Dust off your old pair of Vans and get ready to party like it’s 1995, because Tony Hawk: RIDE has finally been released in North America. Available for the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, the game’s main attraction lies in its wireless skateboard controller that’s chockful of motion sensors and allows players to more or less feel that they themselves are on a real skateboard and part of the game. The game and skateboard are bundled together for $119.99, a far cry cheaper than your hospital bill will be after playing this game drunk at your office Christmas party. More →
2009 has not been a good year for video games here in the US. While console sales were up significantly compared to July, August marked the sixth consecutive month in which industry sales have declined year-over-year. According to numbers recently released by NPD Group, overall gaming sales were down 16 percent YoY despite positive sequential growth for each major console other than the Sony PlayStation 2. Accessory sales were up 2 percent but game sales were down 15 percent and console sales dropped a massive 25 percent. Of note, PS3 sales in August were up over 72 percent compared to July’s numbers (121,800) thanks to a recent price drop. Here’s how August hardware sales break down:
- Nintendo DS: 552,900
- Nintendo Wii: 277,400
- Microsoft Xbox: 215,400
- Sony PlayStation 3: 210,000
- Sony PSP: 140,300
- Sony PlayStation 2: 105,900
As far as game titles, EA’s Madden NFL 2010 for Xbox 360 was the highest-selling game in August with 928,000 copies sold, followed by Wii Sports Resort for the Wii (754,000) and then EA’s Madden NFL 2010 for PS3 (665,000). Square Enix’s Batman: Arkham Asylum took both the four and five spots, having sold 303,000 copies for the Xbox 360 and 290,000 copies for PS3.
After what was a pretty terrible June for the video game industry, Nintendo looked to July’s highly anticipated Wii Sports Resort release to revitalize casual gamers — and their wallets — and reverse the steep slide the company saw at the start of summer. Fast forward: It did. Nintendo announced this past week that the sequel to its ever-popular Wii Sports title sold over 500,000 titles during its first week of availability beginning July 26th. For those keeping score, that’s about one copy sold every 1.5 seconds. At $50 a pop, it’s also about $25 million in gross revenue. Wii Sports Resort packages 12 mini games onto one disc and includes a MotionPlus accessory, which “brings unmatched accuracy to games that have been specially designed for it.” In other words, it improves upon the revolutionary concept popularized by the standard Wii controller and makes it much more accurate. So, did anyone pick up a copy of Sports Resort this past week or are you all still too busy drooling over preview videos of Project Natal?
Many would say the worst is behind us where the recession is concerned but gaming giants Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft would probably disagree. An industry that stumped analysts and remained strong throughout the recent turbulent economic climate is finally beginning to feel the impact of the wave of reduced spending that has attacked most industries in recent history. Video game sales began declining slowly in March but NPD Group has just released June numbers that show a slightly more alarming drop than we’ve been seeing over the past few months. US sales in June dipped a substantial 29 percent YoY — a record drop — and consoles sales were down a whopping 38 percent. Long story short, an industry that held strong on the back of Nintendo’s Wii and DS/DSi is looking like it may finally be approaching relative saturation. The odds of another Wii-like breakthrough reaching market any time soon are slim to none but something better happen in the near future to woo gamers back into opening those wallets. Drops in console pricing are rumored but still not confirmed, though we have little faith that minor price adjustments would have the kind of impact the industry needs to rebound significantly.
Tired of your bush league Wii-owning friends making fun of the lame Sixaxis motion-sensing technology in your PS3 controller? Hang in there as you may not have to endure their ridicule for much longer. The Cut Scene is reporting that Sony is planning to unveil a new and improved motion-sensing controller that will supposedly wipe the floor with the Wii remote. According to several sources, the new controller, as described in Sony patent applications, will utilize LEDs and a small camera to track the user’s movements. The remote will be able to read different color lights and detect the shape and angle of each light — making it much more accurate than the Wii remote. The new PS3 remote will also be able to track movement along the Z-axis (forward and backward) and measure velocity. A new remote is useless without supporting game titles of course, and Sony is reportedly reaching out to developers to enable motion control in future games. If this rumor pans out, the new PS3 remote system will make its debut as early as E3 2009 which runs from June 2-4.
Yes. Performance Designed Products has just unveiled the Wii accessory every Wii user has been waiting for — even if he or she didn’t know it. That’s right people, say hello to the Energizer Induction Charging System for Wii. PDP’s Energizer-branded line of accessories packs a few gems but none as sweet as this new Wiimote charging dock, which makes use of wireless induction charging technology to facilitate contact-free charging of Wiimotes. Badass. Users won’t even have to remove the protective sleeves or wrist straps from their Wiimotes; just plop that sucker on the charging dock and let induction do its thing. The dock can also be laid flat so Wii MotionPlus users won’t even have to disconnect the adapters to juice up their controllers. Fantastic. The Energizer Induction Charging System for Wii is slated to hit stores next month for $49.99 — a bargain at twice the price.
While video games may have been able to sail through the recession in the past, it seems that March proved to be a rather tough nut to crack for an industry that provides a great way to escape ones woes. The NPD Group reports that sales of video games in the US fell 17 percent in March to $792.8 million while hardware sales fell 18 percent, bringing in only $455.6 million. A drop of this magnitude did come as something of a surprise, though many analysts attribute the decline to two major differences between March 2008 and March 2009: First, Easter was in March in 2008. Also Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released, a game that went on to be the fourth best selling title in all of 2008. Just in case you’re the type who loves keeping score, the Wii reigned supreme in March with 601,000 units sold followed by the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at 330,000 and 218,000 units respectively.
