With Sony Corp.¬†dropping the price of its entry-level PlayStation 3 console by $50 to $249, U.S. retailers could see a sales boost in both hardware and software. ‚ÄúIt is safe to assume that confidence across the entire industry just lifted,‚ÄĚ video game retail analyst Jesse Divnich tells Reuters. Some observers speculate that Microsoft might respond with a corresponding price cut to its rival Xbox 360 console (via Gamasutra).
Packaged video game software sales in April increased 26% year-over-year to $503 million, according to the NPD Group. But Sony‚Äôs April 20 shutdown of its PlayStation Network appears to have had some impact on the market.
While Sony sold 204,000 PS3 consoles during the month, representing a 13% increase over sales in April 2009, rival Microsoft sold 297,000 Xbox 360 consoles during the month, a 60% increase from last year.
As CNBC reports, the newest installment of Sony‚Äôs popular ‚ÄúSocom‚ÄĚ franchise also failed to chart with the month‚Äôs 10 best-selling games. That is likely due to the game being released one day before Sony shut down its network to assess the extent of hackers‚Äô attack.
With shipments of the PlayStation 3 topping 50 million units worldwide, Sony Computer Entertainment says that global software sales for the console have surpassed 480 million discs (through 2010).
Publishers have marketed 2,128 physical titles for the PS3 since the system‚Äôs launch in November, 2006. Underscoring the growth of the platform‚Äôs digital supply chain, Sony says that 105,988 pieces of digital content are available worldwide via the online PlayStation Store (which launched concurrently with the PS3).
Press release via Engadget.
Roughly half of the latest-generation videogame consoles sit in living/family rooms, according to a new Nielsen study. Unsurprisingly, the system most likely to be found in family rooms is the Nintendo Wii (59% of console households). However, with increasing penetration of motion controllers from Microsoft and Sony, the Xbox 360 (currently in 42% of console households‚Äô living rooms) and the PlayStation 3 (45%) could both gain share.
Some 20% of consoles are located in kids‚Äô bedrooms; the Xbox 360 is most popular in this space (28%), nearly double the rate of the PS3 and Wii.
Nielsen derives the percentages from consumers’ claims of TV ownership, location, and console connection in a January 2011 survey.
A federal magistrate in California has ruled that Sony Computer Entertainment may serve PayPal with a subpoena for two years of George Hotz‚Äôs account records, as the videogame company girds for its suit against the self-proclaimed PlayStation 3 hacker.
The account data could help the Sony unit, headquartered outside San Francisco, bring its case against Hotz in California instead of Hotz‚Äôs home state of New Jersey. Sony claims Hotz received PayPal donations for his PS3 ‚Äújailbreak‚ÄĚ from California-based individuals; Hotz denies the claim (via Wired).
The magistrate previously ruled that Sony may serve subpoenas for data to Google, YouTube, and Twitter, as well as to the host of Hotz‚Äôs website.
Hotz had posted an encryption key and software tools that enable PS3 users to run ‚Äúhomebrew‚ÄĚ videogames on the console. Among other legal claims, Sony alleges Hotz trafficked in ‚Äúanti-circumvention devices‚ÄĚ in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Sony Computer Entertainment America plans to market select downloadable content (DLC) for the PlayStation 3 in more than 4,400 GameStop locations, as well as at GameStop.com, in a new campaign with the specialty retailer.
The downloadable content, including full PlayStation Network games and add-ons, as well as PlayStation Plus subscriptions, are currently available in select GameStop stores and will continue to be added to a PlayStation DLC section in retail stores and at GameStop.com throughout the rest of the month (see press release via IGN). Sony now touts more than 60 million registered PlayStation Network users.
Those interested in Hulu‚Äôs paid ‚ÄúPlus‚ÄĚ option no longer need an invitation to subscribe to the service, as the major-broadcaster-backed streaming company adds more TV shows and hardware compatibility to its offering. Hulu said in a blog post yesterday that it has recently added new fall TV series such as Fox‚Äôs ‚ÄúRaising Hope,‚ÄĚ ABC‚Äôs ‚ÄúNo Ordinary Family,‚ÄĚ and NBC‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Event‚ÄĚ to the Plus service‚Äôs catalog.
