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Updated: 7 hours 37 min ago

PS4 maintained narrow sales lead in February, but Xbox One pulled in more money

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 7:25am

There was no changing of the guard in the United States last month as new video game consoles from Sony and Microsoft continued to battle for top billing. The race in February was so tight, however, that the pricier Xbox One actually managed to pull ahead of the more popular PlayStation 4 in dollar sales. Market research firm NPD Group on Thursday night released its numbers for February video game sales, showing once again that software sales continued to slide despite the recent debuts of the Xbox One and PS4. According to the firm, retail sales of new video games came in at $328 million in February, down 11% on-year. Strong hardware sales picked up the slack, however, as continued demand for

Microsoft scraps two-year Xbox contract plans

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 7:15pm

For a while, Microsoft experimented with selling its Xbox consoles the same way many mobile carriers sell smartphones: By offering them at a discount in exchange for signing a two-year service agreement for the Xbox Live Gold online subscription service. The Wall Street Journal reports, however, that Microsoft has quietly killed off its two-year Xbox contract plans for the Xbox 360 and has no plans to ever try them out with the Xbox One. Microsoft spokesperson David Dennis told the Journal that “this program was intended to be a pilot experiment from the start, and Microsoft routinely adjusts the mix of offers available to its customers and this change was simply standard business practice.” Under Microsoft’s original scheme, gamers could pay

Are Video Game Movies the Most Hated Movie Sub-Genre?

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 5:31pm

It's a universal truth that movies based on video games suck. Need for Speed, starring a post-Breaking Bad Aaron Paul and hitting theaters this weekend, will likely continue the tradition, as it sits with a 24 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This isn't surprising news. But it makes us wonder: are video game films the most maligned movie sub-genre? Since Super Mario Bros. kicked things off in 1993, there have been 27 major films released based on video game titles. None received a score above 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and many were below 20 (Final Fantasy led the pack with 44 percent).

Xbox owners are deserting Microsoft consoles for the PlayStation 4

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 1:45pm

We already know that the PlayStation 4 has taken a strong lead in the early goings of the latest console generation, but where are those millions of customers coming from? According to DealNews, one of the key factors to Sony’s success has been converting the “swing gamers” — Xbox owners who have decided to ditch the Microsoft brand for PlayStation this generation. A survey of 1,727 readers revealed that 35% of gamers who owned both the Xbox 360 and PS3 have opted to purchase a PlayStation 4 while only 23% bought an Xbox One. Brand loyalty was a major selling point for gamers who only owned one last-gen console, but “dual owners” are skewed in Sony’s direction, primarily because of

Angry Birds becomes a medieval RPG in 'Epic' version

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 11:36am

A new game is about to join the Angry Birds universe. A far cry from the simple bird-slinging action of the original game, "Angry Birds Epic" will be a complex turn-based RPG (role playing game). The new title confirms the trend towards diversification first seen last fall with the release of "Angry Birds Go!," a racing game.

Xbox player passes 1 million Gamerscore

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:39am

Ray Cox, better known as Stallion83, became the first person to attain a 1 million Gamerscore on Microsoft's Xbox Live while playing new release "Titanfall" in the early hours of March 13, 2014. The achievements system, introduced by Microsoft in 2006 alongside its then brand-new Xbox 360 console, grant players points of various amounts when they complete a diversity of in-game tasks.

After the Zynga flop, all eyes on King's coming-out party

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 7:02am

By Malathi Nayak and Gerry Shih SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - King Digital Entertainment Plc struck gold with "Candy Crush Saga," the runaway hit that made its way onto hundreds of millions of smartphones and spawned a $1.5 billion franchise. Now, the rest of the smartphone game industry is waiting to see if King can pull off a coup in the public markets - and perhaps spur a mobile gaming IPO rush in the process. London-based King is seeking a valuation up to $7.6 billion when it lists on the New York Stock Exchange on March 26. The offering would mark the largest U.S. IPO from a booming mobile gaming industry that has been keen to emerge from the shadow of Zynga Inc, the social gaming firm that lost half its value after a 2011 IPO that valued it at $7 billion.