It’s not exactly the major coup Sony needs to become a gaming leader once again, but surpassing Nintendo Wii console sales in a market like Japan — even for one month — is a pretty big deal. Fueled by new game titles such as Resident Evil 5 and the PS3 exclusive Yakuza 3, Sony managed to outsell the dominant Wii box by nearly 50 percent in March. No, seriously! According to Enterbrain, a Japanese game magazine publisher, Sony sold 146,948 PS3 consoles in March while Nintendo managed to hawk a mere 99,335 Wii units. For comparison sake, Microsoft shuffled out 43,172 Xbox 360 consoles. No, the Earth isn’t exactly reversing on its axis just yet. While we applaud Sony for a solid month and for topping Wii sales in Japan for the first time in nearly a year and a half, big exclusives aren’t going to be coming around every month to help push units out the door. In order to right this ship, at least where gaming is concerned, the company still needs to find a way to bolster sustained sales growth — surges aren’t going to help in the long run.
It looks like Xboxers might not be the only gaming console owners who will be able enjoy Netflix streaming in the future, provided customers show interest that is. A new survey currently being conducted by Netflix asks users a variety of questions surrounding the idea of streaming Netflix content directly to their Wii consoles. The survey also questions what the requirement to purchase a $10 “Netflix Instant Streaming Disc” would do to Wii streaming desirability, leading us to believe Nintendo has absolutely no interest in making the service available any time soonvia a firmware update. $10 to stream to the Wii and avoid purchasing and setting up yet another hardware device? Count us in. Reports also suggest a similar survey covering PlayStation 3 is currently being circulated. What do you guys think — would you pay $10 to add Netflix streaming to your Wii or PS3?
Thanks, Jon Jon!
We suppose the continuing upward trend in the video game industry shouldn’t be a surprise to us anymore but we can’t help it… Will someone tell these guys about the recession? They’re clearly still in the dark here because console and game sales are still through the roof — climbing 10% over January to $733.5 million — while nearly every other industry is on the brink of collapsing. But forget all that for the time being; February was yet another month that saw gaming sales soar further into the black. Nintendo lead the console pack of course, pushing out 753,000 units according to the NPD Group’s numbers — 73,000 more than it sold in January. Sheesh. There is a bit of a twist in this month’s numbers however: The top selling game of the month actually wasn’t a Wii title! You guessed it, Street Fighter IV topped game title sales with 849,000 copies combined (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) and Wii Fit slipped into the number two slot with 644,000 copies sold. Bottom line: if you’re getting ready to graduate high school in the next few months and head off to college, we hope you picked a school with good CS/digital entertainment/etc programs.
Before we even begin thinking about the rest of the Wii and DS titles Nintendo just announced… Punch-Out! Ok, now that that’s out of the way we can get down to business. Nintendo just unveiled its list of upcoming Wii and DS titles that will hit shelves between now and the Summer. The list is long and continuing record sales are inevitable — there really is something for everyone waiting in queue. Highlights as far as sales are concerned include Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits and a handful of children’s games on the DS, and The Conduit, EA SPORTS Active and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus for the Wii. Oh, and did we mention Punch-Out!? Hit the jump for the full list and let us know which titles all you Wii fans are looking forward to.
Electronic Arts made it known earlier this month that it would be looking to the Nintendo Wii to help propel its lackluster performance of late, and it looks like it picked the perfect place to start. We’re surprised it has taken this long for a company to issue a product that competes with the Wii Fit, as popular as it has been, but EA just made its EA Sports Active title official and slated the release for May 19th. EA Sports Active will guide users through various workouts geared toward cardio and weight loss, and is endorsed by Bob Greene of Oprah fame. The game will not involve the Wii balance board and will instead make use of multiple non-Wii workout accessories that will be used alongside standard Wiimotes. Beyond that, the title will run $60 as opposed to the $90 commanded by Wii Fit — if you can find it at that price — positioning it well amongst Wii-toting fitness buffs. Any takers – or did you just buy a Wii Fit to use the balance board with snowboarding games like we did?
In this day and age it is extremely rare to see a tech company thrive, let alone an entire industry. People still manage to dig up enough cash between the couch cushions for video games however, and Reuters is reporting a hell of a January for the big three of the console world. Nintendo continued to show that reaching beyond hardcore gamers and into the houses of the masses is the way to go, dropping 680,000 Wii consoles and 510,000 Nintendo DS units according to the NPD Group. Microsoft maintained the second spot, as usual, selling 309,000 Xbox 360s and Sony managed to push 203,000 PS3 consoles into new homes. Nintendo also held the top three game sales slots with Wii Fit, Wii Play and Mario Kart Wii, while EA’s Left 4 Dead and Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: World at War rounded out the top five. All in all, total industry sales rang up at $1.33 billion – up a substantial 13 percent year over year. Wow. Double-digit growth in what is historically a slow month across most industries is pretty mind-boggling, but the gaming industry continues to defy logic thanks to the Nintendo Wii and DS – aka Nintendo’s licenses to print money.