Console price cuts are coming! Console price cuts are coming! That's the message from Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, who says it's high time for Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony to all three mark down their respective gaming consoles, CNet reports.
"After maintaining console prices at historically high points throughout 2010, all three console manufacturers appear to us to be poised for price cuts in 2011," Pachter wrote in a note to investors.
Despite sales of Microsoft's Xbox 360 console rising 40 percent year-over-year in 2010, Pachter says it's possible the Redmond outfit will drop the price of its 250GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle from $400 to $300. This, he says, would put the pressure on Sony to mark down its PlayStation 3 Move bundle.
It will be interesting to see if any of this comes to fruition. Nintendo so far has seemed content with the Wii's price point, while both Microsoft and Sony have played around with various storage options and slimmer form factors rather than reduce prices outright.
We've been shifting through rumors, speculation, and interviews since last year trying to figure out the launch details of Nintendo's upcoming 3DS console, and thanks to today's press conference, we finally have some concrete info to share. Here's what you need to know.
The 3DS will land on store shelves March 27, 2011. Gamers will be able to choose from either "Cosmo Black" or "Aqua Blue" at launch, both of which will run $250 in the U.S. (pricing outside the U.S. is still being determined).
As we already knew, the 3DS will sport a glasses-free 3D display, which according to Nintendo is "like peering through a window into a world where characters and objects have true depth." Players will have some control over the 3D aspect by way of a 3D Depth Slider, which will also allow gamers to turn off 3D effects completely.
Other notable features include a new Circle Pad, a built-in motion sensor and gyro sensor, three cameras for taking 3D photos, support for MP3 and AAC music files, built-in parental controls, and an SD memory card slot (2GB SD card included).
Lots more to digest in the press release right here.
If recent reports about Nintendo's DSi handheld are true, then it's safe to say the console company is betting big on its upcoming 3DS. Citing a Japanese retail source, Kotaku says Nintendo has stopped production on its popular DSi device, and that the only available ones are those currently in inventory. There are some areas where it's reportedly sold out.
Oddly enough, it appears Nintendo didn't make the same decision with its larger screen DSiXL console (it's called the SDSiLL in Japan).
Perhaps Nintendo doesn't want to confuse consumers with similarly sized consoles. The 3DS will launch in Japan at the end of next month, followed by a worldwide release in March.
According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter's numbers, Nintendo moved around 2.6 million Wii consoles in December, edging ahead of Microsoft's Xbox 360 with 2.5 million units and way ahead of Sony's PlayStation 3 (1.2 million units), CNet reports.
Good for Nintendo, right? Not so fast. If those numbers are accurate, it means Nintendo Wii sales declined 32 percent compared to December 2009. PS3 sales also dropped (to the tune of 12 percent year-over-year), while the Xbox 360 exhibited a healthy 91 percent growth rate compared to one year prior.
There's more bad numbers for Nintendo. For the six month period ended September 2010, Nintendo posted a $24.6 million loss, the result of weak Wii and DS console sales. Going forward, Nintendo hopes to gain some ground with its upcoming 3DS handheld console, but with no living room consoles on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if Wii sales continue to decline or have simply leveled out.
Nintendo has never had much trouble moving large quantities of its handheld gaming system, so it's understandable why company president Satoru Iwata is so confident the 3DS will fly off store shelves. In an interview with Nikkei Business Daily, Iwata said Nintendo estimates it will ship some 1.5 million of the much anticipated consoles after it launches in Japan on February 26, 2011.
"It's important that we ensure a continuous supply," Iwata said.
Following the launch in Japan, the 3DS will land on North American and European shores in March. By the end of that month, Nintendo reckons it will have sold around 4 million 3DS units worldwide.
Windows Phone 7 brought with it not just the promise of a better user experience, but also freedom from the draconian policies of the Apple App Store for beleaguered developers. Though Microsoft wasn’t entirely clear on their policies upfront, it would seem indie developer Matt Bettcher has stumbled upon a new one.
