AAA Game Sales Will Rise, EA Says

There have been some mild concerns about where the video game market will go with the release of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles, especially considering their high prices. Electronic Arts, however, isn’t concerned.

Following the decline of sales in popular sequels in the Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield franchises, EA Studios EVP Patrick Soderlund assured the company’s faith in the next-gen race.

“It is always going to be difficult to sell games on an older platform when something new is coming,” he told MCV. “More now than previously, it feels like people are really waiting for something new. I think with the games we have and our competitor games, you will see a big attach rate on the next-gen. There’s a lot of people waiting for the new, just like when a new iPhone comes out, and they hold off buying an iPhone 4S before the iPhone 5 comes out.”

“I think it is that simple. There are people waiting, they will get a machine, and look at the games and say: ‘If I want a shooter and I want the best one. If I want a racing game and I want the best one. If I want a soccer game and I want FIFA,” he concluded.

He also reassured that original games would sell well also, including the forthcoming multiplayer shooter Titanfall. ““The reaction to that is telling us that gamers don’t want to play the same game every year, we have to give them new experiences. And even the games we build on an iterative basis, we have to keep on innovating and push for new things so that people have a reason to play them.”

Source: MCV UK

Sony: Not The Last Console Generation

With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hitting store shelves this holiday season, many believe that we’re seeing the “last console generation,” thinking that gaming tech can’t reach a further plateau than the one it’s at now.

However, Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton doesn’t think that way. “I respect anybody’s approach to the business, but at the end of the day, you’ve gotta be laser-focused, and can make yourself crazy trying to react to what the competition is doing,” said Tretton. “I’m not naive enough to think that we’re going to own every consumer. Some people are going to gravitate toward our platform, some people are going to gravitate toward others. Some are going to stay behind on existing generations, and some are never going to buy it at all. But it’s much better as an opportunity for a manufacturer today than it was five, 10, 15, 20 years ago, and I think it’ll be better going forward.”

When asked about the term “last console generation,” Tretton replied, “It’s funny, I’ve heard about the ‘last console’ since 1986, and only because that’s when I entered the business. I’ve managed to ride the ‘last console’ wave for the last, what is that . . . 27 years or so There’s a reason the console came about: Sitting in front of a big-screen TV on a couch with your friends. To get the immersive depth in gaming and to get the social experience of sitting around the living room, we’re not going to huddle around a tablet. We’re not going to huddle around a smartphone. I think the technology will come a long way, but you’re still trying to build a console, ultimately. You’re trying to get it closer to a console.”

The PlayStation 4 is available now, and the Xbox One hits U.S. store shelves this Friday.

Source: GamesIndustry International

PlayStation 4: The San Francisco Launch Event

The PlayStation 4 launch event in San Francisco took place at the Market Street GameStop, well attended by GameStop executives and Sony representatives — and the [a]list daily. The store was completely taken over for the event, with a full array of PS4 demo stations, signage, video monitors, and an enormous pile of PlayStation 4 consoles in boxes ready to get into the hands of eager customers.

Outside, the lines of people were entertained by a DJ interspersed with raffle giveaways of cool items, while spotlights covered the building in PlayStation logos and police kept things in order on the busy sidewalk. GameStop sales associates worked the lines, handing out free PlayStation 4 t-shirts and other goodies while getting customers ready for the big purchase. Part of the process was informing people of all of the things they could add on to their PlayStation 4 pre-order, including games, accessories, and a PlayStation Plus subscription.

GameStop president Tony Bartel chatted with people standing in line, checking on their experience and seeing if they had any questions. Customers were surprised but pleased to have the president of the retail chain talking to them, and Bartel seemed to enjoy the opportunity to get feedback. Queried by the [a]list daily about how the PlayStation 4 launch was going at GameStops around the country, Bartel said that the enthusiasm was high from the reports he’d received. Bartel noted that he’d heard events at other locations were going well, with enthusiastic crowds. Asked to compare this launch event with the PS3 launch back in 2006, Bartel said it seemed even more enthusiastic than what he saw at the PS3 launch.

Availability is always an important question for new hardware, and Bartel was reassuring on that issue. He is pleased by the statement Jack Tretton made that Sony expects to sell 3 million units by the end of the year. Bartel hopes this means GameStop will have a good supply of consoles, since right now he sees no lack of demand. It’s certainly hard to see demand as a problem when you’re standing amidst a couple of hundred people looking to get the new console.

