Microsoft has cut the price of the Premium Xbox 360 and the Core pack in Japan, knocking the price down to hopefully get at all competitive in that country. The Core 360 (presumably to be replaced by the Arcade, at the new price, any day now) will cost 27,800 yen, or $243, down from 29,800 yen, or $261, but still more than the Wii’s 25,000 yen/$219. The Premium is now 34,800 yen/$304, down from 39,795 yen/$348.
For the first half of 2007, Microsoft sold 122,565 units of the Xbox 360 in Japan. The PlayStation 3, which has gotten off to a slow start, still sold nearly five times as many with 503,554 units. Nintendo’s Wii meanwhile sold 1.78 million.
The price cut will certainly help the 360 compete, though it will not be enough to win. Microsoft isn’t going to win Japan this console generation, but if it wins worldwide, and handily, it could leave Sony so weak that the Japanese will buy the next Xbox.
Microsoft sponsored the number 40 car driven by David Stremme at the Dover 400, giving it a nice Halo 3 paint scheme. Problem is, the car suffered mechanical failure, blowing its engine on the 306th lap, something that’s happened six times this year to Stremme. Meanwhile, the Wii car almost won the race, finishing second.
At least Halo 3 itself was successful, but you have to appreciate the irony. Something Xbox 360-related suffering mechanical failure? Who’s shocked?
Microsoft did better than it had hoped, selling enough copies of Halo 3 in just the first day to beat Spider-man 3′s opening weekend with an astounding $170 million. Halo 3′s launch is being called the biggest launch in entertainment history, netting more money than any movie weekend or music release, though the higher cost of video games makes it likely that they moved fewer units than some other record holders.
Still, Microsoft pushed for the biggest opening ever, and they pulled it off. Unless there’s a Halo 4 on the way, expect it to be a long time before we see a phenomenon like this. Hopefully the Xbox division can start making a profit now.
There’s also some concern over the Halo 3 Limited Edition disks coming scratched, as I mentioned last week. If you find a scratched disk, Microsoft has set up a replacement program, but shipping roundtrip takes two weeks (an interminable amount of time if you want to finish the damn fight). I recommend opening up your copy at the register the second you purchase it, and exchanging it in-store if there’s a problem. You take it home, you’re asking for problems (though lets not forget, this defect is still Microsoft’s fault).
Sony, meanwhile, is talking smack (or rather, sitting in the corner and whispering a little), saying that “We’ve never been dependent on any one game”. Yeah, that’s right, the PS3 right now depends on a mere two really good games, neither of which is all that classic, while the 360 has a ton of great games. And lots not forget the Wii, which is still missing a single major game release since it was launched.
The latest numbers from the NPD Group are out, and Nintendo’s Wii has finally overtaken the Xbox 360 in total sales, with the Wii having sold 9 million consoles, compared to Microsoft’s 8.9 million. Sony’s PlayStation 3 lags behind, with 3.7 million units. Microsoft’s one year head start evaporated after 10 months, but if you look at the battle as being a Microsoft vs. Sony one, then maybe those numbers aren’t so bad.
The latest console sales figures from the NPD are out, and Sony’s Playstation 3 improved a very nice amount but failed to catch the Xbox 360. In July, Sony sold 159,000 PS3s, 60,000 higher than the month before, but the 360 sold 170,000, down from 198,000. All this is from before the 360′s price cut, so August’s numbers are going to be doubly important.
Of course, Nintendo’s unstoppable Wii sold 425,00 units, up from 381k (and 338k in May and 360k in April and 259k in March). Total sales figures for both consoles have Nintendo 2.5 million away from catching the 360 and well ahead of the 360′s sales pace, while the PS3 is far below the pace the 360 sold last year. At this rate, Nintendo might catch Microsoft at the end of the year, unless the price cut and Halo 3 and the holiday season start to shake things up.
Amazon.com is showing a huge jump in sales of the Xbox 360, moving 600% more Premium consoles today than yesterday thanks to the price break. The 360 jumped from #28 in its category, Video Games, to #4, while Xbox 360 Elite sales jumped 477% to #9 from #52. The Core system had a decent jump, too, up 144% to #103 from 252. Still, the 360 is selling only as high as fourth, while the limited $499 PS3 is third and the Wii is #2.
One good thing: Speaking to the fact that the 360 has the biggest install base and the biggest sales of games per console (what Microsoft calls its “attach rate” of over 6), the number one seller is a 360 exclusive game, Forza Motorsport 2. Number six is a 360 exclusive, too, the pre-order of Halo 3 beating out every single Wii or PS3 game. In fact, Madden 08 on the 360 is #11, the first PS3 game is Madden on that system at #14, and the first Wii game* is Mario Strikers Charged a #19.
* – Wii Play is #12, but it is really a Wii remote with a $10 game.
Microsoft confirmed the rumors and cut the price of the Xbox 360 today, dropping the price of the main system by $50 to $350. You can get the Premium at a price $100 more than the Nintendo Wii and $150-250 less than Sony’s PS3, while the Core drops twenty bucks to $279 (within thirty of the Wii) and the Elite drops thirty to $450, $50-150 less than the PS3. The Halo 3 Xbox 360, which has the Premium’s 20-gig hard drive, the Elite’s HDMI port and a Halo color scheme is $400.
The price drop moves the 360 Core closer to the Wii, improving comparisons, but not enough that the difference is a wash, while it keeps Microsoft far ahead of Sony ($250, if the stock isn’t replenished). You can buy an Elite and the HD-DVD drive for just $30 more than the PS3, or the 360 Premium and the Wii for the same prize as Sony’s console-with-no-games.
