Sony PlayStation 3 Costs Reduced 70%

Sony’s PlayStation 3 used to cost Sony over $800 to make, leading to a loss on each unit sold.

Video games is a razor (console) and blades (software) business so Sony was willing to take that loss on the initial launch, but recently Sony has said it s made significant strides in reducing the cost of PS3 so now they’re making about a $140 profit on each $400 unit they sell.

From TVG: {link no longer active}

The cost reduction since we introduced the PS3 is very substantial and this is on schedule, Oneda-san replied when asked about manufacturing costs.  We don’t disclose how much of the PS3, specifically the cost deduction was achieved during the past two years.  But that is on schedule.

About 70 percent, roughly speaking, Oneda-san added when pressed further on the matter.

Unfortunately for Sony, PS3 is still being outsold by the nearly-ten year old PlayStation 2, so isn’t it time for Sony to put that profit towards a price cut and move some additional units before it loses any footing it ever had in the industry

Yes, it’s that bad.  Price cut by September, please.

Valve Responds To Racism Claims

A recent Houston Chronicle blog post accused Valve of being insensitive in setting their newest zombie game, Left 4 Dead 2, in the city of New Orleans.

Set in New Orleans, players will have to fight their way through hordes of zombies – with several of them who appear to be African-Americans. When I saw the first trailer for the game, all I could think about was Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. Setting the game in a city that was scene of dead, bloated bodies floating by so soon afterward was a bad call, IMHO. The city has had enough to deal with — Valve, you should have spared them, even if it’s just a video game.

Valve recently had a chance to respond in an interview with game blog Destructoid:

“Utter insanity,” said [Left 4 Dead writer Chet] Faliszek. “There are mixed races of zombies, there are all different races of zombies that you shoot, and since we placed it in New Orleans, that makes it racist I honestly re-read the paragraph about five times … but when two of the characters in your game are African-American, it’s a weird thing to be accused of. We’re like, ‘how does this work’

“As far as Katrina goes, if you go down to New Orleans, Katrina’s still going on. I mean, it’s messed up, it is crazy that the city is still in the state it’s in, and we treat that with the utmost respect,” he added. “Our CEDA thing is not some subversive commentary on anything. This is a videogame, those are real people’s lives, we are not trying to make a statement with that. It’s a place we love, it’s dear to our hearts. We would not cheapen it. It’s not a brick-for-brick representation of New Orleans; it’s a fictional version, and I love that city.”

We’d like to extend the offer of a free beer for both the Houston Chronicle write and the Left 4 Dead writer to hash out our differences and maybe even play a few games.

Our stance?   Let s just say, if a zombie’s coming after me, I’m probably not going to care what race he is while he’s noshing on my foot.

I think we can all come together, all races and creeds, in agreeing on that immutable fact.

Gamestop Goes Casual

Gamestop recently unveiled a new casual games section, kicking off the new push with over thirty games marked down by 50 percent off their regular price.

Casual games have been increasing in popularity and profitability over the past few years, and this explosive growth, coupled with stagnation in video game sales, paved the way for Gamestop’s expansion.

“As the leading video game and entertainment software retailer, we continuously look for ways to bring our passion for gaming to the customer visiting us online,” said Tony Bartel, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing.

The Gamestop destination also features an editorial blog named The Casual Lounge, and trials of several hundred games.  After seeing Nintendo s and Sonys depressing numbers from earlier this week, we don t blame em.

[Gamestop Casual]

Xbox Avatars Are Now Rock Stars

Guitar Hero 5 has been making the rounds lately, with everything from a nudity-heavy viral video to Bill O’Reilly bemoaning said video.

Now Activision is lightening the mood with their latest trailer, showing how Xbox 360 avatars are going to be the star of the show in the newest Guitar Hero game.

As more publishers integrate their games with centralized experiences like avatars, we see a market developing even more for these kinds of microtransactions or branding opportunities.

How long before we see a Pepsi shirt on your lead singer, or the band arrive in a VW Routan?   The more players are accustomed to identifying themselves personally in their gaming, the easier it’ll be for advertisers to get their buy in when it comes to virtual goods like this.

