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February 15, 2015

PS4 Outsells Xbox One in January

XBox vs. PS4 update

Sales of gaming consoles might have been down in January as a result of the post-holiday sales slump, but that's totally fine. At least, we presume that's totally fine, since sales of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One consoles are 60 percent higher, in total, at this point in their lifecycle compared to the exact same time period for the two company's predecessor consoles: the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

In other words, a lot more people have been buying PS4 or Xbox One consoles than the companies' previous offerings, leading to a generally larger base of video game players in total.

That said, hardware sales in January were down 23 percent. Sales of current consoles, or the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, were down 22 percent, and sales of previous-generation consoles were down 35 percent.

According to NPD, Sony's PlayStation 4 retook the crown from Microsoft's Xbox One for top console sales in January. Previously, the Xbox One was the best-selling console in the U.S. for November and December. It seems that not even Microsoft's $50 price drop in January—starting on January 16, specifically—was enough to keep it in the lead.

"PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console in January and remains the cumulative leader in the U.S., according to NPD data. Since launching in November 2013, 18.5 million PS4 units and 81.8 million software units have been sold through to consumers worldwide," read a statement from a Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesperson, as reported by Gamespot.

Nintendo claims that sales of its Wii U console and related software increased 30 percent and 45 percent, respectively, in January versus the same time period one year prior. The company hasn't offered up specific sales figures, however.

Software and accessory sales in January were up 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, or $12.4 million and $5.4 million. However, the big hit from hardware sales managed to bring total retail sales for hardware, software, and accessories to a 6 percent decrease compared to the same time period last year.



February 3, 2015

PlayStation Network Returns After Yet Another Outage

PlayStation NetworkSony's PlayStation Network (PSN) was once again offline this weekend, this time during Sunday's Super Bowl XLIX.

"We're aware that some users are experiencing issues signing into PSN," PlayStation tweeted on Sunday. "Engineers are investigating. We'll keep you posted."

The Ask PlayStation account posted an update on Monday, saying that PSN services "are in the process of being restored." A later reply ensured that the network was back online, and suggested users "power cycle" their devices and try again.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This, of course, is not the first time the PSN has left gamers in the lurch. As folks were digging into their newly unwrapped PlayStation 4 consoles on Christmas Day, they found themselves locked out of the network. Microsoft's Xbox Live was also targeted by hackers who go by the name Lizard Squad.

Sony extended its holiday and flash sales as a result of the PSN's December downtime. Deals included PS4 titles like Alien: Isolation for $36, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for $40, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for $45.



January 6, 2015

PlayStation 4 Sales Hit 18.5 Million

Xbox One vs PlayStation 4Though the last few months have certainly given Sony a headache or two, the company can celebrate the fact that its PlayStation 4 sales have been strong. Very strong.

Sony announced yesterday during its CES press conference that PlayStation 4 sales have topped 18.5 million worldwide since the console's debut in November 2013, and 4.1 million during the most recent holiday season alone.

It has some catching up to do to PlayStation 2, which topped 150 million in its lifetime, but Sony doesn't appear very concerned about that. In actuality, the PlayStation 4 is outpacing PlayStation 2 sales if you compare each console's sales approximately one year after their respective releases.

"The next-gen platforms right now—I don't have the numbers —this generation has grown faster, further, wider, broader than any other game generation in the past. PlayStation 4 is leading that entire charge in next-gen," Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Shawn Layden told IGN in November.

PS4 sales topped 10 million in August.

Sony also said that it has 10.9 million PlayStation Plus subscribers. Those stats come after Sony announced that it will start offering monthly subscriptions to its PlayStation Now gaming service.

Rival Microsoft, meanwhile, said it was approaching 10 million Xbox Ones sold as of November, help by the $50 discount it offered on the console through the holiday season.



January 1, 2015

Due to Downtime, Sony Extends PlayStation Store Holiday Sale

playstation holiday saleSony's big holiday sale and flash sale at the PlayStation Store should have ended by now. However, the company has announced that it is extending these sales as a result of of the PlayStation Network's recent downtime, which might have unfairly caused some gamers to miss out on a bunch of deals.

