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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.



September 15, 2014

Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker Mojang for $2.5 Billion

Minecraft: An Explainer for Old People

Heads up, Minecraft fans — the acquisition rumors were true.

Microsoft has purchased Mojang, maker of the massively popular sandbox building game, for $2.5 billion, the Swedish game developer announced on Monday. The company also announced that founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porser are leaving.

The news follows reports last week that Microsoft and Mojang were in "serious discussions" about a multibillion dollar acquisition.

"Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us," the Mojang team wrote in a note on its website. "It's going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK."

The developer continued: "Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you — the community — are extremely important to everyone involved."

The acquisition is somewhat surprising given that Persson, who created Minecraft, has, in the past, avoided outside investment and derided big firms like Microsoft. But as Minecraft grew from a "simple game to a project of monumental significance," the pressure of owning it became too much for Persson to handle.



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.



April 18, 2014

Xbox One Shipments Top 5 Million

Microsoft confirms the Xbox One is not designed to stand vertically

Microsoft on Thursday announced that more than 5 million Xbox One consoles have been shipped to retailers since its November launch.

While that's nothing to sneeze at, rival Sony has sold more than 7 million PlayStation 4 machines to customers around the world in about the same time period.

Being stuck in second place hasn't put a damper on Microsoft's mood, though. In a blog post, chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi celebrated the next-generation console's progress—311,000 units sold in the U.S. in March—already outpacing the Xbox 360 during the same time period.

"Even more important to us is how much fun you are having on Xbox One," Mehdi said, adding that users are spending an average of five hours a day on the machine, collectively capturing more than one billion hours spent in games and apps on the console.



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.



February 14, 2014

Xbox Live Gold Is Free This Weekend

Xbox Live

If your Valentine's Day plans include sitting at home, alone playing video games, we have some good news.

It might not be as enticing as an attractive mate, or even a box of fancy chocolates, but Microsoft is giving gamers a sweet treat of its own this weekend – free access to Xbox Live Gold from now until Sunday, Feb. 16. The deal, however, is only available to Xbox 360 gamers in the U.S. and Canada.

The free Gold weekend started at 12:01 a.m. PT today, and ends at 11:59 PT on Sunday. During the weekend, all Xbox Live entertainment apps and online multiplayer gaming will be available for free.

"All Xbox owners in these regions, regardless of their current Xbox Live subscription status, will have access to online multiplayer gaming, Video Kinect, and our entire catalog of entertainment apps," Microsoft's Larry Hryb wrote in a Thursday post on the Major Nelson blog. "Get your marathon entertainment and gaming fix now and let me know on Monday all the new things you tried."



February 5, 2014

Big Xbox One Update Scheduled for Feb. 11

10 Things You Need to Know About the Xbox OneMicrosoft will roll out an update for Xbox One on Feb. 11, which includes easier storage management and the return of the battery power indicator, among other things.

Like the Xbox 360, Redmond's newest console will receive regular updates. The Feb. 11 release will include "lots of behind-the-scenes updates for developers building apps and games for Xbox One, several new features we believe Xbox fans will love, stability and product updates to improve the customer experience, and continuous improvements to the quality of Kinect voice so commands become more fluid and responsive over time," Microsoft said today.

More details are expected soon, but the Xbox team highlighted three of the changes coming next Tuesday.

For example, players will now be able to see and manage storage space. "With this update, you will find it easy to find how much space your content takes up and better manage your content," Marc Whitten, Xbox chief product officer, said in a statement. "You can also control your install lineup and more easily manage your download queue."

The team also separated My Games and My Apps into different lists so gamers can create separate queues and pick the order in which they want them to load. There will also be a boot progress indicator to better track updates while they load.



January 30, 2014

Trade In Your Old Console, Get $100 Off Xbox One

Microsoft confirms the Xbox One is not designed to stand verticallyIt's never too early for spring cleaning, especially if you're in the market for a new Xbox One.

Microsoft is offering a $100 in-store credit to trade in "select" gaming consoles, including the Sony PlayStation 3.

Now through March 2, bring your PS3, Xbox 360 S or Xbox 360 E, and get $100 in Microsoft bucks, for use toward a new Xbox One.

But don't forget to read the fine print: The offer is available in select Microsoft retail stores in the U.S. and Canada until March 2, or while supplies last. You cannot make the trade online. Only 31 states, plus three Canadian territories and Puerto Rico, are participating. Check the list online to find the store closest to you. Or calculate whether the cost of gas is worth a trip to the next state just to save $100 on a game console.

And don't try to pawn off a broken machine: Eligible products must power on and be in fully functional, working condition, without damaged or missing parts. Microsoft will not accept devices that are password protected or don't include original chargers and accessories.

Most notably, to receive maximum trade value—$100—consumers must purchase a new Xbox One at the same time. Prior orders or purchases do not count.



January 17, 2014

Xbox One Outsold PS4 Last Month, But 3DS Was the Big Winner

Xbox One vs PlayStation 4

Microsoft's Xbox One beat out Sony's PlayStation 4 as the best-selling game console in December, as total console sales in the U.S. increased 50 percent from a year ago, according to new data from market research firm NPD Group.

"The newest consoles from Microsoft and Sony are off to a tremendous start," NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. "Xbox One led console sales in December, while PS4's two-month total makes it the best-selling console during the two-month launch window."

The gaming industry generated $3.28 billion in hardware, software, and accessories revenue at physical retailers last month, and marked its fifth consecutive month of positive sales, Callahan said. Gains in hardware and accessory sales during the month managed to offset declines in software, leading to a 2 percent increase over December 2012.

Thanks to strong sales of the PS4 and Xbox One , hardware sales jumped 28 percent to $1.37 billion while accessory spending increased 4 percent to $631 million. Software sales, on the other hand, fell 17 percent to $1.28 billion.