Gamers in line expressed general enthusiasm for the PS4, some just “because it’s new!” “We waited a real long time for a new console, and it’s finally here!” said one eager buyer. Two young women said they were Sony fans all the way back to “the little gray box” and were eager to get the latest PlayStation “for the graphics.” Games that people were picking up ranged from Killzone to Madden to Call of Duty: Ghosts. The most anticipated titles mentioned were Watch Dogs and Infamous: Second Son.

The event was well handled, with sales associates allowing people into the store in ones and twos to pre-ring their orders, so that when midnight struck customers could leave with a PS4 in hand with minimal delay. Customers could also line up to play a PS4 game at the array of demo stations set up downstairs, with a group of players rotated through every ten minutes or so. The festive party atmosphere was enhanced by the many items being given away, including t-shirts, wristbands, and more. Buyers of the PS4 got a PlayStation carrying bag and other goodies just for them. Raffles were held for prizes like a PS4 autographed by Jack Tretton. Members of Twitch TV were there passing out t-shirts. It was a truly memorable event for eager PlayStation fans.

Next week, we’ll see it happen all over again — this time in green! — for the Xbox One launch.

SuperData Digital Game Sales For October 2013

In collaboration with Joost van Dreunen, CEO and co-founder of SuperData, we are continuing to publish these reports as a monthly column on the [a]list daily.

“The digital games category reached $1,032 million in total sales in October, up 11 percent from last year. Main drivers this month were the improvement of both the free-to-play MMO category, which reached $261 million, and the subscription-based MMOs, which were up 5 percent at $86 million in sales. Both mobile games and the social category were flat, and offset the seasonal uptick in DLC on both PC and console. We anticipate an increase in user acquisition cost unlike we’ve seen before, with publishers aggressively buying users to claim a top market position during the holiday season,” said van Dreunen.

The report shows social games staying steady while spending increased at 12 percent as compared to last year. Sales in the free-to-play category have increased 15 percent, although there were 1.7 million fewer players since last month. Free-to-play is expected to get less attention for the rest of the year as people turn their attention to consoles during the holidays. For pay-to-play, revenue continues to be on a downward slope while spending increased to $86 million.

Mobile revenue has gone up 27 percent since last year, but growth was flat in October and revenue had begun to trend downward at a mere 1 percent month-to-month. Social casino games continue to maintain a hold, as this category were in 2 of the 5 top grossing mobile games.

As seasons change, sales patterns follow and this is true of downloadable games on PC and console. Spending has gone up by 25 percent month-over-month in this category. SuperData predicts that downloadable sales will reach $400 million in December.

Source: SuperData

Gymkhana Video Goes Viral

Electronic Arts has a hit on their hands when it comes to this live-action Gymkhana video, with nearly 9 million views at the time of this writing. Done to promote Need for Speed Rivals, Ken Block maneuvers around various creative obstacles, including a few inspired by Need for Speed.

PS4 Launch #4ThePlayers

Sony continues their cracking media assault for the PS4 with a launch trailer for the system so full of Easter Eggs, many gamers will find themselves pausing and rewinding to confirm what they just saw. There’s overt references to DriveClub, Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall and more; try and spot them all at

Xbox Congratulates Sony On PS4 Launch

Xbox is keeping it classy this morning this post on Facebook that garnered 13,459 shares and 74,000 likes at the time of this report:

Reactions from users were, as you guessed it, fairly entertaining and meme-filled. While users seemed to relish this spry and timely post, there was an air of skepticism as to whether this was a genuine sentiment or sarcasm.

When it comes time for Xbox One to launch, we’ll see if Sony follows Microsoft’s lead.

Layaway’s Not Always Evil

Layaway is a good thing, but in some stores you’d think their policies were set up by Satan. This Kmart video lampoons that very idea, promising that they have layaway in-store or online, with no blackout dates.


Xbox One Gets Games With Gold

Ever since the program launched earlier this year, the Games With Gold program for the Xbox 360 has been a highly popular one, with such free monthly games as Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II offered to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

Now, that program will continue on the new Xbox One platform that’s launching next week. Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb, director of programming for Xbox Live, stated that Games With Gold will make its debut on the console “later in 2014.” Though games weren’t determined, we’re likely to see possible launch titles offered for free at that point, including Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct.

The program is considered an “ongoing benefit” for the Xbox Live Gold membership plan, in which users can pay $24.99 for three months or $59.99 for a full year. This includes uninterrupted online play, amongst other promotional offers.

Source: Polygon