Much has been made of the video game console business’ steady decline, and rightfully so; console sales have dropped considerably in recent months. Some attribute the sliding sales to a weakened economy while a minority believe trends are turning toward casual mobile gaming, but market research firm IDC says we shouldn’t be sounding any alarms just yet. In a new report, IDC suggests that console gaming will begin to reverse current downward trends in 2012, with a big-time resurgence to follow in the coming years. “Total console hardware and disc-based software revenues are on track to slide a few percent in 2011 compared to 2010,” Lewis Ward, an IDC research manager, said in a statement. “But prognostications that consoles have peaked as a product category are premature. I expect that the launch of the Wii U, a revamped interactive entertainment console from Microsoft in the 2014 timeframe, and the arrival of Sony’s ‘PS4′ circa 2015 – along with more than a few exclusive, innovative games – will help drive a new wave of console-centric spending in the next several years.” Of course the market could rebound even sooner than that. BGR reported exclusively that Microsoft may be preparing to unveil a new Xbox model as soon as E3 2012, and Sony could be fast-tracking plans for a new PlayStation 4 console as well. The Xbox is now six years old, Sony’s PlayStation 3 is five years old and Nintendo’s Wii is almost five years old as well. As quickly as technology now evolves, it shouldn’t be any mystery that console sales are currently waning. IDC’s press release follows below. More →
U.S. video game industry sales were down 26% in July compared to the same period last year according to new data published by The NPD Group. Hardware sales were down 29% year-over-year to $223 million, video game software sales dipped 17% to $336.2 million and sales of video game accessories were down 8% to $127.8 million. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive month with unit sales of 277,000, though July marked the first time the Xbox saw a year-on-year decline since December 2009. ”There is no getting around the fact that video game sales in the new physical retail channel suffered its lowest month since October 2006,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “Despite the very rough month, new physical retail sales are down just 4% year-to-date and based on seasonality trends observed over the last 10 years, which have been remarkably stable year-in, year-out, industry sales in this particular channel are poised to land in the flat to -2% range once the total year is completed.” NPD’s top-10 list of video game software title sales in the month of July follows below. More →
Redbox on Thursday announced that it will add video game rentals to an additional 5,000 kiosks beginning August 1st. The company announced last month that game titles for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii would be added to 16,000 more redbox kiosks by the end of June, and the total after this coming round of additions will approach 27,000. Redbox owns and operated approximately 33,000 rental kiosks around the country, and the company did not indicate if or when video games might be added to the remaining 6,000 kiosks. ”Whether customers are playing a new game or genre, trying a game before they buy it or simply entertaining friends and family, they’re embracing the availability of games at redbox,” said Joel Resnik, vice president of video games, in a statement. Company president Mitch Lowe continued, “More than 1.5 billion movie rentals and the positive consumer reaction to video games highlight the ongoing demand for physical media.” All game titles carried in redbox kiosks can be rented for $2 per night. Redbox’s full press release follows below. More →
Nintendo posted its first quarterly operating loss ever on Thursday in its fiscal first quarter earnings report. The Japanese gaming company recorded a net loss of 25.5 billion Yen ($328 million), which was on a par with the net loss of 25.2 billion Yen ($324 million) the firm reported during the same quarter last year. In addition, it posted a net operating loss of 37.7 billion Yen ($485 million), down from an operating profit of 23.3 billion Yen ($299 million) during the first quarter of 2010. Nintendo also slashed the price of the 3DS to $169.99, down from the portable gaming console’s original $249.99 price point. Nintendo attributed the poor quarter to a lack of Wii and DS sales, as well as a lack of attractive games for the 3DS. More →
