DS reigns as March's top selling system[ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [wii] [ds] [psp] [gba]
Retail tracking group NPD today released the March sales figures for the United States video game industry. The Nintendo DS led as the top selling system, adding another 508,000 units under its belt. Moving 280,000 units, Sony's PlayStation 2 sold about half of the DS, and the Nintendo Wii came in just under that at 259,000 units. With sales of 199,000, Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the fourth best selling system, followed by Sony's PSP at 189,000 units and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance at 148,000 units. The 130,000 PlayStation 3 units sold put it as the second lowest selling major system for the month, only ranking above the GameCube and its 22,000 sales. Sales of Microsoft's Xbox were not reported.
As for software, SCE Santa Monica's God of War II (PS2) emerged as March's top seller with 833,000 sales. Ubisoft Paris and Red Storm Studios' Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (X360) ranked next at 394,000 units, followed by the 291,000 copies of Harmonix's Guitar Hero II (X360) sold. Nintendo's Wii Play was the fourth best selling game, with sales of 273,000. Evolution Studios' MotorStorm (PS3) sold 199,000 units, and Rare's Diddy Kong Racing (DS) came rather close to that with its 189,000 sales. Tying as seventh best selling game, both Jupiter's Spectrobes (DS) and Kush Games' Major League Baseball 2K7 sold to the tune of 165,000 units. Clinging to the bottom of the March's best sellers list, SCE San Diego's MLB '07: The Show (PS2) showed sales of 164,000 and EA Chicago's Def Jam Icon (360) saw 148,000 copies sold.
Sony ponders shrinking game division[ps2] [ps3] [psp]
Citing changes in the games industry, Sony Computer Entertainment is considering a series of worldwide jobs cuts along with other restructuring methods. The company claims these efforts come not from the high costs associated with the PlayStation 3 hardware, but rather movements such as a shift towards digital distribution through the PlayStation Store and a drastic refocusing of the yearly E3 event.
According to various reports, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe will lose at least 160 positions.
Former Sony Computer Entertainment America head of developer Mark DeLoura relations wrote that the American division has already undergone a round of lay offs (thanks Game|Life). "There were definitely some job cuts at SCEA last week, a bunch of the folks in marketing who have been involved in E3 prep in previous years were let go," DeLoura wrote. "But one has to wonder whether this is the beginning of the layoffs, or the end?"
Over 100 PS2, PS3 and PSP games in Q2[ps2] [ps3] [psp]
Sony Computer Entertainment America today issued a list detailing the over 100 releases scheduled to the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PSP across the next three months. Amongst the upcoming PlayStation 2 games are Edios' Lara Croft Tomb Raider Anniversary, Vanillaware's Odin Sphere, and Electronic Arts' Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
On the PlayStation 3 side of things, the next three months will see Treyarch's Spider-Man 3 (preview), Starbreeze Studios' The Darkness (preview) and Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Additionally, games such as Incognito's Calling All Cars and Capcom's Super Puzzle Fighter II HD Remix will see release on PlayStation Network in the same time period.
The PSP's Q2 lineup includes Square Enix's Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II, Zoe Mode's Crush, and Namco's Ridge Racer 2.
"Our second-quarter line-up of PS3, PSP and PlayStation 2 software titles demonstrates a continued commitment from both SCEA and third-party developers to the PlayStation family of products," said SCEA senior VP of marketing Peter Dille. "We are excited by the content being developed by our partners, but are also looking forward to launching PlayStation-branded exclusive games created by our own worldwide studios this quarter and throughout the rest of 2007."
PS3 goes 1.70[ps3]
Late last night, Sony released the 1.70 firmware for the PlayStation 3, which can be obtained via the System Update option in the PlayStation 3's Settings menu or from Sony's official site.
The update adds the capability to play original PlayStation games downloaded from the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation 3, a feat previously limited to the PSP. However, don't start buying them quite yet--none of the PlayStation games currently available from the PlayStation Store will work due to the differing security requirements between the PS3 and PSP's PlayStation emulators.
"We'll be replacing the older PS1 games with fixed versions sometime in May," SCEA manager Al de Leon explained. "Once the new games are uploaded, you'll be able to download the games straight to your hard drive and play them from there."
After owners download the fixed versions of the games, a free process for those that have already purchased them, they will be able to use their saves when playing on both the PSP and PS3. Future PlayStation game releases on the PlayStation Store will be fully compatible with the PlayStation 3.
The firmware update also adds support for "the force feedback function of some accessories for use with PlayStation 2 format software," but no details as to what accessories or how to connect them are available at this time.
Microsoft updates 360 backwards compatibility[xbox360]
Xbox 360 also received a software update today, this time enhancing the system's backwards compatibility. The update allows Xbox 360 users to play nearly 40 more original Xbox games in 720p and 1080i with anti-aliasing, including Smilebit's Jet Set Radio Future, Pandemic Studios' Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, Smilebit's Panzer Dragoon Orta, Microsoft Game Studios Japan's Phantom Dust, and Capcom's Street Fighter Anniversary Collection.
A list of the newly playable titles can be found over at Major Nelson, with a complete rundown of all the backwards compatible games over at Xbox.com. Xbox 360 users can download the update by either booting one of the backwards compatible games while connected to Xbox Live or from Microsoft's web site.
Xbox 360 Elite sneaks into stores[xbox360]
Several retailers have begun to sell the $479 Xbox 360 Elite in advance of its April 29 release, with a majority of reports coming from Wal-Mart and Target stores. This is a relatively common occurrence in the realm of retail, especially with hardware revisions, since those stocking shelves often don't stop to check for a street date on hardware that has already seen release. For more details on the black Xbox 360 Elite and its snazzy 120 GB hard drive, check out our previous coverage.
Help design BioShock Limited Edition[xbox360]
First publisher 2K Games asked gamers to sign a petition if they wanted a limited edition of Irrational Games' upcoming first person shooter BioShock, now they are running a contest to determine how that special box should look. It's like they want us to do everything, sheesh.
The official site has all the details on entry. Three lucky participants will win a free copy of the Limited Edition for both PC and Xbox 360, with first prize netting a trip to the BioShock launch party this August as well.
Sega reveals four more for Virtual Console[wii]
Sega today announced its next batch of Virtual Console releases consisting of beat'em up Streets of Rage 2, the funky side-scroller Toe Jam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron, first-person RPG Shining in the Darkness and platformer Kid Chameleon. The games are slated to hit in the coming weeks, and as with all Genesis games on Virtual Console, are expected to sell for 800 Wii Points ($8).
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Breakdown for the Xbox. "The story was one of the best I've ever experienced. Twist, after twist, after twist, my mind was blown so many times I didn't know which way was up by the end of it. I can only hope they eventually make a sequel." (submitted by Dan 101)