video game titles in November follows below. More →

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Video game consoles are ‘fundamentally doomed,’ Ultima creator says

By on November 30, 2011 at 10:50 AM.

Video game consoles are ‘fundamentally doomed,’ Ultima creator says

Microsoft just sold nearly one million Xbox 360 consoles last week alone, but we’re nearing the end of the road for video game consoles according to one industry visionary. Richard Garriott, known for having created the fantasy role-playing franchise Ultima and the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Tabula Rasa, says converged devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets will soon render dedicated game consoles obsolete. Read on for more. More →

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Xbox sees biggest ever sales week thanks to hot holiday weekend

By on November 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM.

Xbox sees biggest ever sales week thanks to hot holiday weekend

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that last week marked the Xbox 360′s best ever week of sales. The company sold more than 960,000 Xbox 360 consoles and more than 750,000 Kinect controllers last week. Microsoft also confirmed that more than 800,000 of the consoles it sold last week were purchased on Black Friday alone. “We have seen tremendous excitement from customers for our hot holiday gaming offers,” said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of Home Entertainment at Best Buy, in a statement. “Xbox 360 was among the best-sellers at Best Buy this Black Friday, and is a testament to the continued popularity of the gaming category this holiday.” Microsoft’s full announcement follows below. More →

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Video game sales up slightly in October, Xbox leads consoles with sales up 20%

By on November 15, 2011 at 7:15 AM.

Video game sales up slightly in October, Xbox leads consoles with sales up 20%

Sales of video games and video game hardware remained lackluster in October according to market research giant The NPD Group. Overall industry sales in the U.S. grew just 1% to $1.08 billion last month compared to October 2010. Total hardware sales were up 6% year-over-year to $295.6 million in October, and software sales were up 3% to $621.3 million. Sales of video game accessories in the U.S. dipped 5% to $135.9 million last month. Microsoft’s Xbox showed the most impressive growth among home consoles with unit sales up 20% from last October, while sales of Nintendo’s 3DS/DS line topped portable devices with 25% growth. November numbers should be a bit more impressive ahead of the holidays thanks to holiday sales paired with a number of high-profile launches including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which pulled in a record $400 million in sales during its first 24 hours of availability, and Halo Anniversary, which launches on Tuesday. NPD’s list of the top-10 video game titles follows below. More →

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review [video]

By on November 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review [video]

I haven’t turned on my Xbox 360 in almost a year. I did to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, though.

Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t differ greatly from previous editions of the game, though that’s not always a bad thing. The story events pick up right where Modern Warfare 2’s storyboard ended and you’re plopped right in the middle of downtown New York City, which is under siege and swarming with Ruskies. The storyline itself doesn’t have much depth, but for something you can get through in around five to six hours, it doesn’t exactly need to. Besides, the gameplay and graphics surely pull the weight here. More →

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Redbox ups daily DVD rental fee to $1.20

By on October 28, 2011 at 6:55 PM.

Redbox ups daily DVD rental fee to $1.20

Following parent company Coinstar’s third-quarter earnings report, Redbox announced that daily DVD rental fees have increased to $1.20 from $1. “The price change is based on an increase in operating costs, including higher debit card fees that went into effect October 1,” Redbox said in a statement on its website. “This is the first time in eight years Redbox has raised our daily DVD rental price.” Redbox will continue to charge $1 for the first day of each DVD rental during a promotional period from October 31st through November 30th, though additional days will be charged at the new rate of $1.20 per night. Rates for Blu-ray ($1.50 per day) rentals and video game rentals ($2 per day) are not affected by this change. More →

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