Weekend Short-Takes: 11/30/12

Wii U first-week sales lag original Wii, but better than Xbox 360, PS3

Simon Wu:

I have several friends already using these numbers to call me out on my supposed talk that the Wii U isn't going to do well, and I suspect there are also a few readers out there that agree with them. Well then, let me remind you that the pool is constantly expanding. It’s the same reason I’m not at all surprised or excited that each CoD is bigger than the last. The number of people playing it is simply expanding further. I am also not surprised that it only takes one game to make the thing profitable; the hardware in the device is so slow that I would be surprised if it took more than one game.

Alex Miller:

When reading this article, a particular line jumped out at me: “Sega's Dreamcast, on the other hand, sold 372,000 units in its first four days before quickly tapering off and ceasing production months later.” Not to take anything away from the job Nintendo has done selling its product so far, but the true test of the console will come in the coming months and years. It may have beaten the Xbox 360 in first week sales (though Simon correctly points out there's a bigger pool of eager gamers now) but as we mention below, both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 posted stronger numbers than the WiiU over the same period this year, seven and six years, respectively, after release. The question will be if the WiiU will be able to do the same further on down the line...

Photo Credit: gannett-cdn.com

Nintendo announces Wii Mini for $99.99; strips out Internet connectivity, available in Canada only

Simon Wu:

Why only up in the Great White North, eh? That’s the real question. Why not bring this new slimmer SKU to the US? Then all the consoles would be competing with slimmer models. Has Nintendo come to some realization through telemetry or consumer survey that Canadians don’t care for the services that Americans enjoy? Once again, with only one controller, no Internet or external features whatsoever, and hardware from nearly three generations ago, $100 is far too much to ask. I’d consider this an equivalent of an Apple TV or Roku, and sell it for $50. There’s a great editorial on The Verge elaborating how the Mini is a beautiful opportunity squandered, which I agree with entirely.

Alex Miller:

Perhaps Nintendo thinks that Canadians will be the most forgiving for being overcharged for a feature deprived novelty act, perhaps even apologizing for not liking it? The fact that Nintendo is releasing a new version of its old console after it has released its new one would seem to betray a lack of faith in their new product. If this was a WiiU mini or at least able to even play new WiiU games I might consider it an interesting and well thought out move to try and meet the needs of more people. However, as it stands the lack of any new features other than a smaller form factor (and its not like the Wii was massive by any stretch of the imagination) along with the reduction of some genuinely useful functionality gives this too much of an air of playing it safe, not risking anything, and in so doing missing out on the chance to succeed.

Photo Credit: bgr.com

Microsoft sells 750,000 Xbox consoles on Black Friday weekend after seven years of sales

Simon Wu:

…and here is my riposte to the above sales figures. Seriously. Nintendo’s shiny, brand-new, next-gen console that delivers new and “innovative” gameplay was soundly trounced by the same aging console that’s been leading the charge for a year now. I was actually genuinely surprised by these numbers. Honestly, if they keep selling like this, (consoles mind you, not just games!) this is actually covering up the serious problem underlying the 360: it’s seven years old. If they sold half as much as the Wii U, Microsoft might actually be alarmed and pushed to get their competitor on the fast track. But suckerpunching the Wii U as it comes out of the gate like this? It’ll continue to be a slow ride for that next Xbox.

Alex Miller:

A slow ride Simon might say, but a rightly slow one I would reply. The continued success of the Xbox 360 shows that it continues to be a well rounded home media entertainment device. The numbers here are impressive and like I said before, even with the “new” hardware of the WiiU, people chose the “old” Xbox 360 almost 2:1. The time that can now be afforded to the next Xbox because of the pressure taken off of it by this continued success hopefully means we will see a similar (or knowing the red ring issue, hopefully better) level of quality that has led to the Xbox 360 being the mostly reliable workhorse it has been these past years.