However, if you're reading this right now, then Sony's flash sale has officially ended—as of the end of the year, that is. The holiday sale is still going strong, though, and you'll be able to take advantage of Sony's discounts on games, movies, and TV shows all the way through January 6.

And this isn't just a "save a few bucks" kind of a deal, as you might initially suspect. Popular PS4 titles like Alien: Isolation drop down from $60 to $36 for non-PlayStation Plus members. Yes, those ponying up for the extra perks of Sony's membership service get to save a little extra—another $5, in the case of Alien: Isolation.

Other games worth checking out on Sony's list of savings include Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, which drops down to anywhere from $36 to $40, Nidhogg, which goes from $15 to either $9 or $11, and the somewhat-recently-released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which drops from $60 to $45 (no PlayStation Plus deal there; sorry!)

Though we're a bit PS4-centric in this report, we should note that there are plenty of PS3 and PlayStation Vita titles on Sony's list as well. More the former than the latter, of course, but a number of PS4 titles with PS3 equivalents have sales for the older console as well.

And, as mentioned, it's not just games that you'll be able to find for a pretty good discount. Movies like Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the first two films in The Hobbit trilogy, Godzilla, and How to Train Your Dragon 2—among others—are also on sale by anywhere from a few bucks to… more than a few bucks.

And if you're a big fan of American Horror Story, Arrow, The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, The Flash, or Sons of Anarchy, then a number of these shows' full seasons are on sale as well. And they're getting a considerable discount: Sons of Anarchy, for example, drops from $32 to $19 for the HD iteration of any of its seasons, whereas the SD version drops from $22 to $14.



December 28, 2014

Playstation Network Down for Third Day in a Row; Sony Suggests DDoS to Blame

PlayStation NetworkBad news for Playstation gamers looking to get a little time in with their consoles—old or new—this holiday season. As of around 5 p.m. today (PT), the Playstation Network remains down for basically the third day in a row, minus a few brief spurts of service here and there.

Though it's unclear just what, exactly, the specific reason for the downtime actually is, it's widely rumored that hackers hit both Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's Playstation Network with a DDoS attack starting Christmas Day. At least, that's what Twitter accounts belonging to members of the group Lizard Squad have claimed, but there's been no outright confirmation from Microsoft or Sony that this is the case.

Additionally, it's unclear just what's taking Sony so long to restore its service. Presumably, it was hit with the same style of attack that took out Xbox Live as well, though rival Microsoft has certainly rebounded quite a bit faster than Sony. A blog post from Sony, published today, doesn't shed much additional light on the mystery, though it does seem to imply that a DDoS attack was the culprit.

"The video game industry has been experiencing high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay. Multiple networks, including PSN, have been affected over the last 48 hours. PSN engineers are working hard to restore full network access and online gameplay as quickly as possible," reads a blog post from Catherine Jensen, a Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president.

"From time to time there may be disruptions in service due to surges in traffic, but our engineers will be working to restore service as quickly as possible."

And no, it's not you; it's them.

"If you received a PlayStation console over the holidays and have been unable to log onto the network, know that this problem is temporary and is not caused by your game console. We'll continue to keep you posted on Twitter at @AskPlayStation and we'll update this post once the problems subside," she added.

Though Lizard Squad has allegedly called off its DDoS, so the group announced Friday, that doesn't necessarily mean that they have—or, for that matter, that those with access to the resources used to DDoS major entities aren't carrying on and simply not saying anything.

It's also possible that the Lizard Squad twitter account originally taking credit for the attack doesn't necessarily represent those behind said attack. Et cetera. Insert your own Sherlock Holmes-like scenario here… while you're waiting for the Playstation Network to kick back online, that is.



December 25, 2014

Xbox Live and Playstation Network Down on Christmas Day

Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: Upcoming Consoles Compared Bah humbug.

Is anyone else getting tired of the not-so-infrequent issues affecting gaming services like Xbox Live, the Playstation Network, and Steam lately? We doubt the companies' infrastructures are to blame per se; given the coincidental timing of today's outage affecting Microsoft and Sony's services, we're willing to bet it's yet another DDoS attack of some sort.

