Weekend Short-Takes: 1/31/15

Joystiq and Massively shut down amid AOL downsizing



AOL-owned Joystiq and Massively will be shut down in the wake of AOL's recent corporate restructuring. As a result, Engadget will be taking over game coverage duties for the foreseeable future, while most of the staff has either been fired or laid off. 


Joystiq is (or was, I suppose) one of the most venerated gaming websites out there, and it's tremendously disappointing to see it closed as the result of this restructuring. Certainly, Engadget is a technology blog that I follow closely and have great respect for, but it's not quite the same as games get pushed into a more generalist tech blog. My guess is that this is AOL's way of phasing out coverage entirely; while I like Engadget, I don't go to it for gaming. Rather, I think we will see Joystiq's traffic float away to other big sites such as Polygon, GameSpot, Kotaku, and IGN. 

eSports Now Recognized as 2nd-Level Olympic Sport



The Korean eSports Association was able to successfully petition to have eSports be classified as a second-level Olympic sport. 


First colleges start giving out scholarships for eSport student athletes and now this? Chess players must be absolutely furious at the news. In all seriousness, anything that can further legitimize video games in the mainstream consciousness can only help to improve its worldwide image. As the Olympics struggle to maintain relevance in the modern age (because of events like Olympic walking), it began including "extreme" sports such as snowcross in order to appeal to a younger audience. While we probably won't see "athletes" whose only muscles are in their wrists and fingers for some time on the global stage, it's a tremendous first step. 


Microsoft sold 6.6 million Xbox consoles last quarter, made $26.5B



Xbox sales were down on an annual basis. The 6.6 million consoles represent a combination of Xbox One and Xbox 360, with no breakdown disclosed. 


Microsoft is still not even close to digging itself out of the hole. In fact, console sales for the holiday were down over the previous quarter. Let's take a second and think about that. Microsoft sold less consoles than usual over the holiday season. Basic business sense seems to suggest that's a serious problem. They're also trying to be deceptive and hide low Xbox One sales as well behind the 6.6 million figure. To try and figure out what they might have been, we can look at last quarter, when they sold 3.9 million Ones and 3.5 million 360s, for a nearly even break. Let's be slightly optimistic and say that the relative shares have now shifted in favor of the One. Adjusting for the lower sales in general, we end up with somewhere around 4 million Ones and 2.6 million 360s. Now note that the PlayStation 4 sold 4.1 million units over the same period without even lowering the price. Woof. 

Nintendo has sold just 9.2 million Wii U units since its 2012 launch



Since April 2014, the Wii U has only sold 3.03 million units, but the company still managed to post a $506.5 million profit in that time, thanks in large part to strong 3DS sales of 7.08 million units. 


If you're reading these in sequence, then you'll know that Nintendo managed to do worse than Xbox over the interval. It's a small consolation, but at least Microsoft sold as many Xbox Ones in the last quarter as Nintendo probably did in the last three quarters. Nintendo should seek to cut its losses on the console segment by both dropping the price and improving the functionality to achieve app and service parity, and also try to dominate the market for console as a streaming box, which has been left relatively uncontested after Xbox's whole DVR-TV-Kinect play fell flat. Final suggestion: take whatever they are doing with 3DS and do that with the Wii U. 

Solifluktion's picture

Olympic Gaming is a thing now and I'm too old to start training for it. Just imagine.....instead of playing ball, running and jumping you'd play Starcraft in PE.....I would have been good at it...

OmegaZero's picture

Shit, man, I need to start training for the Olympics now.

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