Netflix Coming To Wii

Netflix streaming video is coming to Nintendo Wii, reports NY Times. Owners of Nintendo’s console with a broadband connection will be able access the service this spring. NY Times calls it a hat trick for Netflix, with the service now available on all three current generation game systems including Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. Netflix videos on Wii will only be available in standard definition, given the console hardware s inability to process HD video. The console will also require a disc provided for free by Netflix to access and stream online content, a requirement similar to how PS3 delivers the service.  Netflix chief Reed Hastings said that the delay in getting its service on Wii had to do with overcoming technical challenges and adapting the service to the console s user interface.  NY Times adds insight to the news from Mark Mahaney, a managing director at Citigroup. The analyst told the news outlet that the move represents game console makers facing a challenging environment for packaged $60 games, adding that the general sentiment is that they better quickly hurry to add more functionality and features.

 

Read more at NY Times.

Report: Consoles Poised To Leverage Online Gaming Growth

A research report from Screen Digest has predicted the online game category to grow by a third from last year to make up 24 percent of the game market in 2010, reports Gamesindustry.biz. The report partly credits last year’s rise in popularity of games for social media and mobile platforms for fueling the appetite for connected gaming. But it predicts that networked game consoles are best positioned as the online game platform of choice, given their sizable install base, prominence in gamers living room, and hardware suited for storing and processing premium online content. Screen Digest s report also predicts that more than 65 million game consoles will be online by the end of 2010, breaking it down as 25 million Wii systems and about 20 million each for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The firm’s game analyst Piers Harding-Rolls pointed to the introduction of motion controllers for consoles by Sony and Microsoft as necessary innovations to compete both with Nintendo as well as non-console platforms vying for gamers attention. Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

More Console Price Cuts Coming, Says Analyst

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has released a research note in which he predicts price cuts this year for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, reports Edge-Online. Pachter said the PS3 will slightly outperform Xbox 360 once sales figures are released for December 2009, mainly driven by Sony s holiday advertising. He predicted both systems will see price cuts by summer of this year, with Microsoft possibly lowering the price of Xbox 360 earlier. He added that, at minimum, he expects a hardware upgrade such as a 250 GB hard drive for Xbox 360. Pachter also predicted a decline for Nintendo s handheld DS system in the US beginning with its December sales performance and persisting through the year.

 

Read more at Edge-Online.

Suitably Framing A Classic

Atlus and SNK Playmore’s trailer for Metal Slug XX shows how an old school arcade game remade for PSP probably looks better framed.  Blow up what looks to be a pixel-perfect remake to full-screen and all videophilia viewers are bound to notice are jaggy sprites and blocky animation. As it is, if the trailer was meant to evoke the nostalgia of  watching the game cycle through demo mode in a Neo-Geo arcade cabinet, it nailed it.

 

Watch it at Joystiq.

Standout Curves

Honda debuts its new car model Cross Tour in a TV spot with a nifty retro-CG art style. Is the point to make the car’s distinct curves stand out among a jagged landscape. If feels like it.

 

Watch it at Brand Republic.

Microsoft Talks Xbox, Devices

Financial Post is featuring an interview from the Consumer Electronics Show with Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division. The interview covers Bach’s outlook on Xbox 360 and the potential for the console’s upcoming motion controller Natal. Bach also touches on other products from his division including Zune and Windows Mobile.

 

Read the interview from Financial Post.

Brands Look To Break Into Social Gaming

Writing for Adweek, Brian Morrissey looks at how brands are trying to find ways to take tap into the booming social game market. Morrissey says while the category counts its successes based on huge numbers of users and growing virtual goods revenues, game makers and marketers are still trying to figure out an ad model that takes advantage of the surging sector.

 

 

EA Pessimistic On 2010

EA has said an anticipated decline in game sales at retail will be a drag on revenues next year, marking a pessimistic outlook for its 2010 fiscal year ending March 2011. As reported in Venture Beat, the announcement made on the publisher s third quarter 2009 earnings conference call surprised analysts. EA cited lower than expected sales during the quarter spanning the holiday season based on poor performance for its titles in Europe and lower margin sales in North America. It said it expects poor retail performance to continue next year, with not only sell-through of current titles but also preorders for upcoming games below expectations. The publisher said sales from digital distribution and online games were up, but not enough to offset the decline at retail and specifically the sales shortfall in Europe. EA chief John Riccitiello called the shift to digital distribution fast and dynamic but said it is taking a conservative view of the sector. But he added that EA is planning to introduce a massively multiplayer online game in spring 2011 that should significantly impact its earnings. The publisher said big titles in its fiscal year 2010 include a Sims console title, Dead Space 2 and FIFA World Cup. It also looked ahead to 2011 in highlighting planned sequels in the Medal of Honor and Need For Speed franchises. Read more at Venture Beat.

Survey Finds Few Console Gamers Buy DLC

A survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates has found that few console gamers have purchased downloadable content, while nearly half are unaware that it exists. As reported by IGN, the research firm surveyed 800 people it identified as console gamers and found that only fifteen percent have purchased DLC. It also found 43 percent did not know that their consoles offered additional content through digital distribution.  The firm s president Mike Vorhaus told IGN that the those who aren t aware of DLC are usually playing consoles that don t promote it, pointing specifically to owners of Nintendo Wii and Sony s legacy system PlayStation 2. Read more at IGN.

EA Waxing Poetic For ‘Dante’s Inferno’

EA has partnered with Random House to promote Dante’s Inferno with a special edition of the literary classic that inspired the game. As reported in DigitalTrends, EA is working with the book publisher’s Del Ray Books subsidiary on a paperback edition of Dante’s Inferno.   Inferno is the first act in the Italian author s epic poem The Divine Comedy following the protagonist’s descent into hell, the same premise for EA’s game. DigitalTrends says the special edition reissue of the poem will include a forward by Jonathan Knight, executive producer of Dante’s Inferno at developer Visceral Games.