Nintendo released their fiscal 2011 financials today, and looking over the sells charts for the 3DS, it became readily apparent the effect last summer’s price drop has had in turning the misfortunes of that system around from the dismal start last spring. The effect is so pronounced even, that 3DS is gaining traction faster than the DS, or the Wii in all three major sells markets: North America, Europe and Japan.
Looking at that charts in fact, not only can you see exactly when the 3DS price change occurred, but how far 3DS adoption has climbed, both in reference to the DS and the Wii, has got me thinking that Sony may seriously want to reconsider the price point of the PlayStation Vita before it launches next month, or they may be looking at a repeat of the 3DS’ initial dismal performance, prior to last summer’s price drop.
Well it would appear that CES once again, has become the dumping ground for the major game console makers to announce the previous year/quarter’s hardware sells numbers to the public. These are worldwide numbers for units sold during Q4 2011, and a huge shocker came out of this weeks announcements. Heavy competitors Sony and Microsoft were the first to announce their numbers. Microsoft last night at the CES 2012 keynote event, and Sony today in a press release from the show floor. Starting with the PlayStation 3, which has been slowly gaining on the Xbox 360 for the past five years and was poised to catch up the the market leader last year, Sony announced an Earth shattering 3.9 million units sold globally for the crucial quarter ending the calender year, 2011. However, the news of Sony’s sales numbers were already overshadowed by the previous night’s announcement from Microsoft, who managed to pull out a soul crushing (if you are a Sony fan, soul uplifting, if you reside in the Microsoft court) 10 million units globally, in the final three months of 2011. That is a face slapping 2.6 to 1 sales ratio against the Sony branded game console, which put Microsoft firmly back in the lead, no longer a neck and neck race, between the two consoles.
The question on everyone’s mind today has probably got to be, “how did they pull it off?” And sure enough as I read over the story at Joystiq, that seemed to be the question on everyone’s minds. And surprisingly, considering that it is a multi-console discussion on the very sensative topic of hardware sells numbers, it has got to be one of the most civilized (ie flamebait-free, troll-free, cynicism-free) discussions I have seen online on the subject matter, in almost a decade. There is some really well thought out insight into how Microsoft managed to pull this particular rabbit out of their hat. Anyway, I thought I’d add my $0.02 to the discussion. So here goes . . .
Today, Sony just released the full lineup of PlayStation Vita launch titles. There are 35 titles on the list ranging in price from $9.99, all the way up to $49.99. Twenty-five of these titles are set to release on the PSV’s launch day, February 22, 2012. In celebration of what is easily turning out to be the single best portable game launch in history, I thought that I would recompile the full launch list, along with a boatload of videos. For the videos, I’ll be paying particular focus on games exclusive to the Vita – you know, the games which cannot be found on any other console or PC, in most cases, not even on the PS3. After all, when looking to buy new game hardware, it’s the exclusive content that really defines the experience, and is usually what most gamers want to see anyway.
So sit back, marvel at the huge list of games, enjoy all the videos that I have compiled, and start saving those pennies. February 22 will be here in less than two months, and between the surprisingly very affordable price of the Vita itself, and the shameful extortionist expensive proprietary memory cards, I easily see over $500 worth of stuff here I want to buy on day one, myself. (more…)
Anyone who has played around with Playstation Home, Sony’s experimental, online, meta world where gamers can experience new levels of marketing from game publishers, long enough realizes, that the load times, and the downloading is horrendous at times. Any time you direct your avatar to go into an area, you have to stop and wait for that area to load – which takes quite a bit of time, before you can actually go there. And if you want to get into any new area you have never been to before, then you have to preempt your visit by first downloading and installing that area, before you can head there. And as can be expected, you have to wait for the download, and wait for the install, both of which thankfully can be assigned to the background while you continue to play around in your current area. All the same however, waiting around for the new area to load, is not as fun as you would think. And of course once it has loaded and installed, you still have to deal with the load times of actually going to and from the new location. Basically, there is quite a bit of waiting going on over Playstation Home. And this waiting can be a major interruption to the flow of the gaming experience.
So yesterday when the Playstation Blog updated with a video (found after the break) detailing all the improvements that are coming to Playstation Home in the very near future, the omission of Sony remedying the waiting problem, rightfully caught the attention of many fans of the service. But it was not until today, while perusing the comments at Joystiq, that I saw a comment that caught my eye, and got me to really thinking on the matter . . . not the matter of why the problem exists, I think we already know the why’s of the problem, but on the matter of how to fix it, once and for all. (more…)
With the exception that PSVita 3G will only work exclusively with AT&T when it launches North America this winter, plus have a 20MB 3G data cap imposed, all the news coming out of the Sony camp surrounding their upcoming portable game system, has largely been extremely good news (from a gamer perspective) – I know, Sony has actually done something right for a change, go figure. But I guess all good things must come to an end, as it would appear the other shoe has finally dropped on the Playsation Vita. Along with news of the impending PSV global launch date set for February 22, 2012, comes news (finally) of pricing on Playstation Vita games – and no, it is not pretty news at all. In Europe at least, Sony appears to be pricing PSVita games as expensive as their PS3 counterparts. For North America, while it is not official (yet), that would mean PSVita games costing as much at $60 each for key titles. I will not say that this comes exactly as any kind of surprise, or anything. I will say that with everything else Sony was getting right surrounding the Vita, there was hope they would break with tradition and get this aspect right as well. And considering the specs of the portable, one could have expected the prices to be as high as PS3 titles, but two mitigating factors have always given hope that they would not be: (more…)
I was going to write the entire thing about Dead Space 2. And I was going to go on and on about how the original was awesome, and how part two was going to be even better. And I was going to go into an entire soliloquy about how outside of Alan Wake (a video game that everyone without exception should experience), the original Dead Space while flawed, was the closest thing to real, honest to God fear, you could experience in a video game, and how Dead Space 2 was going to build on that, repairing the faults found in the first game, and likely become one of the most frightening experiences any form of entertainment (film, novel, etc.) has ever managed to be. But then I decided there was really no point. Either you already know that Dead Space will make you pee your pants, or you do not. If you already know, then you already have Dead Space 2 pre-ordered and ready to go later this month. If you are in the category of people who had no clue . . . skip over the first game, rent or buy Dead Space 2, turn out the lights, turn up your home theater surround sound system, and either play it or have someone else play it for you as you watch on . . . and prepare to wet yourselves. Outside of that, and the trailer and some photos from the game (after the break), there is nothing else to say about this game. (more…)
A contemporary recently posited the thought to me:
I am very amused by the phrase ‘side loading’. Isn’t that just any offline file transfer? The wikipedia page is funny. “The launch of Apple’s iTunes Store brought sideloading to the masses”. Yeah, because barely anybody transferred files between computers and devices before then! Cassettes, floppy disks, writeable CDs, LANs, none of it was as important as an Apple-branded mp3 player…
I feel the same way about the term ‘jail breaking’. Unlocking devices from closed networks and ecosystems, and/or changing the firmware to accept changes and custom software has been going on forever – it’s not a new concept. But somehow since the first iPhone was unlocked from AT&T, the process has been re-branded “jail breaking” and sold as if it’s something new. (more…)