The 8 GB Wii U Basic Bundle Rumored To Leave GameStop

The Basic Wii U bundle is slated to be pulled from sale at GameStop, according to Kotaku’s reporting. Apparently GameStop stores were given the following message from corporate headquarters:

“Nintendo Wii U Basic Recall – Two Week Preparation On Tuesday, 6/18, all stories will need to return all new/unopened Wii U Basic (020359)… Stores that have 10 or more in stock will receive shipping cartons from the [distribution center]… All other stores will need to save shipping cartons for this recall.”

There’s been no official comment on this matter from either Nintendo or GameStop. While it could conceivably be a product recall, it’s more likely that Nintendo is planning on dropping the 8 GB version of the Wii U. Reports from various retailers have had the 32 GB Deluxe set strongly outselling the Basic set. It would make sense for Nintendo to drop this poor-selling SKU, and perhaps drop the price of the 32 GB Wii U to $299 prior to the arrival of the PS4 and the Xbox One.

We will probably find out more about this next week at E3, as Nintendo unveils its plans for the Wii U for the rest of the year.

Source: Kotaku

Developers: Sell An Android Controller, Get A Commission

Green Throttle Games, creators of the Atlas Bluetooth Controller and publisher of mobile games, announced today an Affiliate Program for mobile game developers. Game companies may now enter into a revenue share agreement with Green Throttle by selling the Atlas Controller directly through their mobile games. The first 100 developers to join the program will receive a 20 percent commission paid for each controller sold, with a 10 percent starting commission for any subsequent developers who join the program. Mobile game developers interested in learning more about the Green Throttle Affiliate Program can do so now here.

“While we continue to drive the games industry towards convergence of mobile and console play, we’ll be creating new ways for developers to engage with our platform,” said Charles Huang, CEO and co-founder, Green Throttle Games. “The Affiliate Program is a showcase of this effort, offering developers new ways to monetize in an incredibly competitive market. As an alternative to advertising and in-app purchases, we hope that this program will generate healthy returns for our development partners.”

Earlier this year, Green Throttle Games launched the Atlas Bluetooth Controller, expanding video games from the Android devices we already own to the living room big-screen for a more social and console-like experience. The company also supports game discovery with the Arena app, which facilitates simple pairing of up to four Atlas Bluetooth controllers to a single Android 4.0+ device for compatible multiplayer games. Green Throttle and the Arena provides new avenues for developers to get their games featured and acquire users, all without giving up any cut of the sales revenue.

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – June 5

[a]list daily is now your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media. Check here every Wednesday for the latest openings. To see last week’s [a]list jobs click here.

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

Employee’s Licking Lust For Taco Bell Lights Up Social Media

This less than appetizing photograph of an unnamed Taco Bell employee licking a long stack of about twenty-five taco shells was posted onto the company’s Facebook page {link no longer active} over the weekend, igniting viral attention from social media users.

While the circumstances surrounding the public display of taco shell admiration are unclear Consumerist notes that it is possible the shells were destined for the trash, but it still may make customers think twice before buying their next Doritos Locos Taco.

Facebook user Jj O’Brien Nolan, whose relationship to the infamous Instagramed taco shell lover is unknown, posted the photo with the comment, “This sure says a lot about your employees.”

Since the event, Taco Bell has declined to say whether the employees who created the photo were fired or not but company spokesperson Rob Poetsch did tell the Huffington Post in an email that the company has “strict food handling procedures and zero tolerance for any violations.”

He continued with, “When we learned of the situation we immediately contacted this restaurant’s leadership and although we believe it is a prank and the food was not served to customers, we are conducting a full scale investigation and will be taking swift action against those involved.”

This is not the first time the fast food joint has had an employee post an unflattering image that went viral on social media. In August 2012, a different employee took to Twitter to post a photograph of himself urinating into a plate of nachos.

“I pissed on them where nobody could see, in private, an[d] I threw them away. There’s literally nothing they can do. Fire me. I don’t care,” the photo culprit, Cameron Jankowski, said.

Of course the company took him up on his offer and he was fired immediately.

How do you see this playing out for Taco Bell? Do you think the prank will harm sales or simply increase their Klout score with the massive social media attention?

Source: Mashable {link no longer active}

Next-Gen Console Price Predictions

After analyzing the cost of materials in both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, investment firm Wedbush Morgan has projected that the systems will retail for $399 and $349 respectively. Michael Pachter, an analyst for the company, has estimated that the materials cost for the PlayStation 4 is about $275, while material costs for the Xbox One are at around $325.

While the Xbox is expected to be around $50 more than the PlayStation initially, Pachter states that the Xbox could be offered at a subsidized price through contracts with broadcast providers or ISPs due to its compatibility with TV. In addition to the prices on the next generation consoles, Pachter also expcts price drops on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 of $50 each as a result of the Xbox One and PS4 releases later this year.

Pachter’s calculations do not take into account the willingness (or unwillingness) of Sony and Microsoft to lose money on each console sold. Microsoft, with over $50 billion in cash on hand, could clearly afford to subsidize console pricing if it so desired. Sony’s position is tougher, as the company is still trying to return to profitability and doesn’t have a lot of free cash.

Both console makers need to weigh the up front cost of losing money on each console against the long-term benefit of a larger installed base, sooner. Each unit of third-party software typically represents around $6 or $7 of pure profit to a console maker, so with a large enough installed base (and a large enough library of third-party titles) consoles turn profitable. That process usually takes years, though.

The danger of the opposite strategy, trying to at least break even on each console sold, is illustrated by Nintendo’s Wii U launch. While the console sold well over the holidays, sales dropped off this year due to a lack of compelling software . The sales slowdown is hurting Nintendo’s ability to generate enthusiasm at third-party publishers, some of whom have delayed releases of Wii U titles in response. Neither Sony nor Microsoft would like that situation to occur for them.

If indeed the console prices are where Pachter predicts, this will put more pressure on Nintendo to either cut Wii U pricing or improve the value of the Wii U bundle. Retailers have already been discounting the basic Wii U bundle in order to move inventory, as most sales seem to be of the $349 Deluxe Wii U bundle. We may have to wait until some time after E3 to find out the prices of some or all of these consoles, as each company tries to maximize its competitive advantage by finding out the opponent’s strategy first.

HEX: Shards Of Fate Kickstarter Smashing Goals

The Kickstater campaign for new massively multiplayer online trading card game HEX: Shards of Fate has raised $1.769 million for the new game with three days left in the campaign. HEX is a mobile game for mobile devices which combines elements of MMORPGs and collectible trading card games. Almost 12,000 backers have supported the game so far, and have unlocked stretch goal rewards such as two bonus booster packs and a version of the app for tablet devices.

The next available stretch goal is at $1.8 million, which if reached will give all backers a HEX novel by “a premier fantasy author.” All backers who donate $20 or more will also receive access to the Alpha of the game, character name reservation and guild creation.

The game’s initial goal on Kickstarter was $300,000, and it looks like the campaign will end up north of $2 million. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.