Xbox One’s Big Night In LA

The Xbox One launch at Milk Studios was set up like a huge party last night, just south of the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Lucky gamers attending were ushered into the studios with much fanfare along with cheers, plastic lightup cheer sticks thundering and cameras flashing. The event was a good melding of focusing on the real stars of the night — the games and their enabler, the Xbox One.

The party atmosphere was sustained with a few bars and a hotly anticipated performance by Deadmau5. The event attracted some big celebrity gamers as well as Snoop Dogg, now Snoop Lion, and Donald Faison, of ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Clueless.’

Upon entering the main room of the event, we were greeted with the host of the night, decked out with Turtle Beach’s ‘Seven Series’ headphones and enough bottles of hand sanitizer to carpet the floor– you can never be too careful this time of year.

Everyone heads toward the launch title they were most eager to try out before buying, and they were well represented here. Games were divided into huge swaths of sections and one only had to meander around a bit to find the title you were looking for. Attendees were encouraged to try at least 3 games and receive stamps to be eligible for a contest for some of these games.

It wasn’t all games, however. Forza brought in a few cars costing about as much as two very expensive houses.

In gallery cases next to the Forza Motorsport 5 cars were an array of beautifully decorated controllers, presumably part of the Xbox One’s Wireless Controller Design Contest. Some were decorated cartoonishly, some elaborately, and one even was outfitted with a tortoise-like shell and dubbed the “Primordial Controller.”

Also in attendance were representatives from Best Buy, pictured here getting ready for the undoubtedly crazy night.

Overhead was a ominous net of balloons just waiting for the big balloon drop of the night to cap off one of the biggest nights in gaming.


Get Charmed By Mario

Super Mario 3D World might just be Nintendo’s most important Wii U release this holiday, and it’s already a hit with the critics. Check out this launch trailer to see what all the fun is about!

African Mythology Book Gets Stylized Trailer

One could be forgiven if they thought that this trailer is for a video game, but it is instead for P.J. Pereira’s upcoming book The Book of Silence in the trilogy Deuses de dois Mundos. Focusing on the mythology of West African gods and goddesses, the music was provided for the trailer by Brazilian singer Otto.

Get In Touch With ‘Tearaway’

Tearaway is coming soon and looks to be a unique experience that takes advantage of PS Vita system’s features. Check out the cool uses of the front and back touch screens, the camera and the tilt sensor.

Tyson Returns Holyfield’s Ear

With the new shoes available at Foot Locker, the company says all is right with the world in general. They’re demonstrating this with several sports figure “make ups”, like Tyson giving Holyfield back his ear, Dennis Rodman leaving forever for North Korea and Brett Farve acknowledging that sometimes you have to know when enough is enough.

PlayStation 4, Xbox One Pre-Orders Near Parity

After the dust settled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this year, many gamers thought that Sony would be the clear-cut winner of the next-generation console race. However, if pre-orders have anything to say about it, it’s more along the lines of neck-and-neck.

IGN gathered pre-order data from various retail partners across the United States, and have learned that the gap in reservations between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 has dwindled. There’s now only a ten percent difference in pre-orders between the two, with Sony still retaining an edge.

Granted, Microsoft has eased up on a lot of its limitations since E3 a few months ago, including the always-on connectivity and used game restrictions that were first implied. This decreased Sony’s odds a bit, though the lower price point of $399 was expected to be a home run for the company compared to Xbox One’s $499 price tag.

We’ll see where the dust settles after this holiday season, as the Xbox One just released in stores today.

Source: IGN

GameStop Reports Strong Sales

GameStop turned in solid results with an increase of 18.8 percent in sales for the last quarter (compared to 2012), pushing sales to $2.11 billion. The company had a profit of $68.6 million compared to last year’s $624.3 million loss, though last year’s loss was due to a goodwill writedown of $627 million. The results were, of course, driven by sales of new software (up over 43 percent), which was led by Grand Theft Auto V. New hardware sales were up by 15.3 percent, due to the strength of the Nintendo 3DS and the 2DS.

