If you build it, they will troll. The only things certain in life are death, taxes and the fact that trolls will eventually find their way to every public forum on the Internet. Xbox Live in particular is known for its special brand of trolls that look to disrupt other gamers and spoil their fun, but Microsoft is taking new steps in its effort to rid its online video game community of as many trolls as possible. At the start of the month, Microsoft announced the beta launch of a new system “Xbox Enforcement United,” which allows gamers to flag trolls as inappropriate and alert Microsoft’s Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement Team.
The video game industry continued its downward spiral in May. According to research firm NPD Group, retail sales of hardware, software and gaming accessories in the U.S. fell 25% to $386.3 million last month, their lowest level thus far in 2013. Hardware and software sales fell 31% year-over-year to $96 million and $175.1 million, respectively, while sales of gaming accessories declined 6% year-over-year to $115.3 million. Including sales of used games, rental and digitally delivered content, micro-transactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and social network games, consumers spent a total of $787 million on video games in May. More →
Microsoft’s newly unveiled Xbox One has gamers excited despite some huge question marks, but Microsoft thinks its current-generation Xbox 360 still has legs. Speaking with Official Xbox Magazine, Microsoft’s senior vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business Yusuf Mehdi said that the company is looking to sell 25 million more Xbox 360 consoled over the next five years. The Xbox 360 recently registered its 28th consecutive month as top-selling console, but sales of the 8-year-old console have slowed significantly in recent quarters. Inevitable price cuts may help Microsoft on its mission, but the company also has a few tricks up its sleeve that will be announced during the annual E3 video game conference next month.
The Xbox 360 topped the charts again in April, marking the 28th consecutive month Microsoft’s gaming console has outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii consoles. According to research from NPD Group, the Xbox 360 accounted for 42% of current-generation sales with 130,000 units sold last month. It wasn’t all good news, however, as sales plummeted 50% from 261,000 units in March. As a whole, the industry continued to struggle in April with total gaming sales down 25% year-over-year from $657.5 million to $495.2 million. Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles are expected to help sales pick up when they launch ahead of the holidays this year.
Activision on Wednesday announced that the latest installment of its best-selling Call of Duty franchise, called Call of Duty: Ghost, will launch later this year on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and “next generation platforms.” The latest Call of Duty game is being developed by Infinity Ward, the studio behind the original Call of Duty and the critically acclaimed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series. Activision’s first-person shooter has consistently shattered game sale records year after year and its latest installment is expected to continue this trend. Call of Duty: Ghost is scheduled to be released on November 5th. Starting today, fans can pre-order the game at retail stores. Activision’s press release follows below. More →
Microsoft’s gaming console has remained the best-selling system in the United States for the 27th consecutive month, according to new data from NPD Group. The Xbox 360 sold 261,000 units in the U.S. in March, beating out Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii U. As a whole, physical sales were down 10% year-over-year from $1.1 billion in March 2012 to $992.5 million in March 2013. Software sales remained almost flat at $554.8 million, only inching down just 1% from a year ago. The steepest decline came from hardware sales, which dropped a whopping 32% to $221.6 million. Portable consoles are said to have experienced a “stronger decline” than traditional ones, however sales of the Nintendo 3DS grew an estimated 9% year-over-year. Microsoft is expected to introduce an update to the Xbox, possibly called the Xbox 720 this spring.
The next generation of mobile graphics will be able to deliver better performance than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, according to NVIDIA’s (NVDA) SVP of content and technology Tony Tamasi. Speaking to Bit-tech, the executive noted that current gaming systems are “barely more powerful” than mobile devices and he believes that upcoming smartphones and tablets powered by NVIDIA chipsets will finally begin to outperform traditional gaming consoles. More →
Does Microsoft (MSFT) even need to launch a new Xbox? Despite Nintendo’s (NTDOY) recent release of its next-generation home video game console, the Xbox 360 racked up its twenty-sixth consecutive month as the top-selling console in February. U.S. sales totalled 302,000 units according to The NPD Group’s February data, placing the Xbox ahead of Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3 and both the Wii and Wii U. The Xbox 360 holds an estimated 41% share of the current-generation console market in the U.S.
Microsoft (MSFT) will launch its next-generation Xbox video game and home entertainment console ahead of the holidays this year, and the device will have big shoes to fill. Further solidifying its position among the best-selling consoles of all time, Microsoft’s director of programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb announced on Twitter Monday evening that cumulative Xbox 360 console sales have surpassed 76 million units. Hryb also said Kinect sales have topped 24 million units and Xbox Live now hosts 46 million paying subscribers. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is currently the fourth best-selling home video game console of all time behind Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii at No.3, and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles at No.2 and No.1, respectively.
Little by little, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox SmartGlass app is becoming more useful. Microsoft Director of Programming for Xbox LIVE Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb announced on Monday the release of the Sports Picks app, which allows users to “make picks, compete with your Xbox LIVE friends and fight for domination of the leaderboard.” Xbox SmartGlass also has new ESPN and NBA Game Time experiences that provide second-screen information and navigation to “thousands of live events, highlights and replays” during a game. Xbox SmartGlass is compatible with dozens of existing Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 smartphones and tablets as well as Windows 8-compatible mobile devices. The new update to Xbox SmartGlass is the latest in Microsoft’s attempts to position the Xbox 360 as the ultimate living room device.
Game consoles are no longer simply for video games, as evidenced by last week’s announcement that the PlayStation 3 is the top Netflix (NFLX) streaming device of the year. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief marketing officer for its Interactive Entertainment Division, said this past March that Xbox 360 owners were spending more hours watching online entertainment than playing online games. And now, in a bid to bolster its efforts to conquer the living room, Microsoft Director of Programming for Xbox Live Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb announced in a blog post that 43 new entertainment apps (mostly video) will launch between now and spring of 2013 in various regions. Ten new apps including ARTE, CinemaNow, CNET, Karaoke, Maxim, Napster, SkyDrive, SPORT1, VEVO and Zattoo will arrive this week. Microsoft’s full list of upcoming apps follows below.
Big-budget games such as Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II might brag about how they rule the Xbox 360 in terms of sales, but indie games can also compete – if they’re addictive enough and offer enough value. Take Minecraft, an indie game developed by Markus “Notch” Persson’s company Mojang. According to Mojang, Minecraft, an indie game originally made for PC and ported to the Xbox 360 seven months ago has sold 4,476,904 copies as of the end of November with 40,000 to 60,000 copies sold every week. Minecraft is an anomaly because it doesn’t boast high-definition graphics that ooze of detailed lighting effects and didn’t cost millions of dollars to make, and yet it is the third-most played game on Xbox LIVE. More →
The Xbox 360 shows no sign of slowing down even as Nintendo (NTDOY) launched its Wii U last week. Month after month, Microsoft’s (MSFT) seven-year-old game console continues to outsell and lead the sales charts for the current generation. Microsoft’s Director of Programming for Xbox Live, Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb wrote in a blog post that the Xbox 360 sold more than 750,000 consoles in the U.S. between November 18th and November 23rd. Microsoft announced last month that the Xbox 360 had reached 70 million lifetime sales since 2005. Hyrb also revealed that three-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions were up over 50% compared to the same period last year and 14 million users managed to log-on to LIVE for a total of 72 million hours on November 23rd. More →