The company also announced the availability of Hulu Plus on Sony Bravia 2010 TVs, with the service expanding to other Bravia devices ‚Äúin the near future.‚ÄĚ In addition, PlayStation 3 owners with a PlayStation Network account will be able to subscribe to Hulu Plus with the release of an updated application for the console next week.
We reported yesterday on Netflix‚Äôs update to its streaming service for Sony‚Äôs PlayStation 3 console, which includes the addition of Dolby 5.1 surround sound and 1080p video. PC World notes that the update, which takes effect next week, also leaves behind the Blu-ray discs that Netflix subscribers previously needed to access the service through their consoles. (Netflix had employed the disc to honor an exclusive streaming deal it had inked with Microsoft for the rival Xbox 360 system.)
The update also brings a state-of-the-art interface to PS3 users‚Äô screens, PC World reports, along with faster start times for movies and greater support for subtitles and alternate audio tracks.
An agreement between Sony Computer Entertainment and European movie-rental company Lovefilm will enable the service‚Äôs UK subscribers to stream video content directly to their TVs via PlayStation 3 consoles. Some 3 million households in the UK own a PS3; Lovefilm, which also rents DVDs by mail, counts 1.4 million subscribers across the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Germany. (Release via¬†Business Wire.)
The deal follows a March 2010 agreement that saw the Lovefilm streaming service launch on Sony‚Äôs Bravia Internet TVs and Blu-ray players.
Sales of EA‚Äôs latest ‚ÄúMadden NFL‚ÄĚ installment, which the publisher releases annually in August, sold 1.8 million copies last month ‚ÄĒ a 6% increase from the franchise‚Äôs sales in August 2009, according to the NPD Group. Meanwhile, the research firm notes that sales of Sony‚Äôs PlayStation 3 console rose for the thirteenth consecutive month, with the hardware maker still generating momentum from its price cut of the system to $299 last summer.
Overall, however, the videogame industry saw a 10% decline in sales of games and hardware during August, to $818.9 million. Sales of software declined 14% year-over-year during the month, to $403.5 million.
More at the Los Angeles Times.
Marketing and advertising veteran Eric Hirshberg is set to join Activision Publishing in September as the videogame company‚Äôs new CEO. Hirshberg, who hails from ad agency Deutsch LA, will succeed Mike Griffith, who advances to become Acitivision Blizzard‚Äôs Vice Chairman.
Activision is not the first entertainment publisher to charge an ad-agency luminary with charting a new direction for the company. In April, Walt Disney Studios tapped media planning exec MT Carney as its new president of marketing.
Hirshberg will join a game publisher at a crossroads, with some of its top franchises beset by challenges including developer lawsuits (‚ÄúCall of Duty‚ÄĚ) and market saturation (‚ÄúGuitar Hero‚ÄĚ). The LA Times has background.
Bloomberg has the latest leak regarding Hulu‚Äôs paid content plans: the online video site, according to Bloomberg‚Äôs sources, is close to an agreement with Sony to launch a premium subscription TV service on the PlayStation Network. The report follows last week‚Äôs Wall Street Journal story that stated Hulu was perhaps days away from unveiling a $10-a-month test program. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the site was in talks with Microsoft to offer paid TV programming on Xbox Live.
Among the highlights of Sony Corp.‚Äôs 2009 financials: the company confirmed that it no longer loses money on every PlayStation 3 sold, stating, ‚Äúthe negative margin issue on the PS3 has been resolved.‚ÄĚ Also, it took the late Michael Jackson, 2009 phenom Susan Boyle, the breakout TV hit “Glee,” and a new album from Alicia Keys to contain Sony‚Äôs music sales decline to only 5 percent.
