A top New York State Senator admits that lawmakers are not doing enough to attract the video game and tech industries to the Empire State, but will make it his top priority in 2015. New York State Senator Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) believes other states and parts of Canada are beating New York State in attracting gaming and biotech companies.
Hyrule Warriors for Wii U has shipped one million units worldwide to-date according to Nintendo. "Shipped" is not the same as "sold through" to customers, but it shows that retailers are committed to the game and see it as a bonafide hit. The Wii U Legend of Zelda spinoff from Nintendo and Koei Tecmo combines two popular franchises into one game - Zelda and Dynasty Warriors. The game launched last fall.
Microsoft sold 6.6 million Xbox systems in the final three months of 2014, the company revealed this week as part of its FY15 Q2 earnings report, which covers the quarter ended December 31, 2014. We say "Xbox systems" because Microsoft combined sales of both Xbox 360 and Xbox One during that time period in its financials.
Microsoft also said its Xbox business enjoyed a "strong holiday season", while the Devices and Consumer division saw year-over-year revenue growth of 8 percent to $12.9 billion.
Sony announced today that it plans to delay its first quarter earnings by a month in the wake of its latest security breach at the hands of a hacking group. The company was hacked and had data stolen at the hands of a group called the Guardians of Peace. The hack was supposedly in response to Sony Pictures' plan to release the James Franco and Seth Rogan comedy The Interview.
According to new data from analyst firm Kantar Worldpanel (as reported on by MCV), Amazon dominated Christmas entertainment sales in the United Kingdom. For the 12 week period that ended on December 21, one in four pounds spent on video games, physical music and video content in the UK went to Amazon. Ultimately the retailer claimed a 25.6 percent share of the market during the UK holiday season.
Consumers in Europe can now get a "no questions asked" refund on purchases they don't like through Apple's App Store. The company quietly changed its policy on refunds in Europe, making it a lot easier for those who want their money back on purchases of apps and music less than 14 days old.
Apple could have taken a stricter stance on this new policy because the law would allow the company to deny refunds on products that have been used; listening to a song, for example would mean that you enjoyed and used the product.
Video game accessories maker Mad Catz has cut the price of its Android-powered Mojo micro-console again. The company released its console in December of 2013 at a price point of around $250, but in March it hacked $50 off the price bringing it down to a more reasonable $200. Now with even more competition announced at CES in early January (Razer announced it was working on a micro-console called Forge TV at an even lower price point of $100), Mad Catz has decided to cut the price of its system even more.
Update #2: Microsoft has confirmed with Polygon that the return to the $349 price is not "permanent," but the company did not say how long this promotion would last.
Update #1: There is some debate on whether this is a temporary promotion similar to what Microsoft did over the holiday shopping season or a permanent move to the $349 pricing model. We'll have more info on that when it becomes available.
Episodic adventure game developer and publisher Telltale Games has a new chief executive officer this week. Telltale Games president and CTO Kevin Bruner has been promoted to the role of CEO, the company announced today. Bruner is taking over the role from Dan Connors, who will now serve as an executive advisor to the company moving forward.
In addition to revealing his promotion, Bruner said that the Game of Thrones, Minecraft, and The Walking Dead adventure game series developer is currently working with new partners on several unannounced projects, and its own original IP.
The Japanese games market recorded a deficit of ten percent in 2014 compared to 2013, according to new data released by Famitsu (as detailed by MCV). The data also shows that Nintendo's popular 3DS hand-held beat out all other gaming hardware in the region during the year. The Japanese market reached ¥368.55bn in 2014, down from 2013’s final tally of ¥408.97bn.
Sony announced this week that the PlayStation 4 has sold more than 18.5 million units worldwide since its launch in November of 2013. The new figures tabulate units sold as of January 4, 2015. Sony also said that during the critical holiday shopping season (late November to early January) it managed to sell 4.1 million units worldwide.