Microsoft Quietly Pulls Xbox Two-Year Contract Plans

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 11:31pm
Microsoft Corp. has quietly stopped selling its last-generation videogame machines at a lower price with a monthly service contract, a model borrowed from the cellphone industry. The Redmond, Wash., company nearly two years ago started giving people the option of a paying $99 upfront for a Xbox 360 console and a related motion sensor—about $200 less than the typical cost at the time—if they agreed to pay $14.99 a month over two years for Xbox's online service. Microsoft drew a lot of attention when it introduced the program, which emulates the subsidized prices U.S. wireless carriers offer on pricey smartphones for buyers who agree to a service contract. The subsidy model was not applied to Microsoft's new Xbox One, which was introduced in November. Bloomberg Microsoft's experience points to the difficulties of changing people's hardware-buying habits.

Google grabs Green Throttle video game talent

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 2:05pm

Google on Wednesday confirmed that video game gear gurus from startup Green Throttle have joined its team, fueling talk of plans for an Android-powered game system. The Internet titan did not disclose details regarding the deal under which co-founders Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend and other members of the Green Throttle team are putting their skills to work for Google. Another co-founder, Charles Huang, continues to run California-based Green Throttle, according to Google.

Upcoming video games: 'Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes,' 'Infamous: Second Son'

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:20pm

Sneak around Hideo Kojima's Cuban prologue to "Metal Gear Solid V," tear up Seattle as the superhero (or supervillain) of "Infamous: Second Son," or engage enemy pilots in retro remix "Luftrausers."

Surprise: Xbox Live crashes amid Titanfall launch

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 8:10am

Titanfall is one of the year’s most anticipated games and it’s been getting rave reviews so far that say it’s lived up to the hype. However, the launch of Titanfall coincided with the crash on Xbox Live for many users, a fact that Microsoft Xbox Live programming director Larry Hryb acknowledged on his Twitter feed on Tuesday evening. Specifically, Hryb said that Microsoft was working to fix issues that were preventing many gamers from signing into Xbox Live although he insisted that “this is not a Titanfall issue.” If the problems Xbox Live experienced Tuesday were unrelated to Titanfall, then that’s a pretty big coincidence: The game was widely expected to push Xbox Live to its limits since it’s an incredibly popular

Video: What if True Detective was an 8-bit video game?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:00pm

Now that the first season of True Detective has ended, we’re all anxiously awaiting season 2. Which sleuthing duo will replace Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson? Has the story of the Yellow King truly ended? Will Rustin Cohle ever shave that awful mustache? It’ll be months before we have the answers to any of these questions, but for now, at least we have some very creative fans to take our minds off the extended departure of HBO’s best new series. In this video, YouTuber CREWgaming has “gamified” True Detective, shrinking Rust and Marty down to 8-bit (or so) proportions. It’s a fun distraction, but nevertheless contains plenty of harsh language and a few spoilers. You have been warned.

'999: The Novel' reworks hit Nintendo game as iOS narrative

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:32am

Adapting an acclaimed Nintendo DS game is "999: The Novel," which turns a 2010 hit into a multi-threaded interactive story.

Microsoft hopes 'Titanfall' can boost Xbox One

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 4:39am

Tech titan Microsoft -- which has struggled to keep pace with Sony and its PlayStation 4 -- is pinning its hopes on a new action video game, ironically named "Titanfall." The highly anticipated game for the new generation Xbox One console lands this week in a major global release, with Microsoft is betting it will keep the company in the forefront of the battle for the living room and home entertainment. "The challenge is finding the 'killer game,'" says Avi Greengart of research firm Current Analysis. "Titanfall appears to be the first must-have, first-person mutliplayer game that takes real advantage of the Xbox One's additional horsepower."

