360 Price Going Up, PS3 Price Going Down

It looks like Sony has finally pulled the trigger and taken the price of the standard PlayStation 3 console down by $100, to an MSRP of $299.  This move was widely anticipated, and should help console sales entering the holiday season.

Going in the completely opposite direction, Eurogamer is reporting the price of Xbox 360 s in the United Kingdom are actually going up by around £30, due in large part to the weakening of the pound sterling to the U.S. dollar.

A tale of two marketing problems — we d rather take the account with the price cut hardware, thank you very much.

Video Of The Day: Rally Rally Good

Dirt 2 is looking like one of the must-have racers of the year, and it’s in no small part due to the phenomenal visuals of the game.  Our video of the day comes from their viral marketing efforts in showing everyone just how good the game looks by splicing real world video with in-game footage.

Can you tell what’s real and what’s not?

https://youtube.com/watch?v=KqGCjExHg3U

Sega Allowing Fans To Vote On Next XBLA Game

Sega is taking the unorthodox step of allowing fans to vote on their site for the very next Xbox Live Arcade game that comes out of the publisher’s Genesis library.

From The Genesis Poll: {link no longer active}

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Sega Genesis, we’re putting the power back in the fans’ hands and letting you determine the next title we’ll release on Xbox LIVE Arcade! Just pick from the Genesis classics below and cast your vote between August 14th and August 21st.

This is a great way to get users excited about an upcoming release, as well as a chance to remind everyone of the very significant back-catalog Sega has with the Genesis.  Our only beef: are these options the best they could come up with?

Earthworm Jim, The Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Shining Force, Toejam & Earl, Golden Axe II, Wonder Boy?

Why didn’t they do anything similar for the Dreamcast 10th anniversary last week? Oh, and we’re casting our vote for Earthworm Jim!

District 9 Tops Box Office

From Variety:

Fueled by older males, Sony/TriStar’s sci-fi thriller “District 9” opened to a boffo $37 million from 3,049 theaters to win the weekend crown at the domestic B.O.

Movie was a sizable victory for Sony’s Worldwide Acquisitions Group, Sony’s marketing team, frosh filmmaker Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson. “District’s” opening is one more example of a pic generating strong biz this summer without big stars.

The gamer demographic became enthralled with Neill Blomkamp after his name was attached to direct a Peter Jackson-produced Halo movie.  When that project fell through, the two men collaborated on this movie, said to be similar in scope to the original idea behind the movie adaptation of Microsoft’s hit shooter.

Now, District 9 is number one at the box office, having cost $30 million to make, but taking in over $37 million in one weekend.  As you continue to see word of mouth spread and the movie stay in theaters, remember that you re a witness to power of the gamer demographic.

Quick, Name Europe’s Largest Game Market!

Germany is poised to become the largest non-U.S. market in the world, bigger than both the United Kingdom and Japan, thanks to the country’s improved resistance to the worldwide recession and continued growth in game sales.

From Gamezine: {link no longer active}

The recession has not impacted Germany significantly with software sales remaining constant in the country, while a decline of 20 percent was felt in the UK, according to numbers produced by Gfk Chart-Track.

Germany recently passed a law that would ban the sale of violent video games across the country, so the race for Europe’s top spot is not over.

The country is notoriously squeamish about violence in media, with many game publishers having to make significant changes to products (human enemies become robots, etc.) before they get released.

It does show that violence isn’t a requirement to market games to a large market.  Their top seller so far?   Wii Fit.

Lincoln Joins Che For Lionhead

As if using revolutionary Che Guevara to kick of a video game-related viral marketing campaign wasn’t odd enough, Abraham Lincoln and a quote of his is now featured prominently at Lionhead Studios.

The campaign started last week, and this is the third change that has happened on the site.  The first quote featured Che Guevara, the second quote attributed to French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre, and now the third quote is tied to Honest Abe:

Be not deceived.  Revolutions do not go backward.

How many people want to bet revolution will be in the game’s title when it s announced at Gamescom later this week?

The campaign has been successful in attuning the video game blogosphere to Lionhead’s imminent announcement, and we only expect more coverage ahead of people finally getting a look at the new game.

Sony PSPgo Games As Cheap As iPhone?

From Pocket Gamer: {link no longer active}

Pocket Gamer has learned that these will be priced at 1, 2 and 5 Euros, making them the equivalent of the games available via Apple’s App Store.

In fact, the highest priced games on the App Store are $9.99 – currently The Sims 3 and Real Racing – making PSN cheaper at the top end.

It’s a significant move as Sony has been hit by criticism concerning the price of the PSPgo hardware ($250, £230).

This is a testament to how impactful Apple has been to the portable gaming market, with its plethora of 99-cent games and most of them never reaching the $10 mark.  Sony has little choice but to follow suit, and hopefully do so with its massive backlog of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games.

Inexpensive PS, PS2 and new PSPgo games would be the center of our marketing campaign for the new system.  What would you go with?

Halo 3 Still Hugely Popular

Microsoft has been very transparent with the data coming out of Xbox Live, and one of the weekly reports it gives gamers is the most popular games list on their system.  And which game regularly takes the top spot?

The two-year old Halo 3!

IGN reports:

At a recent Bungie press event, Bungie’s Brian Jarrard offered a little clarity. Nearly two years after its release, there are still roughly 1 million unique Halo 3 players every day. That’s greater than the population of San Francisco.

Microsoft has released a couple of DLC packs for Halo 3 with new maps, as well as a real-time strategy game Halo Wars, and has set the groundwork for games, movies and more, which we detailed in last week’s Halo Future exclusive feature.

Sega Celebrates Dreamcast 10th Quietly

From Kotaku:

“Generally we won’t be doing anything that’s official,” [Sega West head Mike Hayes] said. The main reason is that Sega has reinvented itself as a software company. And it’s important for us to focus on the other platforms that are alive and current.”

“Informally, because there are people in the company who were involved in the Dreamcast launch, there will be celebrations,” he said, “But as a company, publicly, that’s going to be something we’re going to be pretty low key about for obvious reasons. We’re effectively a different company.”

We agree Sega is a different company, but is it a better company or, more importantly, a better brand than it was back in the early part of the decade.

Make no doubt about it, many gamers still have fond memories of the Dreamcast, with many considering it the apex of Sega’s influence on gaming (not on sales — that would be the Sega Genesis).  In fact, a lot of the Dreamcast’s work conceivably laid the foundation for the Xbox, from the SegaNet online system to certain games whose sequels were exclusive to Microsoft s machine.

Since the falling of the Dreamcast, Sega has seen a precipitous decline in its brand identity, often relying on the still-popular Sonic the Hedgehog for the plurality of its sales.  So why undersell the Dreamcast s anniversary instead of holding it as an example of Sega s legacy, and the possibility of returning to those days (if not of sales, then of quality).

If you were attached to one of the most likable brands in video game history, would you undersell it   I’d probably be the first one with my trumpet, even if it ended up succumbing to much bigger companies in the end.  Why?   Because for a lot of gamers who grew up with Sega, they should look forward to new memories from that company, and reminding them of the past gives hope to the future.

Let’s see if that Dreamcast IP eventually makes it to the current generation of consoles in time for Sega to still take advantage of their marketing successes of the past.