Daily News Brief: Great Year for Gaming!


Gaming Industry Enjoys Record Year

Nintendo had its biggest month ever this past December thanks to the Wii console. According to sales data released by the NPD Group, 1.4 million Wiis were gobbled up by holiday shoppers, helping to drive the video game industry a record-setting $17.9 billion in sales. That's 43% higher than in 2006, which saw sales in the $12.5 billion range, also a record at the time. Not alone, Microsoft's XBox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 also had their best months ever in December. Combined with the flurry of A-list titles hitting the PC, it's indeed a great time to be a gamer.

Rock Band Sells 2.5 Million Songs

According to MTV, players of their Rock Band game downloaded more than 2.5 million songs at about $2 each in the eight weeks since the game went on sale. The results were higher than MTV anticipated, and could draw the attention of the music industry as a viable distribution channel.

AMD Posts 4Q Loss

AMD yesterday posted a net loss for the fourth-quarter. What's more, the $1.772 billion loss exceeds AMD's revenue for the same quarter, which stood at $1.770 billion. The numbers get even worse when compared to the third quarter, in which AMD reported a net loss of $576 million on revenue of $1.773 billion. So why the discrepency? AMD says it took $1.675 billion in writedowns against its ATI division, combined with some tax benefits based on those writedowns. Without those one- time charges, AMD said they would have recorded a loss of just $9 million.

Surgeons Get Wii Performance Boost

Dr. Kanav Kohel and Dr. Marshall Smith of the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Centre in Phoenix, Arizona conducted a study and found that surgeons who " warmed up " by playing games on the Nintendo Wii for an hour scored 48 percent higher on a virtual 3D training tool called ProMIS than those who didn't log any game time. Based on the results, the research teams is currently designing Wii software specifically for training surgeons, which could be a boon for facilities unable to afford high-end simulators.

Sprint Reacts to Subscriber Losses

Sprint-Nextel today reported deeper-than-expected subscriber losses and said they plan to cut about 4,000 jobs. News of the 683,000 post-paid subscriber losses and job cuts sent shares down 19 percent, hitting their lowest level in more than five years. Analysts had forcast the subscriber losses in the 350,000 to 500,000 range. Along with the job cuts, Sprint plans to shut 125 stores and close more than 4,000 sales outlets within other retailers, all in an attempt to trim labor costs by an annual rate of $700 to $800 million by the end of 2008.

FBI Most Wanted List Gets High Tech Makeover

Looking to become relevant in a crowded multimedia landscape, the FBI is overhauling its Top 10 Most Wanted list. One of the changes includes adding video clips of the most recent sightings of some fugitives. The FBI also plans to launch a billboard campaign, with Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. donating the space, giving the FBI access to 150 electronic billboards.

Data Lost on 650,000 Credit Card Holders

Yikes! The personal information of roughly 650,000 individuals may be at risk after a tape went missing. GE Money, which handles credit card operations for J.C. Penney and up to 100 other retailers, said the missing information includes Social Security numbers for about 150,000 people. The backup tape was discovered missing last October. Richard C. Jones, a spokesman for GE Money, said there was " no indication of theft or anything of that sort ," along with no evidence of fraudulent activity. Read more here

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