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  • November 13th, 2012

    by Published on November 14th, 2012 22:53
    1. Categories:
    2. Wii U News

    Wii U has only a few more days before launch in the US, and if you didn't pre-order, it could be tough to buy one, as sales have been brisk. Nintendo of America's Scott Moffitt, executive vice president of sales and marketing, told GamesIndustry International that the $349 Deluxe Set version in particular has been a very hot item.
    Despite some concerns over hardware pricing possibly being too high, Moffitt asserted that consumer demand is what matters, and consumers have been telling Nintendo that the price is indeed right.
    "All I can say is that the response has been phenomenal and we're getting, especially in the higher priced deluxe set, that one's selling out incredibly quickly. That seems to indicate that the pricing's in a good spot and the proof is in the consumer response," Moffitt remarked in an interview to be published in full tomorrow.
    While shortages were a huge problem for the original Wii's launch, Moffitt is expecting Nintendo to do a much better job on replenishment this time around. That doesn't mean it'll necessarily be easy for walk-ins at Walmart or Best Buy to just pick one up any day of the week without a pre-order.
    "Certainly we've seen brisk pre-sales and that the phone calls have been coming into our headquarters for quite a while now asking for more and so we do expect high demand. But I can tell you this - on opening week we will have more systems on hand for the Wii U than we did for the launch of Wii. And, second, our replenishments will be more frequent this holiday time than during the Wii launch," Moffitt noted.
    "But, having said all that, it's impossible to exactly predict demand, and so I can't say that we won't have some shortages out there and that people won't have to be a little patient with the replenishment truckload and shipments and boatloads to arrive."
    Stay tuned for the full interview with Moffitt in which we discuss launch window planning, tablets, Nintendo's financials and more.


    by Published on November 14th, 2012 22:49
    1. Categories:
    2. DCEmu
    Article Preview

    Console game sales (at retail) are once again down by more than 20 percent over last year. The high point of console game sales was 2008, and the industry has steadily declined since then. Sales of downloadable content (DLC) have certainly offset some of that decline, but overall the top console game companies have been struggling against this market trend. The top games are selling more copies than ever, but the game that does merely OK (and makes a profit) is an endangered species. Fewer games are being produced for consoles as publishers strive to make every game profitable, and avoid potential losers.
    Many observers put the blame for slower sales on the fact that current consoles have reached six or seven years in the market, well past the usual expiration date of console hardware generations (typically four or five years). Late in the console cycle, sales always decline, they say. True enough, but some analysts note the growth in mobile, social and online games may be taking away some of the console gamers, or at least part of their attention and their money.
    The hopes of console game publishers now rest on the next console generation. The Wii U launching this week will, in this view, begin the revival on console game sales. New games, with new game play features and better graphics, will boost sales. That hope is missing a key part of the changes that have taken place in the game industry over the past several years. To understand this more fully, a review of game industry history is in order.
    "Console games are falling further and further behind games on other platforms when it comes to business models"

    The console game business began in the 1970s and grew to the amazing level of $2.3 billion in sales by 1983, mostly on the strength of Atari. By 1985, total industry revenues had dropped more than 97 percent to around $100 million. What happened? The great crash was caused by a wave of crummy games (with the E.T. Cartridge as the prime example) flooding retailers. People stopped buying console games, retailers returned huge numbers of games, and the industry collapsed. It wasn't until Nintendo managed to solve some of the key issues causing the crash that the industry was revived, led by the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System.
    The key issue that Nintendo identified behind the crash was the lack of quality control. It wasn't just that Atari's games were bad. The rise of Activision and other companies creating games for Atari's consoles meant that there were large numbers of games fighting for shelf space, and no assurances that any of them were any good. Many of them weren't, and consumers were overwhelmed by the bad games. Nintendo solved that problem by assuring retailers that Nintendo would restrict the number of games released, and through a strict licensing process ensure that all games met a quality standard.

    The process proved successful, and Nintendo led the rebirth of the console game business. Every other successful manufacturer of game consoles since has followed the general pattern set by Nintendo. The console manufacturer requires game developers to buy development systems (often very expensive), go through a qualification process, and have all titles approved by the console manufacturer before they can be sold for the platform. Publishers selling games in retail stores had to pay a fee per game to the console manufacturer, ranging from $7 to $12 per unit. The process just to become a certified developer can take months, and games can spend weeks or months being approved.
    Recently, with the advent of digital distribution on consoles, this has changed somewhat for downloadable games. Developers don't have to jump through quite the same hoops, though there's still an approval process that can take weeks or months to get through, with no assurance of approval. The rules for indie games are even looser on Xbox Live Arcade but there are still plenty of restrictions. Sony and Nintendo have numerous hoops to jump through as well.
    The experience of Fez is instructive. “Every developer gets to release one patch for free as part of their inclusion on XBLA, but subsequent patches are expensive - certification costs tens of thousands of dollars,” Rob Fahey pointed out in an article on Fez's troubles. The difficult and sheer expense of Microsoft's process meant developer Polytron felt it necessary to skip putting out a patch for Fez, which was corrupting save games for a number of users. Microsoft's process encouraged a poorer game experience for consumers.
    "Part of the success of mobile, social, and online games has to be attributed to the freewheeling environment, where developers are free to choose the business model, implement any sort of design, and make changes or add new content as often as they like"