Analysts were also bullish on GameStop’s prospects, with Baird’s Colin Sebastian putting forth a $57 price target and Wedbush Securitues’ Michael Pachter targeting $60 for GameStop shares (currently hovering around $50 per share).

Pachter did note that used game margins were a concern. “While explained well on the call, used margins were at their lowest level in 12 quarters, and the second lowest level in GameStop’s 11 year history,” Pachter said in an investment note. “It attributed weakness to mix and promotional activity, as it intentionally offered extra trade-in credits for customers buying next-gen consoles.”

GameStop’s optimism didn’t hide some key info from Pachter’s sharp gaze. “The company’s positive commentary about console launches and allocations implied that they expect robust sales, but it is clear to us that sales of current generation software have been impacted by the launches, and it is possible that current generation software sales are down by 20 percent or more in November — January, with only partial offset from next generation software sales,” Pachter said.

Digital And Retail Game Sales Rise

Whoever says video games aren’t selling as well as they used to lately isn’t looking at all the numbers.

A report from the NPD Group shows that $3.45 billion was spent on video game content in the United States during the third quarter of this year, a 17 percent increase over the previous year’s numbers. That includes physical retail games, as well as digital full games and downloadable content across various platforms. As a result, the games industry shows the largest growth amongst other industries since the second quarter of 2011.

Breaking down the numbers, $1.3 billion was spent on physical video and PC releases, while $436 million was spent on other forms of physical content, mainly used and rental purchases. The remaining $1.72 billion was generated by digital sales, which included mobile content, subscriptions, DLC and virtual item sales. The digital sales total is now significantly larger than physical retail sales in the US.

“Trends during the third quarter were the best that we have observed since the second quarter of 2011, driven by growth across both the physical and digital sides of the video game industry,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst.  “The launch of Grand Theft Auto V helped propel the new physical sales by twenty percent and continued growth of console digital full games as well as downloadable add-on content is an indication of the renewed health of the industry. We expect that the launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and the Sony PS4 will continue to fuel consumer excitement and spending for games heading into the holiday season.”

Source: NPD

The Xbox One Party System

Now that the Xbox One is available in retailers (after a long wait, mind you), users everywhere can’t wait to try out the system’s features. Among them is a great new way to chat with your friends, all with a few pushes of a button.

A post by Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb details how the party system works. Players can see which parties that they are in, as well as their friends, and what games they’re currently playing. This is all done through a convenient Xbox Live friend list breakdown, much easier to use than the original list on the Xbox 360.

Users can then join friends’ parties upon request, and even an online game session if a slot is open for them to jump in. To do this, though, you need to make sure you’re compatible with the game through the Xbox One’s Smart Match system, which checks on your skill level and playing style and syncs you up automatically with proper players.

With this Party Scout system in place – that’s what it’s called – users can multitask while waiting to get into a multiplayer game, including using Snap mode to view TV or Netflix. A notification would then be sent, letting you know that the game is ready to go.

Check out the Party Scout and system on the Xbox One, in stores now.

Source: Major Nelson


Mercedes-Benz’ Gran Turismo Concept Car

Just in time for the series’ 15th anniversary – and the forthcoming release of Gran Turismo 6 – Polyphony Digital team producer Kazunori Yamauchi commissioned automaker design studios to create their ideal sports car. The project, known as “Vision Gran Turismo,” certainly got the attention of various car makers. Up first – Mercedes-Benz, one of the companies partnering with Polyphony for the game’s release.

The AMG Vision Gran Turismo is a sleek silvery model that features a Formula 1 inspired rear air diffuser, sleek build, and various other features, as well as a specialized V8 engine to assure the sound of the virtual 577hg AMG V8 biturbo engine is like the one used in the game.

The vehicle was inspired by the legendary 1952 300SL racing car, complete with classic louvered grille and star emblem, among other features.

The car made its recent debut at the 2013 LA Auto Show, though it’s not likely to be offered for real. Still, you’ll get your chance to drive it in Gran Turismo 6 when the game releases for PlayStation 3 on December 6th.

Source: PSFK