Sales of video game hardware and software declined 10% in June according to new data reported by industry watcher The NPD Group. Total content sales including home consoles, portable consoles and PC game sales totaled $1.03 billion last month, down 10% from June 2010. Hardware sales declined 9% from $401.7 million in June 2010 to $366.6 million last month, and software sales dropped 12% over the same period to $469.5 million. Video game accessory sales also declined from June of last year, dropping 11% from $177.7 million in 2010 to $158.9 million last month. Game publisher Take 2 Interactive was responsible for the two best-selling games in June, with L.A. Noire occupying the top spot and Duke Nukem Forever coming in at No. 2 despite low ratings from reviewers. Sony’s Infamous 2 was the third best-selling game for the month, while Disney’s Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game and Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D rounded out the top-5. Overall hardware, software and accessory sales in the first half declined 2.4% compared to the first half of 2010. A list of The NPD Group’s top-10 software titles for the month of June follow below. More →
A new report from market research firm Gartner on Tuesday suggests global spending on the gaming ecosystem will exceed $74 billion this year, up 10.4% from 2010. Gartner also expects annual spending on video games to reach $112 billion by 2015. As the video game industry undergoes a transition that places a sharper focus on casual gaming, Gartner now includes the following in its definition of the “gaming ecosystem:” dedicated video game consoles; software for dedicated consoles; handheld dedicated video game consoles and software; PC gaming software; mobile game software, which includes games for smartphones, feature phones and tablets; and online casual gaming. Video game software sales alone will reach $44.7 billion in 2011 according to Gartner, and it will continue to represent the lion’s share of video game spending moving forward. “This large market size means that many consumers embrace gaming as a core piece of their entertainment budget and will continue to play as long as game publishers deliver compelling and fun games,” said Gartner research director Fabrizio Biscotti in a statement. Gartner’s full press release follows below. More →
In a recent interview with Forbes, Nintendo of America’s president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime was asked how his company will market the new Nintendo Wii U console — given that the existing Wii will still be on the market. Fils-Aime responded by noting that the console will not launch until after April 1st of next year — a date we hadn’t heard yet — and that, historically, Nintendo has sold multiple devices side by side. Fils-Aime pointed to the launch of the Nintendo DS alongside the Gameboy Advance, and also said that the Wii was on the market at the same time as the Game Cube. He also discussed cross-platform play, which could allow users to play against one another using different Nintendo machines “We have one key developer with a very strong relationship to Nintendo, the same developer who created Smash Brothers, that is envisioning a Smash Brothers experience that will be cross platform between Wii U and 3DS,” Fils-Aime said. Nintendo took the wraps off of the highly anticipated Wii U during the E3 tradeshow early last month, but has yet to announce a price for the console.
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 →
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 →
We just stormed the show floor at E3 and strong-armed a few people to get right up close and personal with Nintendo’s brand new Wii U controller. The demo game required a lot of movement on the user’s part — there was a lot of shaking involved with controlling the character on the screen — but the interaction definitely looked like nothing we’ve seen before. The large touchscreen display was bright, too, and the controls are all comfortably within reach of your thumbs. We dig the white color of the controller as well, and it absolutely looks like a substantial high-end device. Hit the gallery below to see the rest of our hands-on images!
After all of the rumors and speculation, we now finally have a name and details for Nintendo’s next-generation Wii console… the Wii U! Nintendo just announced the new Wii U at its keynote presentation from the annual E3 conference. As the rumors suggested, the Wii U controller features a 6.2-inch touchscreen centered between a d-pad and an analog stick on the left side and a second analog stick and buttons on the right side. The controller also features a microphone, stereo speakers, a camera, an accelerometer, and even a gyroscope — in fact, the controller can act as a console itself! Moreover, the controller becomes a second window into the game being played, showing different views of the current scene, plays and options in sports games, items in a players cache… the possibilities are endless. Nintendo also stated that all current Wii games will work with Wii U and the new Wii U controller. The console supports High Definition gaming, online gaming much like the solutions offered by Sony and Microsoft, and even social networking integration. Nintendo states that the goal of its Wii U console is to serve the avid gamer and casual gaming communities alike, with a single console. From the look of things, they might just be able to pull it off. The Wii U console will launch in 2012 and pricing has not yet been announced.
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!