    Meanwhile, mobile games go through a minimal process and wait perhaps a few days to appear in the store. Developers can post changes and new content as often as they wish with no restrictions. Charge any price you like, or none at all. There are some restrictions, but most developers easily avoid problems in getting games ...
    by Published on November 14th, 2012 22:47
    1. Categories:
    2. Raspberry Pi
    Article Preview

    Since he’s got several Raspberry Pi boards on hand [Eric Erfanian] decided to see what he could pull off using the robust networking tools present in every Linux installation. His four-part series takes you from loading an image on the SD cards tobuilding a mesh network from RPi boards and WiFi dongles. He didn’t include a list of links to each article in his post. If you’re interested in all four parts we’ve listed them after the break.
    He says that getting the mesh network up and running is easiest if none of the boards are using an Ethernet connection. He used the Babel package to handle the adhoc routing since no device is really in charge of the network. Each of the boards has a unique IP manually assigned to it before joining. All of this work is done in part 3 of the guide. The link above takes you to part 4 in which [Eric] adds an Internet bridge using one of the RPi boards which shares the connection with the rest of the mesh network.
    If the power of this type of networking is of interest you should check out this home automation system that takes advantage of it.

    http://hackaday.com/2012/11/14/mesh-...rry-pi-boards/ ...
    by Published on November 14th, 2012 22:43
    1. Categories:
    2. Xbox 360 News

    The narrative for this Q4 has already been written to some extent, but the industry’s big triple-A’s are looking to prove it wrong.
    Both the UK and US markets are significantly down year-on-year and the belief that the market has peaked and consoles are losing popularity is becoming increasingly commonplace.
    A host of big titles throughout the quarter have sold is far fewer numbers than we would have hoped, with notable exceptions like FIFA 13 and Borderlands 2 providing the few highlights.
    We already know that Halo 4 failed to match the week one UK sales numbers of both Halo 3 and Halo Reach. If Black Ops II has managed to break records we’ll likely hear about it today or tomorrow, though some think there's a chance this won't happen.
    But hope lingers.
    Amazon revealed last night that Black Ops 2 has broken its internal records to become the most pre-ordered game ever.
    And now Microsoft reckons that halo 4 is on track to amass $300m in its first week and inch above Halo 3 to become the biggest launch in the series’ history. The game already made $220m in its first 24 hours, smashing any comparable Hollywood records.

    by Published on November 14th, 2012 13:50
    1. Categories:
    2. PS3 News

    Consumers who use the new PS3 lv0 bootloader key to play games illegally online are being banned from PSN.
    “Unauthorised software for the PlayStation 3 system was recently released by hackers,” a Sony statement reads. “Use of such software violates the terms of the ‘System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System’ and the ‘Terms of Services and User Agreement’ for the PlayStation Network/Sony Entertainment Network and its Community Code of Conduct provisions.
    “Violation of the System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation 3 system invalidates the consumer's right to access that system. Consumers running unauthorised or pirated software may have their access to the PlayStation Network and access to Sony Entertainment Network services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.
    “To avoid permanent termination, consumers must immediately cease using and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems.
    “In order to help provide a safe, fair, online environment, consumers who we believe violate ‘Terms of Services and User Agreement’ for the PlayStation Network/Sony Entertainment Network or the applicable laws or regulations of their country or region risk having access to the PlayStation Network and access to Sony Entertainment Network services terminated permanently.”
    How effective the move will be remains open to debate, considering that hackers now reportedly have access to the complete dataset the PS3 uses to identify itself on PSN servers.
    It’s also worth noting that it was Sony’s attempt to restrict owners from freely using their console that started this all off in the first place – hacker George Hotz argued that Sony had no right to remove Linux functionality from the console and that he and others should be free to sue the hardware they own as they please.

    by Published on November 14th, 2012 00:32
    1. Categories:
    2. Wii U News

    There's something immediately striking about Nintendo's Wii U proprietary disc format that's hard to notice in photos -- it's got rounded edges, both outside and in. It feels different than any other disc we've handled before; Tim swears he's seen a round-edged disc in the wild, but we've never seen such a thing ourselves. It's as if the folks at Nintendo took sandpaper to every edge of every disc, making them all the more friendly to the touch. It's a little detail, but it's a nice one.As we learned when the console was initially announced, the Wii U's "proprietary high-density optical discs" hold up to 25GB of data -- equivalent with that of Sony's single-layer Blu-ray format on the PlayStation 3, and much larger than the Xbox 360's dual-layer DVD format. Of course, all logic and statistics aside, having now handled a round-edged disc, we never wanna go back. http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/12/n...prietary-disc/ ...
    by Published on November 14th, 2012 00:24
    1. Categories:
    2. Xbox 360 News
    Article Preview

    Microsoft's offering a hearty thank you to some of its longest running Xbox Live members with the handsome limited edition Xbox 360 seen above -- totally gratis -- celebrating this month's 10 year Xbox Live anniversary. Director of Xbox programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb posted an image of the box to his Twitter account this evening along with a tease that Redmond's hooking up more than just old-school XBLers. "I'll have details on how you can win one for yourself later this week," he noted. One lucky Kotaku reader already got their hands on the limited edition 360, which appears to be a Slim model -- it's unclear how much HDD space it comes equipped with. Hopefully it's more than enough to handle the 10 years of downloadable content it'll soon be holding.