HDTV sales seem to be slowly picking up again, but the recession brought the video game industry its worst month since early 2007. Video game console sales saw their lowest levels in 23 months with all 3 big-name manufacturers reporting monthly sales dropping more than 40%. Nintendo Wii sales dropped from 601, 000 in March to 340, 000 in April; Xbox 360 sales dropped from 330, 000 to 175, 000; and the Playstation 3 dropped from 218, 000 to 127, 000. For the 3 manufacturers, it was the worst month since May 2007, December 2007 and October 2007, respectively. Year-over-year, the total unit shipment numbers for the big three are down 40% from 1, 089, 000.
Sony has announced it'll be dropping the price of a Playstation 2 to $99.99 starting April 1. That should definitely get the PS3 predecessor flying off shelves everywhere. Compared to the PS3's $400 price tag, buying a PS2 now is likely buying a 2 x 4 instead of a new house. In today's economy at least. Unfortunately for those that were hoping for a PS3 price cut, an official statement from Al De Leon, PR Manager for Sony Computer Entertainment America, confirms such thinking is nothing more than a pipedream. "As we have stated previously, we do not have plans for a PS3 price drop, and any rumors to that effect are false and are the result of speculation," De Leon said. "SCEA remains focused on the long-term momentum of PS3. With the industry's best software lineup this year, combined with our most aggressive marketing campaign to date, we remain confident in our approach and the value we're delivering with PS3."
Okay, but the only problem with Sony's strategy here is that for the next few quarters, the PS2 and not the PS3 will be the world's number one selling game console.
Sony, under pressure from game developers to lower its price in order to catch up to the user numbers seen by Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, could cut its price by $50 to $100 this month or next. That's the forecast from Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey who says that without a price cut, game publishers will start putting more development funds toward the Wii.
However Sony is denying planned price cuts. Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment of America, told Bloomberg that Sony has no immediate plans to reduce prices. "Everybody in the development community would love for the PS3 to be free, so they could just sell razor blades," says Dille.
It's tough to say what Sony will do. The company has always insisted that it's concerned with profitability over massive sales with thin profit margins. Some game developers also believe that reduced pricing wouldn't necessarily be a good thing, as popular PS3 titles often bring a ton of money for game publishers.
As someone who owns a Nintendo Wii, I can honestly tell you that I never put my wrist through the safety strap on the remote, nor do have any rubber skin casing either. That's why companies like TV Armor (check out my review) are in business. They provide risk-takers like me a way to protect our all important HDTV displays. If you don't have a TV screen protector, consider getting one especially if you have a Wii. At the very least remember to use the remote's safety strap. Why am I telling you all this? Check out the video above and you'll understand.
Sony has confirmed that Playstation Home will launch in beta tomorrow. The Playstation 3-oriented virtual world will include spaces for both individuals and themed groups, or clubs. It'll also feature public spaces devoted to specific Playstation 3 games, in-world casual games, and a virtual goods marketplace where you can purchase clothing for your avatar, club spaces, and decorative items. The pricing isn't fixed however; it looks like it'll be dependent on your real world location. Playstation Home is free and won't require a firmware upgrade--just reboot your system once it goes live tomorrow, December 11.
Nintendo has chosen Black Friday as the day to release two limited edition DS bundles. The first, dubbed Mario Red Nintendo DS comes with a red-colored DS with Mario's 'M' logo emblazoned on it and a copy of New Super Mario Bros. The second, dubbed Ice Blue Nintendo DS, is not only blue but comes with a custom carrying case and copy of Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. I think I'd definitely be able to get some cognitive correction from the latter.
All joking aside, both bundles will be available this Black Friday, November 28, priced at $149.99.
An leaked Blockbuster memo points to a permanent $360 pricing for the discontinued 40 GB Playstation 3 while supplies last. Okay, so $40 isn't exactly impressive but it is better than nothing. The 40 GB model bundled with an HDMI cable, Transformers game and Spiderman movie will also drop to $400. So if you have a gamer on your Christmas list that isn't too memory-happy, the deal starts Sunday at Blockbuster stores and looks to be for you.
Just days after Microsoft announced Netflix would be coming to the Xbox 360, Sony has announced a new video service for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable that has already kicked off with 300 full-length movie titles and 1200 TV shows. That's just a start-Sony claims that they have signed seven movie studios to the service including Disney, Fox, MGM, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Lions Gate. Both HD and SD movie rentals will be available priced between $2.99 and $5.99 and TV shows will set you back $1.99 per episode, and you'll be able to purchase standard-def movies with the exception of those from Disney.
Renters will have a full 14 days to press play on their rentals though once the play button is pushed, you'll only have 24 hours to watch the entire movie. You'll also be able to share content with other PS3 or PSP users thanks to Sony's use of Marlin DRM technology.
Xbox Live Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers will be able to stream Netflix movies to their Xbox 360's this fall for no additional costs besides those they already pay for their existing subscriptions. The partnership was announced yesterday at the E3 gaming conference and will bring over 10, 000 TV shows and movies to members when it launches. Combining the new Netflix offerings with other Xbox Live content means the Xbox 360 will be home to more content than any other "connected" device on the market at the moment.
Users simply add TV shows or movies to their instant Queues on the Netflix website, which will then automatically display on the Xbox Live interface. Flicks will take as little as 30 seconds to begin playing and users will be able to stop, fast forward, and rewind using the Xbox 360 remote.