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DS Lite December’s NPD final numbers have been released, and the video game industry as a whole did remarkably well, selling over $3.7 billion during the final month of the year. According to a GameDaily report, this puts industry growth year-over-year at 27.8%. In hardware, the biggest seller overall was the Nintendo DS, moving over 1.6 million handhelds. This was followed by Sony’s “last-generation” console, the PS2, which sold an amazing 1.4 million consoles sold.

For the current generation of consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 lead the pack at 1.1 million sold through December, followed by Nintendo’s Wii with 604,200 sold and Sony at 490,700. Supply constraints clearly impacted both Nintendo and Sony for their next generation offerings; Nintendo’s worldwide launch stretched console supply impossibly thin, and production issues kept Sony from pushing as many consoles to market as they would have liked. Microsoft has to be happy with their totals, maintaining their lead in the face of new competition, and the continued success of the PS2 helps take the sting out of Sony’s meager PS3 launch.

On the software side, Microsoft’s Gears of War continued to sell well and moved more than 815 thousand units, and clearly helped drive sales of the Xbox 360. Guitar Hero II was a huge seller for the Playstation 2, and the combined sales of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii and Gamecube moved over one million sold; Zelda for the Wii continued to have a huge attach rate with Wii console buyers, selling 519,200 units against more than 600,000 consoles.

Overall, each of the three console manufacturers has something to brag about for the month of December, and while the relative sales are interesting now, this is just the beginning of the next console war; most analysts are predicting that the holiday season for 2007 will be when consumers will see how the competition really shakes up.

Read More | GameDaily

Gallery: NPD December Numbers: $3.7 Billion, PS2, DS Dominate


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EA LogoHoping to clear off shelf space for next year’s iteration of Madden, Fight Night, and Tiger Woods, EA has dropped the price on a few games in their library. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to pick up many of EA’s titles for $10-$30 off of their usual price. Of course, with EA’s habit of shutting down servers for unpopular games, you might want to think twice before picking up anything that has a year attached to the title. Still, there are some fairly well reviewed titles to be found, including The Godfather and Need for Speed Carbon, so this might be a good way to get some extra bang out of that gift certificate you got this Christmas.

See the full list of reduced-price titles, after the jump…

Click to continue reading EA Drops Prices for Lots of Soon-to-be-Obsolete Games

Read More | Game Invasion @ Comcast.net

Gallery: EA Drops Prices for Lots of Soon-to-be-Obsolete Games


GameStop It looks like enforced bundles of the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, along with strong holiday sales have boosted GameStops financials, as the company raised guidance for their fourth quarter and full year results. GameStop reports that total sales for the holiday season reached $1.73 billion. The top five video game releases for the holiday season were:

  • Gears of War
  • Final Fantasy XII
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Guitar Hero II
  • WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2007

Interestingly, no Playstation 3 title made the list, but two Playstation 2 titles did, along with one Xbox 360 release, one combination Wii/Gamecube release, and one multi-platform title in Smackdown. Console shortages might have limited the revenue that the company received from next generation releases, but this would seem to be one more data point indicating that the Playstation 2 will still be a sales monster into the coming year.

Read More | Reuters

Gallery: GameStop’s Holiday Sales Top $1.7 Billion


Pokemon Diamond The Media Create Japanese Software sales numbers for the week ending December 17th have been released and it looks like things have gone back to the status quo in Japan. The first seven spots in the top ten belong to Nintendo DS titles, with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl taking the top two spots. New Super Mario Brothers and the super-popular Love and Berry DS Collection appear on the list as well. The first non-DS title is Wild Arms 5 for the PS2 at the eighth spot. Two Wii titles round out the top ten: Wii Sports and Pokemon Battle Revolution. The week after the debut of Blue Dragon sees that title dropping completely off the top 30, which would appear to be a bad sign for Xbox 360 sales in Japan. Japanese hardware sales should be updated soon, so time will tell for Microsoft’s console.

Read More | eg Japan

Gallery: December 10 - 17 Media Create Numbers Online


Blue Dragon BundleMedia Create’s hardware sales numbers for the week ending December 10th have been released, and the Xbox 360 received a considerable bump due to the release of Blue Dragon for the console, moving 35,343 units during the week. This number is the highest the console has seen since launch, and the numbers are respectable but not spectacular. The top selling console this week was the DS Lite, selling 309,630 units. The Wii followed behind with 85,439, and the Playstation 3 came in third with 50,171. One assumes that the Wii and PS3 numbers are heavily constrained by supply. Coming up after the Xbox 360 are the Playstation 2 at 30,460 consoles and the PSP at 28,930 units.

The DS Lite just continues to absolutely dominate console sales in Japan. Microsoft has to be somewhat happy with the bump in sales in Japan. Considering that the Blue Dragon bundle is an insanely great deal on the hardware and software included, the company may be paying a heavy price for this improvement in sales. If Microsoft can ride the wave to further success the cost might be worth it for the company, but if this is a temporary blip, one has to wonder if anything can turn around the console in Japan.