{link no longer active}

Colbert To Black Eyed Peas: More Ads, Please

Last night on Comedy Centra’s The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert took a look at the latest music video by the Black Eyed Peas and was stunned to see only four product placements.

You missed so many advertunities, mocked Colbert, who highlighted product placements for MAC Cosmetics, HP netbooks, the T-Mobile sidekick, and (what Ad Age points out is probably) a Target logo.

The funny thing is that the latter probably was an actual placement in this video, as the Peas have a deal with Target to cross-promote a special edition of their new album, and, as many probably noticed, this song appears in an ad they did for the retailer.

Watch the video and see what Colbert thinks were missed opportunities for Tollhouse cookies and Sherwin-Williams paints.

{link no longer active}

The Seven Personalities On Facebook

Every year there s a different Internet phenomenon, whether it be YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, so it can be hard to keep up.

Ad Age has a nice column taking a look at Facebook and breaking down the different users that make up the popular social network.  If you feel the need to get a better understanding of who uses this stuff, they pick out seven types of people who are updating their status updates right now.

A sample from Ad Age: {link no longer active}

The Drinker/Eater. We know our food and alcohol supply will forever be in danger with this group at the grill/restaurant/bar. The margaritas at the Concord are unreal! Grilling mahi mahi for the Ms. Half price Peroni at the Princeton (never). Marketer angle: If you’re selling anything that can be ingested, fire away. It just better be good or prepare for your dish to be dissed.

Other personality types include the BraggaBROcious ( Can’t believe I’m hanging with Jay-Z — he’s taller in person! ) and the Honored Parent ( Timmy scored 2 goals! ).

Definitely worth a read if you re targeting the Facebook crowd, though we don t see the Corporate RSS Re-Reader here…

The Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality

From AdWeek: {link no longer active}

In essence, [Augmented Reality, or AR] holds the promise of marrying the digital and physical worlds by taking complex data and overlaying it with views of the real world via Webcam technology and multiple screens.

“The last thing I can [recall] getting this much hype is Second Life,” said Matt Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara, a Los Angeles-area digital agency. “But I think there will be more practical uses to this.”

Did you know video games are already ahead of the game in bringing AR into living rooms   Several games like Sony’s EyePet and Microsoft’s Project Natal games aim to bring users into the game, from their face to their movements and more.

These games also want to use everyone s living rooms as part of the game space.  So are we going to see some innovative ways to have sponsors take advantage of this new technology

What about having virtual products placed in people s living rooms, maybe as bonus items that users have to grab to affect the game.  Or how about the ability for a user who, say, is drinking Diet Coke, to have that can recognized by the game and used to unlock special game content

The possibilities can really open up here, and we re looking forward to creative solutions to this.  To show you how far ahead video games are in this field, take a look at this Engadget demonstration of the PlayStation 3 game, EyePet, due out later this year.

{link no longer active}

NBC’s Ctrl Experiment

If you haven’t yet see NBC s web-only show, Ctrl, you may want to carve out a few minutes to watch it.

The show stars Tony Hale, best known as the dimwitted brother in the cult-sensation Arrested Development, and is NBC’s experiment in developing shows just for the web, and without the need for constant commercial breaks.

What they do have plenty of is Nestea, as the drink is featured heavily during pivotal scenes and usually in frame with the show’s action.

From JournalNow: {link no longer active}

In this instance, as in other product-integration schemes, the brand is betting that viewers reject a commercial break for “a word from our sponsor,” but are fine with humorous content that mentions the brand more slyly. Give us our comedy, and you can slip the product name in as you like.

We ve embedded the first webisode below, just a few minutes long.  Microsoft is already experimenting with short form shows in the form of 1 vs. 100 on Xbox Live, complete with integrated marketing with sponsors like Sprint and Honda.

{link no longer active}

Video Of The Day: Why Everything Sucks

Today’s video of the day deals with everything, and why everything sucks.

If you’re tired of the focus and attention given to today’s youth market, this is just the medicine you need.

{link no longer active}