Despite reports of low turnouts at midnight launch events for the PlayStation 3 in Europe, Sony managed to break records for console sales during its opening weekend, moving over 165,000 units in the UK. ChartTrack in the UK believes that this sells through approximately 75% of the initial launch allocation for the UK, and surpasses all other console launches in the territory, including the Wii and the Xbox 360. Gamasutra also reports on UK software sales for the opening weekend, with Resistance: Fall of Man and Motorstorm taking spots one and two in the top ten. Of course, launch weekends are generally for the hard core; generally the first couple of million consoles sold are the easiest. Time will tell how Sony’s console does as its purchasing demographic shifts.
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GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that UK gamers looking to pre-order the Playstation 3 through retailer HMV are being forced to partake in a particularly onerous bundle. An e-mail sent to customers indicates that those who would like to place a pre-order for the Playstation 3 can do so only when also purchasing a 4 GB PSP package. The bundle includes the new PSP, two PSP games and the Playstation 3, but retails for almost 675 GBP, around $1330 US. According to Gamesindustry.biz, Sony was less than sympathetic towards its fanbase, stating that “his is just one of a number of value added incentives that retailers will be offering to mark the launch of PS3.” This bundle seems to be the oddest choice; hardcore fans of Sony’s hardware will likely have already purchased a PSP, and the pricing puts this above the casual fan’s price range. Add this together with no actual guarantee that the Playstation 3 will be available, this action would seem to be the definition of HMV “biting the hand that feeds it.”
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Microsoft announced today that starting on September 23, they will be offering an Xbox 360 bundle in the UK, including an Xbox 360 Premium system, an extra wireless controller, and a copy of Project Gotham Racing 3 for £299.99 ($565 US). This new bundle sells for £30 more than a standard Premium system, and may help to entice more gamers to choose the Xbox 360 platform this Holiday season. So, in the past few days, Microsoft has announced bundles in both Japan and the UK to try and rack up sales, but so far US gamers have been left in the cold.
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Inventor Mark Howe, who has been banned from casinos since the 1990’s, claims that his roulette computer can give you an advantage of 20% to 100% over a casino. The result is that the house’s normal 2.7% edge will be overturned. Because the UK gambling industry will be deregulated next year, amatuer and professional gamblers alike are scrambling to jump on the roulette bandwagon by purchasing such devices.
The UK based newspaper Guardian Unlimited reported that, “Keith Tayler, an ex-croupier and gaming inspector, says regulators are unwilling to ban predicting devices because it would amount to an admission that wheels can be biased.”
The gadget itself consists of a clicker that records deceleration speed of the wheel’s rotor and ball. You are then instructed by earphone which zone the ball will land in. In 2004, a group using this device actually won £1.3m at the Ritz Casino in London. At a price of US$5,000, the basic package includes the computer (inside a Nokia cell phone), an electronically shielded data input cable and button or switch, a DVD with footage of a wheel for practice, and an instruction manual. Let the games begin.
A report from Gameindustry.biz indicates that the Wii may be region-locked, contrary to previous reports. Gamesindustry.biz talked with Nintendo UK, and they said that contrary to previous reports, the Wii would not be region-free. Now, this might still need clarification, since there may be PAL vs. NTSC issues at play; also, Perrin Kaplan did not indicate that there was no region-lock, just that Nintendo first-party titles would not feature a region-lock. This may be similar to the situation on the Xbox 360, where games can be region-locked, but may be playable in multiple regions, like the Japanese release of Saint’s Row and other games.
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