Read More | Media Create

Gallery: December 10 Media Create Hardware Sales Numbers Released


Gears LogoNPD today released its official game sales numbers for November, and the numbers are showing amazing growth. Next Generation reports on the figures; year-over-year sales increased 34% to $1.7 billion. For this generation’s consoles, the Xbox 360 lead the pack with 551K sales. Nintendo’s Wii followed with 476K units, and the Playstation 3 trailed with 197K units. Supply issues hampered sales for the Playstation 3 and the Wii, and slightly under 200,000 consoles sold, Sony’s inability to provide consoles for their launch became apparent. Overall, though, last generation’s Playstation 2 continues to rack up huge sales, moving 664K consoles for November.

In the handheld arena, the Nintendo DS continues to absolutely dominate, selling 918,000 units in November. The Game Boy followed with 641,000 sold, and the PSP brought up the rear with 412,000 units sold.

On the software side of things, Gears of War took the number one spot, moving 1 million copies during the month. Final Fantasy XII sold 896,000 units, continuing that series’ success, and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess sold 412,000 copies, perhaps constrained a bit by Wii hardware supplies.

Overall, the industry is showing excellent year-over-year growth, and all three console manufacturers have something to smile about in November.

Read More | Next Generation

Gallery: NPD: Year-Over-Year Sales Up 34%


Institute LogoThe National Institute on Media and the Family annually releases a Video Game Report Card that rates the industry on violence in video games as well as how well publishers and retailers are policing themselves. ABC News reports on the latest release from the organization. They don’t have the official industry report card listed, but do have a list of recommended games as well as a list of games that are deemed inappropriate for teens and children. It will come as no shock that every game on the “inappropriate” list is rated “M,” including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories for the PSP, Saint’s Row for the Xbox 360, and Mortal Kombat: Unchained. It seems odd to single out those particular games from the list of “M” rated titles; if the industry is doing its job, an “M” designation should at least be a warning flag for parents purchasing game titles for teens and children.

On the flip side, four of the ten “recommended” games are Nintendo exclusive titles, including Mario Hoops 3 on 3, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, and Brain Age for the Nintendo DS, and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz for the Wii. Other titles include LocoRoco for the PSP, and the latest Lego Star Wars for multiple platforms. While the list of software titles may help the average parent, more interesting should be the actual report card scores determining how the industry has done in the past year, particularly with the new education and enforcement efforts being made by the ESRB.

Update: The Institute has now published their full report. Overall, the NIMF seems to be stumping for the same issues they have targeted over the years: video game ratings, parental involvement, the impact of violent games on children, and increasing obesity.

Further analysis after the jump.

Click to continue reading Video Game Report Card: Games To Avoid

Read More | National Institute On Media And The Family

Gallery: Video Game Report Card: Games To Avoid


Playstation 3 Backwards Compatibility Sony has posted a backwards compatibility database for the Japanese Playstation 3 online, and IGN has checked for issues with some of the major titles. According to IGN, most of the titles checked report “Currently, there have been no reports of major problems during play.” Given that there are thousands of titles in the database, it is unlikely that Sony has been able to test every single game thoroughly at this point, so compatibility issues may still surface later.

Also, IGN reports that many titles in the database with issues have been fixed as of the System 1.10 update, indicating that the emulation system is software based, not based on PS2 hardware inclusions as rumored earlier. Most of the issues IGN highlighted are problems with background music or movie sound playing back incorrectly. While annoying, this wouldn’t be a major issue. However, titles like Gran Turismo 4 and Silent Hill appear to be subject to occasional freezes, and some titles lose game save data.

Some of the issues appear to be hardware based. Some of Konami’s titles have problems with the microphone, and there are issues with games that allow gamers to access previous Playstation 1 save data. Other issues seem to be related to the differing hardware support in the PS3 as well. HD-based games are also not compatible, though a future software update promises to fix these. Hopefully, Sony will place the US compatibility list online soon. While a number of titles appear to have issues, at least right now it seems like the Playstation 3 will offer greater backward compatibility support than the Xbox 360.

Read More | IGN

Gallery: Japanese PS3 Backward Compatibility Issues Online


Blue PSPSony will be adding a pink Playstation 2 to the line up and will be bringing back the satin silver Playstation 2 on November 22nd in Japan. On the same date, Sony will release a pink PSP. Then, on December 14th, Sony will launch a silver PSP, which will be followed by a metallic blue PSP on December 21st. Having more color options for the PSP may help Sony prop up Japanese sales of the handheld against the continually tough competition of the Nintendo DS, though this may be a stretch. While North America will get the silver PS2 in the near future, it would be nice to see more color options for the PSP in the United States as well.

Read More | Famitsu

Gallery: Sony Adds New PS2, PSP Colors In Japan


Xploder HDTV When Xploder’s HDTV Player for the Playstation 2 was announced, it was greeted with a bit of skepticism. The HDTV Player promised to offer PS2 owners the ability to upscale their 480i games to HDTV resolutions, including 480p, 576p, 720p, and 1080i. IGN reviewed Xploder’s software to find out if it really works. The results were definitely mixed: 480p mode seemed to work the best, giving HDTV owners the option for progressive scan video output in games that normally don’t support it. Other modes like 720p and 1080i were judged unacceptable by IGN, and they were unable to test the 576p mode, which Xploder claimed to be the best mode for the player. If gamers have displays that support 576p, or are desperate to get 480p, then the software may fit those needs. However, according to the review, it appears that higher resolution display modes just do not seem to work well enough for recommendation.

Read More | IGN

Gallery: IGN Reviews PS2 Xploder HDTV Player


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