Perfect World may decide to become a privately owned company in 2015, according to this GII report. The company is considering going private in 2015 because a proposal put forth by Michael Yufeng Chi, Perfect World founder and current chairman of the board.
Games Industry International offers an interesting article on 2015 predictions about the video games industry from four of the most prominent analysts covering the sector including Michael Pachter from Wedbush Securities, independent analyst Billy Pidgeon, David Cole from DFC Intelligence, and Patrick Walker from EEDAR.
There's a lot to unpack in this article, but here's a brief overview of the predictions from each analyst:
Games are an important part of video rental kiosk company Redbox, which is why the company has brought in a seasoned pro from the video games industry to spearhead efforts in that department. Redbox announced today that it has appointed former Codemasters executive Bill West as vice president of video games. West spent nine and a half years at Codemasters as general manager for the Americas and as VP of corporate strategy. Prior to working at Codemasters, West worked with Climax Group, Acclaim Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company, and The Walt Disney Company.
Puerto Rico has implemented a tax incentive plan which gives a 40 percent tax credit on salaries and production costs on projects with budgets of $100,000 or higher, and the first company to take advantage of it is Juan-based Space Rhino Games. The company is currently hard at work on Breach TD, a tower defense game that was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in June.
Nintendo announced that the releases of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Amiibo on November 21 are already smashing successes. In fact the company has put these products as some of the best-selling properties in 2014.
Together Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire sold nearly 1.5 million copies during their first ten days of availability in the US at retail and through digital channels. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have performed even better in Japan, with 1.5 million copies sold in just three days.
New data from Superdata shows that November's digital sales revenues jumped 23 percent to hit the $1 billion mark (as reported on by GII). Superdata's monthly US digital games market update for November shows that Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains and sales helped significantly helped push US digital game revenues totals to $1 billion. This data includes mobile, PC, and console digital sales.
The PlayStation 4 has been outselling the Xbox One since February, but it looks like Microsoft might have finally broken that streak in the month of November - according to this Ars Technica report. Microsoft announced that the NPD retail sales data shows the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in both the US and the UK.
It looks like this year's Call of Duty is not faring as well as last year's Call of Duty, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson - as reported by Street Insider. Olson said the NPD Group's November US retail sales of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare were down 27 percent compared to last year's Call of Duty: Ghosts.
UK video games industry trade body Tiga says that games should officially be recognized as art. Speaking to BBC's Newsbeat program, Tiga CEO Dr. Richard Wilson said that video games should officially be classified as cultural products on the same level as Television, film, animation, etc.
The popular RPG platformer hybrid Shovel Knight has sold over 300,000 units. The announcement about this major milestone came from developer Yacht Club Games via Twitter.
Shovel Knight launched on 3DS, PC, and Wii U in North America this summer, but the game has only been out in Europe for about a month.
Microsoft has issued an apology to members of its Xbox Live Indie Games development community who have not been paid in the most recent round of payouts. The apology came after a member of the Destructoid community posted a rather scathing blog post about the situation, which was then shared across social media.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said today at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference that, while digital revenues are growing, some maybe overstating the impact revenues from digital sales have on a company's bottom line. Zelnick claims that Take-Two generates roughly 15 - 30 percent of its revenue from digital sales.
Electronic Arts says that the days of it acquiring developers and big franchises to be successful has had mixed results and is something the company plans on doing rarely moving forward. For every successful acquisition (BioWare, an DICE) there are a number of companies whose work did not flourish under the auspices of being an EA owned brand. EA has acquired many companies that were later shut down or turned into a brand like Mythic Entertainment and Pandemic.
According to analyst firm Infoscout, the Xbox One beat the PlayStation 4 on Black Friday at retail. The firm claims that Microsoft's lower price point of around $50 gave the Xbox One an edge: it had 53 percent of total spend at retail, compared to the PS4's 31 percent. The Xbox One was also the top-selling console at both Walmart and Target, according to the firm.