Photo Credit: technet.com

Six years later, 525,000 PlayStation 3 consoles sold over Black Friday week

Simon Wu:

Rounding out our three console report for Black Friday is that perennial laggard, the PS3. I know I can be sometimes too harsh on it, but the Xbox will continue to lead for yet another month. I thought that there were two very potent challenges to the almost year of dominance for the 360: the first obviously being the Wii U launch, but the second being the even slimmer PS3 refresh, which the Xbox had no response to. That being said, this console also outsold the brand new Wii U. With that in mind, will the new PS4 (and the new Xbox for that matter) face this same problem of attracting some attention?

Alex Miller:

I have to forward to Sony the same congratulations afforded to Microsoft, that a console from the mid noughties (I do so hate that term, really wish there was a better word for the past decade...) has continued to sell as well as it has is a testament to the quality of the product. I, like Simon, will admit that I often rag on the PS3 a bit more harshly than I perhaps should at times, but with the exception of a few (major) issues with hackers and security, the console itself is a wonderfully built machine. It’s problem has always been its price. The price stalled its launch and has continued to be it’s bane throughout its lifecycle. Therefore it stands to reason that it did well over Black Friday weekend, where this obstacle was slashed in the hopes that the retailers would make up on bulk. Well done to Sony.

Photo Credit: engadget.com

The Humble THQ Bundle

Simon Wu:

While the premise of the moral economy applied to gaming is not a new idea, except this time it’s not indie developers and their games trying to get some traction. These games, like Saints Row and Red Faction, don’t need any introduction. We know that THQ has been in some tough times recently, but I wonder if the mindshare won from doing this outweighs the loss. Keep in mind, it is on PC, and given the notorious level of piracy on PC, this might a positive step in making some profit. Although it’s rather dystopian, $1 is better than $0.

Alex Miller:

I do love seeing things like this, both because I like getting things for less than what I would have to pay for them and I also I like the heartwarming feeling of seeing people helping others. However, the more cynical/realistic side of me understands that this is not done simply out of THQ’s endless goodwill and love for their fellow man. While it is true THQ does not need to introduce the games in the bundle themselves, this is a rather profitable way to advertise other titles they have released or will be releasing soon. Darksiders recently had a sequel come out while Metro 2033 has a sequel coming out next year. The best way I know to get someone to buy your upcoming sequel is to get them hooked on the one that came before, and in this way THQ are doing just that while also doing their bit for charity. Well done all round.

Photo Credit: humblebundle.com

Microsoft Said to Plan Next Xbox Console for 2013 Holiday Season

Simon Wu:

Yeah, yeah. All this internal bumbling lines up with previous rumors and leaked roadmaps, and quite honestly, I’m incredibly glad. I’ve been playing four-player Zombies on Black Ops 2, local. When there are a lot of zombies on the screen and things are getting more involved, the framerate drops to somewhere between four and ten. It has me almost wishing the Xbox had graphics settings like a PC so I can turn them down instead of lagging. All of these new services, which, quite frankly, were technically never meant to be used on the hardware, and it shows when it takes 2 minutes to start. Let’s get a move on.

Alex Miller:

I am happy to see we might be hearing more about the new console soon, as the current generation certainly isn’t getting any younger, but as I mentioned before I am more than willing to wait a bit more if it means we get a better quality product. However, I think a release next year will provide a nice balance between getting the device to us in a timely manner and spending the appropriate time testing and finalizing it. Plus releasing the Xbox 8, or whatever the device that will share elements with Windows 8 will be called, in the eighth year of the previous Xbox’s life will be somehow appropriate.
 

disgruntledavians's picture

Oh man, that humble bundle looks sweet, and I was actually thinking this might be one of the ways to break the original publishing model, which was your podcast topic two podcasts ago. That being said, it's pretty clear why this is THQ doing this, and it certainly isn't because their games aren't well known enough. It would be interesting to see other developers like Ubisoft or Bioware do this, even though they aren't in financial crisis.

John Tarr's picture

The THQ bundle is a really interesting development, but I'm surprised there hasn't been more outrage over the DRM. All the other Humble Bundles have been DRM free.

Solifluktion's picture

I almost bought a PS3 on sale but then I decided to wait for the "next gen is out"- sale.

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