Microsoft counts on shooter game 'Titanfall' to fire up Xbox One sales

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 11:13pm

By Malathi Nayak SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp is betting on making sci-fi combat game "Titanfall" a hit big enough to boost sales of its Xbox One videogame device, helping it catch up in terms of sales with rival Sony Corp's PlayStation 4 console. Retailers are gearing up to get in on the buzz that has built up around the release of the game, one of the most anticipated new products for the latest version of the Xbox, by hosting over 6,000 midnight launch events worldwide. On sale from Tuesday exclusively for the Xbox One and personal computers, the $60 game allows players to go toe-to-toe as soldiers, or take control of giant robots in a war-torn urban setting. "We're making a big bet that 'Titanfall' is going to be a blockbuster launch for Xbox," Yusuf Mehdi, head of marketing and strategy for Microsoft's Xbox group, said in an email interview.

The launch of ‘Titanfall’ will push the Xbox One to its limits

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 3:18pm

Titanfall is more than just a potential sales boost for the Xbox One, it’s also the first real test of the digital infrastructure that runs Microsoft’s new console. If everything goes accordingly, Titanfall will be available for digital download on Xbox Live tonight at midnight in the United States alongside launch events for physical retail copies at participating stores. As Forbes contributor Paul Tassi notes, this is the first major game release since the console’s launch, so Xbox One owners are anxiously awaiting the moment the download goes live to see if Microsoft is prepared for the massive influx of downloads. Even if the Xbox One can make it through tonight unscathed, there’s the matter of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform

Sony could unveil its secret weapon against Xbox One next week

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 3:03pm

Sony has already built up a consistent lead over Microsoft in the latest generation of the console wars and it may soon unveil a key new feature that could help maintain that lead indefinitely. IGN reports that Sony will host a panel at the Game Developers Conference on March 18th that will discuss “innovation at PlayStation” and the “future of gaming.” While this is a very vague teaser, IGN says that it could be a hint that Sony finally plans to make a formal announcement about a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation that will go head-to-head with VR headset Oculus Rift. IGN notes that two of the panel’s speakers — Sony senior director Richard Marks and Sony senior software engineer

Insider: Microsoft can’t and won’t sell Xbox One without Kinect in the near future

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 1:31pm

It’s still way too early in this console generation to tell how things are going to turn out, but by all accounts both Microsoft and Sony are enjoying solid early sales of their new video game consoles. Sony’s PlayStation 4 took a quick lead with sales totaling 6 million units through the beginning of March, but Microsoft sold 3 million Xbox One consoles in 2013 and a recent report also suggests that anticipation of Titanfall’s upcoming release added at least another 1 million units to the company’s running total. On what might be something of a negative note for Xbox fans, however, the same source who reported that Xbox One sales have skyrocketed thanks to Titanfall also claims that Microsoft has

Insider claims Titanfall has already helped sell 1 million Xbox One consoles

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 10:30am

Electronic Arts’ hotly anticipated game “Titanfall” hasn’t even been released yet, but one insider claims it has already helped Microsoft sell approximately 1 million additional Xbox One consoles. In the early days of this generation’s “console war,” Sony’s popular PlayStation 4 has taken an early lead. At last count, Sony had sold 6 million PS4 consoles globally as of early March. Meanwhile, the last official number we got from Microsoft was 3 million Xbox One consoles sold worldwide through the end of 2013. Some believe Microsoft’s silence speaks volumes, but a new report suggests Xbox One unit sales have ballooned dramatically thanks to the highly anticipated upcoming release of Titanfall. PlayStation news blog DualShockers directs us to a recent post

Saving planet goes from video game to real-world craze

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 5:56am

It is the peak of the Cold War, a secret agent has launched nuclear weapons and a small team of sleuths has one hour to prevent the end of the world. "Escape Room" -- the real-life adaptation of a classic 1980s video game -- is a new craze popping up around the world. "This is a complex game that requires ability, intelligence, education and team work, much more than the online version," said Boban Melkus, a 36-year-old high school teacher who set up the game in Novi Sad. Melkus and his wife Nina began offering the game in December in a rented apartment.