Sales of stakes in the cable Game Show Network, as well as in HBO‚Äôs Latin America and Central Europe businesses, helped the Sony Pictures unit post an operating profit of 42.8 billion yen ($461.3 million) during its parent company‚Äôs fiscal 2009. But income from theatrical hits such as ‚Äú2012,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúAngels & Demons‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúMichael Jackson‚Äôs This Is It‚ÄĚ was partially offset by a decline in home entertainment sales. By The Hollywood Reporter
Via CE site Engadget: Thanks to a more power-efficient graphics chip in its PlayStation 3, Sony has been able to re-engineer the console such that it will begin to realize profits from each unit sold. It’s been a long time coming for the hardware maker. According to Engadget, Sony took an initial loss of between $241 and $307 for each console it sold upon the PS3‚Äôs launch in 2006. By Engadget
Following Microsoft‚Äôs announcement that it has surpassed sales of 40 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide, PC World breaks down the platform‚Äôs U.S. installed-base relative to the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. In the U.S., Xbox 360 still trails the Wii by some 10 million units ‚Äď but it continued to maintain a nine-million-unit lead over the PS3 audience. By PC World
‚ÄúThis might sound a little counterintuitive, but in a tough economy we‚Äôre seeing more digital adoption,‚ÄĚ said Peter Dille, Sony Computer‚Äôs SVP Marketing and PlayStation Network, at a videogame marketer‚Äôs conference in San Francisco April 1. Families, Dille said, ‚Äúare spending more time at home,‚ÄĚ rather than splurging on vacations or other expensive out-of-home entertainment. By Gamasutra
Beginning in Fall 2010, Sony Computer Entertainment plans to promote a new motion controller as the de facto controller for the PlayStation 3 console. Sony had slated the controller for a spring debut. But the company says the new date will coincide with the release of titles ‚ÄĒ both from Sony and third-party publishers ‚ÄĒ that are designed to take advantage of the controller‚Äôs motion sensitivity. Details including the product‚Äôs name and price are still to come. Via PR Newswire
GameStop CEO Daniel DeMatteo says the videogame retailer‚Äôs holiday sales were impacted in part by unexpected shortages of products such as Nintendo‚Äôs New Super Mario Bros. Wii game and the PlayStation 3. Nintendo and Sony couldn‚Äôt keep up with demand for consoles, DeMatteo tells Business Week in an interview. ‚ÄúThey were out of stock right before Christmas,‚ÄĚ DeMatteo says of Sony‚Äôs PS3. By Business Week
Sony Computer Entertainment says that worldwide sales of the PlayStation 3 topped 3.8 million units during the 2009 holiday season, a 76% increase over 2008. Via Joystiq
Consumers could be watching Blu-ray movies in 3D next year with the Blu-ray Disc Association‚Äôs completion of 3D specifications for the format, announced today.
The Blu-ray 3D specification purports to maintain the format‚Äôs high-definition 1080p resolution, and is compatible with the range of 3D displays expected to hit the market beginning next year. The spec is also designed to work with PlayStation 3 game consoles, for which Sony Computer Entertainment plans to release a 3D firmware upgrade next year.
Additionally, the specification supports playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players, and can enable 2D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the current installed base of Blu-ray Disc players.
Authoring facilities will use the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension of the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players, to encode the 3D video. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.
Spurred by recent $100 price deductions to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles, respectively, Netflix is projected to add 6.2 million new gross subscribers from fourth-quarter 2009 through first-quarter 2010, according to Eric Wold, analyst with Merriman Curhan Ford. By Home Media Magazine
Sony‚Äôs PlayStation 3 was the only game console to realize a year-over-year sales increase in October, selling 321,000 units during the month, according to data from the NPD Group. Videogame software sales fell to $573 million, an 18% decline from last year‚Äôs record $698 million. By PC World
The PlayStation 3 marketer has filed a patent application for an interactive TV technology that would superimpose viewer-controlled avatars on top of a TV show or movie. Among the potential applications: viewers could make their on-screen avatars ‚Äútoss tomatoes that stick to the actor‚Äôs face or bounce off the actor‚Äôs face and roll along a table that appears in the movie or television show.‚ÄĚ Wait until No Doubt hears of this. By Interactive TV Today
Two-thirds of PlayStation 3 owners have used the console to watch a Blu-ray movie, according to NPD. The percentage is higher than PlayStation 2 owners who watched DVDs at a similar point in DVD‚Äôs life cycle. By Video Business
Sony plans to release on Nov. 3 a PlayStation 3 console with 250GB of built-in storage for $349, a $50 premium over the company‚Äôs 120GB model. Sony‚Äôs digital PlayStation storefront offers movie downloads as well as games. By Video Business