According to Microsoft and Sony webpages as of noon (PT) today, both the Playstation Network and Xbox Live are down for the count. They've been down for a few hours, but neither company is specifying why. A report from Polygon notes that notorious hacker group Lizard Squad did threaten to take both services offline on Christmas Day. It's undoubtedly true that they, or some other unknown group, is responsible for your shortage of online gaming at the moment.

"We're aware that some users are having issues logging into PSN - engineers are investigating," tweeted the official Playstation account early this morning.

"We're aware users are having issues logging into XBL & are actively working to resolve. Please visit http://xbx.lv/XBLstus for updates ^JX," reads a tweet from Microsoft's Xbox Support account around five hours later.



December 14, 2014

Xbox One Outsells PS4 in November

Xbox One holiday saleThough the PlayStation 4 has largely outsold the Xbox One for the last year, Microsoft's next-gen console has picked up some steam this holiday season.

The Xbox One unseated the PS4 to become the top-selling console in November, Microsoft announced Friday, citing data from The NPD Group.

"November set a new record for sales of Xbox One, and Xbox One was the best-selling console in the U.S. and U.K.," Microsoft said in a statement. "Response to the holiday lineup of games on Xbox One was incredible, with Xbox One fans buying more games in November in the U.S. than any other gen-eight platform and enjoying over 357 million hours of gameplay globally." Redmond added that fans logged into Xbox Live across Xbox One and Xbox 360 more than any other month in the game system's history.

Microsoft gave its Xbox One a $50 discount for the holiday season. Earlier this year, it also started offering a version of its console without the Kinect sensor, bringing the price down another $100.

Overall, according to NPD, sales of new gaming hardware, software, and accessories in the U.S. declined 11 percent year over year last month to $2.41 billion, the analyst firm said.



December 9, 2014

PlayStation Network Restored After Hack

PlayStation Network

Sony's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month continued when the PlayStation Network was knocked offline Sunday.

The site—now up and running again—was allegedly hacked by a group called "Lizard Squad," which recently hit Xbox Live and took credit for an August attack against several major gaming networks.

"PSN Login #offline #LizardSquad" the collective tweeted on Sunday afternoon. Several hours later, Sony's official PlayStation Twitter account acknowledged the problem, saying in a message that "We are aware of the issues some users are experiencing, and are working to address them."

Several hours later, Sony encouraged users to try again.



May 19, 2014

Sony Opens PlayStation Now Beta to PS4 Users

PlayStation Logo/Credit: SonySony on Monday expanded beta testing for its coming PlayStation Now streaming game service to users of PlayStation 4 consoles after several months of running the private beta exclusively on the PS3.

PlayStation Now, a streaming service that delivers games to PlayStation consoles with no discs or downloading required, remains on track to go live this summer, Sony said on its official PlayStation blog.

Gamers who have upgraded to the company's best-selling PS4 console will now have a chance to test out PlayStation Now ahead of its official launch, provided they've registered for the beta testing program.

"Up until this point, our Private Beta for PS Now has been available on PlayStation 3 systems. We're pleased to announce that the Private Beta program is expanding and will make its debut on PlayStation 4 systems on May 20. If you've registered for the PS Now Private Beta, keep an eye on your mailbox for a voucher code," Sony said.

The consumer electronics giant revealed that it was planning a game-streaming service for its PlayStation platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.



March 4, 2014

Sony Surpasses 6M Global PS4 Sales

Sony PlayStation 4

Following last month's release of Sony's PlayStation 4 in Japan, the company today revealed a whopping 6 million console sales worldwide.

That figure includes the 370,000 sold in Japan since its Feb. 22 launch.

"I am absolutely delighted that PS4 is off to such a great start in Japan," Sony CEO Andrew House said in a statement. "The responses we have received for the PS4 system's integrated social capabilities have been phenomenal, and I couldn't be more thrilled that gamers are utilizing these unique features to engage, share, play, and connect with users around the world."

Software sales have been soaring as well, reaching almost 14 million copies of game titles and other software sold in retail stores globally and via digital downloads. According to a recent Sony blog post, more than 90 percent of U.S.-based PS4s are online, allowing gamers to connect and compete with each other.

"It's truly humbling to see the rate at which gamers across the globe are choosing PS4 as their next-gen console of choice," John Koller, vice president of marketing, wrote in a blog entry.