According to Bettcher his mostly open source Nintendo emulator has been rejected, and he was advised by company officials that this category of application would not be allowed in the Marketplace. This is a rather interesting stance when you consider that while Apple initially took this path as well, they finally give in to community pressure and have allowed similar projects to be accepted into the store.
So will community pressure work on Microsoft? Grab your pitchfork and lets find out.
According to several online reports, the much anticipated Nintendo 3DS handheld console is now available for preorder through Gamestop.
"Okay well I got the OK to tell about this from my work, but we officially got word in that all U.S. based Gamestop stores will be taking reserves on the 3DS starting on the 26th," a Gamestop employee posted on NeoGAF's forums. "Depending on the place holder price you will be required to drop a minimum of $25 on a reserve."
It appears preorders can only be placed in-store and not online. If you try to place one and the Gamestop employee looks at you funny, politely ask them to punch SKU number 020132 into their computer and you should be golden.
Still no word on how much the 3DS will cost or when exactly it will ship (look for a March release date), but be prepared to drop up to $50 for a preorder.
Fancy yourself a tree-hugger? That doesn't mean you have to give up gaming on the console, you just have to choose your system wisely. So which one gets the nod? According to findings by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Nintendo Wii consumes about a sixth of the power of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles.
"We included only a small sample of the many gaming systems available, but it reveals the differences in energy use can be significant," said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Deliver & Utilization for EPRI. "With the holiday shopping season in full swing, now is a good time to consider this factor."
EPRI conducted its tests by playing EA's Madden 2011 football game for one hour on each system. In doing so, EPRI found that the Wii used an average of 13.7 watts, while the PS3 and Xbox 360 pulled 84.8 watts and 87.9 watts, respectively.
"Obviously there are many considerations when looking at a gaming system and we're only about energy use," said McGranaghan. "There are also trade-offs associated with graphics and speed that drive higher energy use and consumers will need to factor those elements in as well. The more graphically intensive systems will, by design, require more energy."
Or you could say the hell with it and build a dual- or tri-videocard gaming PC, power consumption be damned.
The Xbox 360 was first released on November 22, 2005 in the U.S. and Canada, just over five years ago today (by a week). As CNet notes, the coming and passing of the Xbox 360's fifth birthday without a successor in sight could very well mark the end of the 5-year console cycle that's been in place for three decades, give or take a couple of years between releases. Check it out:
Nintendo Entertainment System: 1985
Super NES: 1991
Nintendo 64: 1996
Nintendo GameCube: 2001
Nintendo Wii: 2006
Sony has kept the same cycle, releasing the original PlayStation console in 1995 followed by the PlayStation 2 in 2000 and the PlayStation 3 in 2006. Microsoft's first Xbox showed up in 2001.
Looking ahead, there aren't any new consoles on the horizon from any of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony). Instead, each company has found other ways to extend the shelf-life of their existing consoles. Sony, for example, added 3D support, while both Sony and Microsoft recently launched their own take on motion controlled gaming. Nintendo hasn't been as active, but did add disc-less Netflix to the mix as well as various add-ons, like the Wii Balance Board and Wii Draw tablet.
On top of it, all three current-generation consoles are more adept than ever as serving as viable home theater media centers.
Which console(s) do you own, and do you plan on purchasing one before the end of 2010?
Give Nintendo credit for knowing how to squeeze blood from a turnip, or in this case, ring up a few more DSi sales on the heels of the 3DS launch. Come Black Friday, shoppers will for the first time be able to purchase a Nintendo DSi console in orange or green.
"These new colors join Nintendo’s other great value bundles for the holidays that are being released in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros.game on the NES," Nintendo said. "These include the limited-edition red Nintendo DSi XL bundle, which features a red Nintendo DSi XL system with three iconic Super Mario Bros.-themed graphics, the Mario Kart DS game, and preloaded software titles including Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters, Brain Age Express: Math and Photo Clock at a suggested retail price of $179.99. In addition to those preloaded titles, each Nintendo DSi system comes preloaded with Flipnote Studio, which lets users create, upload and share their own fun animations."
The new orange and green colored system bundles go on sale November 26th and will be available while supplies last, Nintendo said.