(via Todd Bishop)
Hitwise reports that searches for searches for the Xbox 360 have overtaken those for Nintendo’s Wii for this first time since the Wii’s release, with the PlayStation 3 lagging behind all the way. The chart above should give an idea of the hot buzz the Wii has enjoyed since its release; however, in the last two months, the 360 has enjoyed a nice boost that has taken it past the Wii in the interests of web searchers. The chart below, from Google Trends, shows the 360 (in blue) still hanging behind the Wii, although searches for “Xbox” (as opposed to “Xbox 360″) are more popular than searched for “Wii”.
xbox 360 | wii
Hitwise’s data also shows the Xbox 360 Elite to be the second most popular related search term, which might explain some of the increase in interest, and it also shows more interest by searchers in a price drop for the 360 than for the PlayStation 3.
We’re finally getting solid and longish-term enough numbers to get an idea of how this generation of game consoles is doing, and the verdict is… who the hell knows? The Wii is doing incredibly, the Xbox 360 is selling a solid second, but way less than it did a year ago, and the PS3 is kinda slugging along, but a fake price cut might help them out.
Nintendo put out their earnings report, targeting 16.5 million Wii consoles sold in the next 12 months. The Hollywood Reporter put out a rumor that the Xbox 360 will see a price drop on August 8, in just two weeks. The rumor, based on reports from retailers, is that all 360 consoles will drop $50 to take advantage of a slow season and multiply the Halo 3 effect on console sales.
So, is the 360 struggling, or is this just a down period combined with massive Wii hype? Most likely, we won’t have a real answer until Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, and the holiday shopping season have all been processed.
Rockstar has announced it will be bringing Bully to the Xbox 360 and Wii this Winter. Bully is an open-world game in the style of Grand Theft Auto, but it takes place at a New England boarding school and is far less violent than critics had originally feared.
I was very excited about Bully when I first heard about it, and extremely dissapointed when I didn’t get to play it because it was PlayStation 2 only, so the 360 version is officially on my holiday gaming shopping list. With Bully and GTA IV, I should have enough of this style of gameplay to carry me for months.
Bully: Scholarship Edition, ships this Winter and will contain new content, and, presumably, updated graphics from the PS2 version. It’s probably too much to ask that it use the R.A.G.E. engine, right? At the very least, it shouldn’t cost $60, I hope.
Sarcastic Gamer has done another voiceover re-imagining of a promotional video, this time taking the Wii Fit video (about Nintendo’s new board that detects when you shift your weight) and tearing it apart:
Microsoft is holding a usability study in the Seattle area about the next generation of home entertainment. They’ll come to your house, chat with your whole family, and give you a free copy of Windows Vista, Office 2007, games, or possibly hardware, your choice. You have to live in the Puget Sound area (within 20 miles of Seattle), own a game console (Wii, Xbox, or Xbox 360**), be a U.S. citizen and at least 8 years old to participate.
To get in on this (and really, is it hard to have someone come to your home, ask you questions, and leave you some free stuff?), fill out this form and email this address with your phone number, and a subject of “Console Game Study”.
* – Yes, I decided the plural of Wii is Wiiii, even though you only add two “i”s after a “us”. The official plural of Wii is “Wii Systems”, but this is funnier. I assume the plural of Xbox is Xboxes, but this sounds better.
** – No PS3? I bet they’ll accept it, but they probably figure nobody owns one.
The BBC has an article about the growth of the video games industry and the effects that has in a creating a Hollywood-type culture. I just found this graph so interesting:
It’s showing game sales over the last seven years, and growth projected out for the next four.
Now granted, it’s patently inaccurate, because it shows the PS3 and Wii selling games as early as 2005, and the 360 selling games in late 2003, and that probably means its depiction of the PS3 selling more games than the Wii and nearly as many as the 360 is probably inaccurate too, but I find the trends interesting. It shows the industry recovering from its downturn and gaining about $2 billion in revenue, and a market more evenly split than the last generation.
More choices due to better competition = great for the market. However, console exclusives are the bane of any console owner, so I’m hoping they wise up. I really want to play the new Wii Mario games, but I won’t, because they are trapped on Nintendo’s console, and I’m not paying $250 just for the hardware for those two games (and no, none of the other games hold enough appeal at this time). I know the last thing we’ll ever see is Mario on an Xbox, so maybe I’ll wait for the next generation to buy this generation’s Wii for $100.
Positioned as “game fuel,” the beverage will sport the Halo 3 logo and a game character. Pepsi is betting the limited edition beverage will be a huge hit with the college-age crowd. According to IGN, Halo 3 ranks No. 1 among 2007 titles in awareness and purchase intent for the past two years.
It will have Halo’s Master Chief on the side, and contain a whopping 120 milligrams of caffeine! It says “Game Fuel” on the side, making it devastatingly accurate.
Also, an ongoing comic book series about Halo characters is coming this July from Marvel. Selling at $3.99 for the first, 40-page issue, and produced by the legendary Daredevil team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev. The description, from Kotaku:
Picking up from the conclusion of blockbuster video game Halo 2, the must-read issue reveals how the Master Chief, while onboard a hostile ship headed towards Earth, is battling against Covenant forces! Intertwined with Master Chief’s interstellar one-man-war is the saga of a great American city’s rebellion and downfall, two disparate lives’ collision and shared fate, and the Covenant’s hunt for an ancient relic of untold power and value. With hope dwindling and the fate of humanity hanging by a thread, is there any chance for a future?
If you don’t get the point, it’s that the whole trailer consists of last-gen old GTA game graphics. It’s not just funny, it’s a really good point, and it illustrates why you won’t see many major 360/PS3 games on the Wii.