As per usual, the NPD Group kept its giant, cyclopian eye glued to videogame sales for the month of September*. However, as per never before, the Group also decided to compile its weekly retail PC game sales into a colossal monthly communion, full of surprises and intrigue.
Hot Wheels: Beat That set the standard for September, issuing forth a challenge to all other games. 17 games did, in fact, beat that, with at least two unquestionably better games also beating it, but in reverse.
Spore and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning took top honors, selling 406,000 and 274,000 units respectively. NPD, sadly, did not divulge digits for any more of the 20 games listed.
It should also be noted that NPD only covers retail sales, so any sales generated by Steam, Direct 2 Drive, or other such outlets do not count.
PC Game Sales (September)
1. Spore / EA Maxis / $50 (Average) 2. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning / EA Mythic / $49 (Average) 3. The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $30 (Average) 4. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector's Edition / EA Mythic / $80 (Average) 5. Spore Galactic Edition / EA Maxis / $79 (Average) 6. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard / $37 (Average) 7. Crysis Warhead / Crytek (Publisher: EA) / $29 (Average) 8. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $30 (Average) 9. World Of Warcraft / Blizzard / $20 (Average) 10. Spore Creature Creator / EA Maxis / $10 (Average) 11. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade / Blizzard / $28 (Average) 12. Civilization IV: Colonization / Firaxis / $29 (Average) 13. Warcraft III Battle Chest / Blizzard / $39 (Average) 14. Civilization IV / Firaxis / $27 (Average) 15. The Sims 2 IKEA Home Stuff Expansion / EA Maxis / $20 (Average) 16. Diablo Battle Chest / Blizzard / $39 (Average) 17. StarCraft Battle Chest / Blizzard / $20 (Average) 18. Hot Wheels: Beat That / Activision / $15 (Average) 19. Crysis / Crytek (Publisher: EA) / $38 (Average) 20. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky / GSC Game World / $39 (Average)
Jump past the break for overall software sales, with games included. (Exciting preview: Apple fails.)
While there’s no doubt that Apple’s insanely popular iTunes store would hit this milestone, they felt it necessary to announce that they’ve finally hit 200 million sales of TV episodes, with more than one million of those being HD episodes sold just last month.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services, said in a statement this past Thursday, “We've got an incredible Fall 2008 TV lineup with over 70 primetime comedies and dramas, including many of the most popular shows on TV in stunning HD. With over 200 million episodes sold, iTunes customers have proven they love watching television on their computer, iPod, iPhone and TV with Apple TV.”
Thanks to the partnership of major television networks such as Bravo, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, HBO, MTV, Nickelodeon, Sci Fi, Showtime and USA, these sales don’t look they’re going to slow down anytime in the near future.
For those keeping track, the iTunes store now offers over eight million songs, over 30,000 TV episodes and over 2,500 films. Almost makes a man never want to leave his house.
Everyone’s favorite trade group, the RIAA, is up to more of its usual, mustache-twirling antics as it appeals the decision to declare a mistrial in its case against Jammie Thomas. For the uninformed, the 30-year-old Thomas is being sued for $220,000 by the RIAA for file sharing. As the first person to take the music industry to court, rather than settle, her case will set a very significant precedent and could have a strong impact on the future of file sharing and the internet.
The suit was originally decided in the RIAA’s favor in October, however Judge Michael Davis threw out the ruling and declared a mistrial, declaring that “he originally misguided the jury by indicating that simply the act of making a copyrighted song available for sharing amounts to infringement,” CNET reports.
The RIAA is appealing the decision, hoping the original ruling will stick and they won’t have to conduct a whole new trial.
What do you think of the Thomas case? Let us know after the break.
We can expect a deluge of touch panel notebooks in the immediate future. Merely a week ago, general manger of the Eee PC division at Asustek, Samson Hu, had said that the company is contemplating touch panel Eee PCs.
When it comes to search engine popularity, Yahoo must have gotten used to playing second fiddle to Google. However, things just got a little worse for the big Y, as YouTube received more search traffic in August than Yahoo, clinching the #1 and #2 spots for Google.
YouTube received 2.6 billion search queries on August, barely slipping past Yahoo’s 2.4 billion. Of course, both numbers pale in comparison to Google’s 7.6 billion searches. For the first time, if both of Google’s holdings’ searches are combined, it puts Google at more than 10 billion searches in a single month.
Yahoo’s perpetual suitor Microsoft, meanwhile, served up a combined 1.0 billion searches across all its sites.
Of course, the Yahoo and YouTube’s respective search engines perform largely different functions, making a direct comparison of the two a little futile, but the statistic does nicely illustrate the dominant position Google is establishing for itself in all different sectors of the Web.
