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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.



January 17, 2014

Nintendo Admits Wii U Failure, Slashes Forecast

Wii U

Once the world leader in console gaming, Nintendo has taken a noticeable dive in the market, today admitting that its Wii U has been a failure.

The $300 handheld system launched in November 2012 as a follow-up to the successful Wii console, but it made little impact on consumers in its first year.

Nintendo initially blamed its poor Wii U sales (160,000 in 2013's second quarter) on a lack of exciting Wii U games. It saw a small boost in year-end sales with the release of "various compelling titles," Nintendo said, but even more family-friendly games and a drastic price markdown wasn't enough to reinvigorate the Wii U, which fell short of Nintendo's targeted recovery by what President Satoru Iwata called "a large margin."

"In particular, sales in the U.S. and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts, with both hardware and software sales experiencing a huge gap from their targets," Iwata said during a Friday press conference.

The cost reduction didn't do the company any favors; in fact, it is a contributing factor to Nintendo's lower sales and profit estimates.



January 6, 2014

Microsoft Celebrates 3M Global Xbox One Sales

Microsoft confirms the Xbox One is not designed to stand vertically

Microsoft ended 2013 on a high note: In only 39 days, the company managed to sell more than 3 million Xbox One game consoles in 13 countries.

In a Monday blog post, Microsoft revealed its year-end stats, thanking fans and gamers for what it called "the most epic launch of Xbox by all measures."

"It's been incredible to see Xbox One selling at a record-setting pace for Xbox, and we were honored to see Xbox One become the fastest-selling console in the U.S. during our launch month in November," wrote Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing, strategy, and business for Xbox.

The holiday season certainly offered a boost to the company's sales—Redmond counted 2 million consoles peddled in its first 18 days on the market.

"The reaction from our fans was mind-blowing for our team," Mehdi wrote. "As we see your excitement, your energy and your hours of gameplay, we continue to be inspired to do great work—for you."



December 11, 2013

Microsoft Sells 2 Million Xbox Ones in 18 Days

Xbox One

After selling a cool million Xbox Ones in the first 24 hours of their availability, Microsoft on Wednesday reported that it has now moved more than 2 million units since releasing its next-generation game console on Nov. 22.

Microsoft is averaging more than 111,111 units sold per day—a record-setting pace for the Xbox platform, according to the software giant. New Xbox One owners have logged a whopping 83 million hours on the system since its release, playing games, watching TV, and running apps, Redmond added.

Microsoft's sales pace appears to be matching that of rival Sony and its PlayStation 4, which debuted a week before the Xbox One and also sold 2 million units 18 days after launch.

"We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans. We are thrilled to see sales of Xbox One on a record-setting pace, with over 2 million Xbox One consoles in homes around the world," Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate vice president of strategy and marketing for the Xbox, said in a statement.

"Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers. We're also particularly excited to see consumers engaging in a wide range of games and entertainment experiences on the platform, with more than 1 million paid transactions on Xbox Live to date," Mehdi said.

Microsoft's retail partners offered testimonials for the high demand for the $499 entertainment system, which is priced $100 higher than the PS4, but includes the Kinect sensor.