Kinect Priced At $149.99 By Retailers

Microsoft is avoiding all mention of the price for Kinect. But that hasn’t stopped online retailers from giving out their own estimates for pre-orders.

Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy are all pricing Kinect at $149.99. While not official in any way, it’s a good baseline for what these retailers expect the device to be priced at when it launches later in 2010.

Source: Kotaku

New Droid Phones Coming June 23

June 23 will be the official launch date for the next generation of Droid phones. It will be a big deal not just for Verizon and Motorola but also for Adobe, which is launching Flash Player 10.1 for mobile phones.

A couple of phones have emerged that might be the successor to the Droid lineage. One such camera, dubbed the Droid X, has a 1-GHz processor, an HDMI out port, a touchscreen, and 8GB of internal storage.

Another potential device is the Droid 2. This phone is simply an upgrade to the already existing Droid, with a faster processor, the Android 2.1 operating system, and a new keyboard.

Source: MSNBC

Barton Comment Highlighted On Facebook

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas recently issued a personal apology to BP over the $20 billion they agreed to set aside for Gulf oil spill damage claims after pressure from the White House. His comments drew immediate criticism, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is looking to use the situation in a unique way.

Entering in “Barton” on Facebook one can see an ad which pops up and says, “Stop Apologizing to BP!” with Rep. Joe Bartons face on it. They are hoping to generate 20 million ad views, increased visability for the remarks and maybe some campaign contribution dollars.

“The DCCC will hold these out-of-touch House Republicans accountable who have no shame when it comes to jumping to the defense of BP and Big Oil,” said Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the DCCC.

Source: MSNBC {link no longer active}

Gaming Market Exceeds $15 Billion, Says NPD

The NPD recorded the total of new game purchases at retail to be $10.5 billion in 2009. Adding in other money spent, like rentals, subscriptions, DLC and used game purchases puts in another $4.5 to $4.75 billion.

“Our expanded estimate of consumer spending reflects the growing number of options to purchase, acquire and interact with video games ranging from GameFly rentals to iPod Touch game apps,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Consumer spending on social network games like those offered by Facebook would push this estimate even higher.”

NPD’s total covers all retail game purchases with the exception of social network games. The total spent on these games shows the continued viability of the traditional gaming market.

“Tracking and reporting consumer demand for gaming in all its forms is a step toward reflecting the full breadth and depth of the Games industry, The NPD Group is excited to provide an expanded view into U.S. video game content sales through our recently launched Games Acquisition Monitor and other consumer-based tracking services,” said Dave McQuillan, President/Games Division, The NPD Group.

Nintendo Does Not See ‘Immediate Need To Replace The Wii Console’

Sales of the PS3 have been on the rise since the launch of the slim model, while the Wii has comparatively seen its sales go down in the past 12 months. When asked about this trend, Nintendo of America president was Reggie Fils-Aime was dismissive.

“It is easy to talk about growth when you are working off of a very low base,” said Fils-Aime. “The fact is that when you look at the absolute number for units sold, it is clear that the pace is dramatically better than either of our competitors. The absolute level of sales has been widening in our favor.”

When asked about a replacement for the Wii, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata responded. “I do not think that there is an immediate need to replace the Wii console. But of course, at some point in the future, the need will arise,” Iwata said through a translator. “We currently do not have an answer as to what point in the future that need will come.”

Source: Reuters

iPhone 4 Delayed Until July 14

Apple recently announced that they were no longer taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4 due to heavy demand. More subtly, the company revealed that the whole launch of the iPhone 4 has been pushed back; once scheduled for June 24, the iPhone 4 has slipped back to a July 14 release.

Sam Diaz of ZDNet notes that any other company would be roasted if this happened. “Consumers would be up-in-arms, demanding refunds, storming out of stores and swearing to not come back until these companies can get their acts together,” writes Diaz. “But this is Apple – and that means that the truly faithful will 1) keep trying, no matter the obstacles thrown at them and 2) forgive the shortcomings the moment they get a confirmation saying the order was successful. And the beauty of it is that this can pretty much happen without the PR team in Cupertino even having to think for a minute about ‘spin control.'”

Source: CBS News

ESA Survey Shows Diversity Of Gamers

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently released results from a new study. Part of the annual Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, the findings say that two thirds of American homes have someone who plays games, and 62 percent of players say they play with someone else at least one hour a week; 48 percent of parents also report playing with their children at least once a week.

“Computer and video games are now available to consumers on every screen from smart phones to computers to flat screen televisions. This enables millions of Americans enjoy the immersive storytelling, incredible graphics, and compelling plot lines,” said ESA CEO Michael D. Gallagher. “These works of art are a fun and engaging way to bring people together, especially families who are playing video games together now more than ever.”

Parents with children under 18 years old say they are present with game purchases and rentals 93 percent of the time and have to give permission before game purchases and rentals 86 percent of the time. Parents surveyed said they monitor the games their children play 97 percent of the time.

Other statistics provided say that the average game player is 34 years old and the average game buyer is 40 years old, while 40 percent of game players are female. 48 percent of games are rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, 64 percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives and 76 percent think that parental controls available in video game consoles are useful.

Adobe Criticizes Apple Mac Update

Apple recently released a patch for their Snow Leopard OS, correcting 28 vulnerabilities including two in Adobe’s Flash Player. In the ongoing tit-for-tat going on between the two companies, Adobe said that Apple’s updates were redundant.

“10.6.4 update for Mac OS X includes Flash Player, but not the latest version,” said Brad Arkin, Adobe’s director of security and privacy.

Apple, which handles distribution for Flash on Mac, shipped Flash Player with Mac OS X 10.6.4. It is not, however, the latest version of the Flash software; version released in June.

Source: Computer World

Homefront Promotion Includes Marching Soldiers, Barricades

As part of a promotion for the just-announced shooter Homefront, THQ hired a bunch of actors to portray North Korean soldiers and march through the streets of Los Angeles. They also rented out a parking lot and set up barricades plastered with dozens of flags declaring the land property of the North Korean Federation. But don’t take our word for it, just watch the video below:

{video links marked “private”}