Nvidia's latest videocard release takes aim at the graphics professional rather than the hardcore gamer with its new Quadro CX GPU. The new card comes just in time for those planning on jumping onto Adobe's Creative Suite 4, as the Quadro CX has been designed with the suite in mind, which Nvidia claims will give uses the "ability to create rich, stunning content in a faster, smoother, and more interactive way."
The Quadro CX comes with 1.5GB of GDDR3 memory on a 384-bit memory interface capable of 76.8GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Dual Link DVI comes standard, as well as support for OpenGL 2.1, Shader Model 4.0, and DirectX 10.
The customized GPU allows Photoshop CS4 to offload real-time image rotation, zooming, and panning, as well as instantaneous view changes. But such goodies won't come cheap. MSRP has been set to $2000. Ouch!
A new version of Google's Chrome browser is being made available, and as the release notes indicate in all caps, the update is intended for the "Dev channel ONLY." We're not sure if that means plain folk can expect their PCs to spontaneously combust by running the updated browser, but until Chrome gets groomed with extension support, we suspect most people won't bother to find out.
The new update puts a heavy focus on plugins, not the least of which includes addressing an issue where using Flash plugins could lock up the Chrome browser and shoot CPU usage up to 100 percent. The new version also fixes plugins not playing when embedded in a third-party frame on a page, and improves support for pages with multiple plugins playing video.
Several other changes have been made, such as adding a command line switch to start the browser in incognito mode, fixing a problem with videos stopping after 1 second, adding better support for Windows Media player, and a whole bunch more.
What would you like to see Google focus on with its Chrome browser? Hit the jump and let us know.
EA has certainly taken a turn for the less-reviled as of late -- a sudden change that can be attributed to risk-taking, trouble-making CEO John Riccitiello. However, even creative greats like Picasso, De Vinci, and Batman were only human, and all humans have breaking points. For Riccitiello, that point was seemingly first-person run 'n' rebel Mirror's Edge.
"I was totally convinced that game needed to be third-person and not first-person, because I wanted to see Faith," Riccitiello said.
“I was really wrong about the third-person thing,” he continued, citing the highly anticipated title's finished form.
But even with titles like Mirror's Edge under his belt, Riccitiello's heart is clad in a business suit, and some "creative risks" -- like Tim Schafer-Jack Black collaboration Brutal Legend -- give him palpitations (the bad kind; not the blood-pumping, required-to-survive kind).
"I have seen it," Riccitiello replied when asked if EA has considered publishing Brutal Legend. "I am well aware of what the game is. It’s a very significant creative risk."
"Sometimes significant creative risks end up being some of the world’s best products. Spore was also a significant creative risk. So was The Sims. Portal, BioShock. But so was [the relatively poor-selling, high quality Tim Schafer title] Grim Fandango."
Well, that was quick. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Blizzard COO Paul Sams claimed that Warhammer Online was no 18-hour raid boss. The battle's over, and the spoils of waaaagh clutter Blizzard's side of the field.
"The good news is that we've seen a significant number of people, well over half, that cited Warhammer as their reason for leaving - they've already returned," Sams said over the deafening roars of BlizzCon.
But, regardless of whether the game's a direct competitor or merely Led Zep to Blizzard's Beatles, Sams handed out Warhammer Online's participation ribbon with an air of humility -- hedging his bets on the MMO's future success.
"I think Warhammer is best positioned to succeed out of the various products that have come out thus far since World of Warcraft has come out. It seems to be a good game, certainly a great company, Mythic and Mark [Jacobs] over there and his team, they're very, very talented," he explained.
"But I think without EA they would have struggled as well, because EA fortunately for them has a lot of money and so they were able to put forward a lot of marketing dollars and were able to support the huge infrastructure that they require for these kinds of games. It's a tough road and as I said, if we had not had the benefits of the trust of our customers because of the years of delivering for them, I think that we could have been in trouble a few times. There have been big challenges and mistakes that we've made and we've been fortunate enough to get by them."
So MPC readers, who's pocketing your subscription money at the end of each month? WoW or WAR?
We’re willing to bet that a lot of readers of the Max PC blog have experience with building or maintaining web sites. If you have, then we’re also willing to bet that you’ll be interested to know that the early results of a study conducted by Opera examining the composition of some 3.5 million web pages have been published, and Ars Technica has posted an analysis of the findings.
Among the more interesting information to be gleaned from the study, only 4.13% of websites passed the W3C’s standards validation test, and only 50% of sites sporting standards compliance badges were actually valid. Ryan Paul at AT suggests that “This could indicate that many sites which are initially designed with valid HTML later cease to be valid as changes are made and new content is added.”
The study also examined which HTML tags people are using, which rich web content people are using the most (hint: it’s Flash), and a whole bevy of other statistics about how people are writing the web.
There’s way too much information to cover in one blog post, so if you’re interested, go check out the results for yourself and let us know what you think.