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Former Sony Online Entertainment head now leads new venture

Former Daybreak CEO and Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley will lead new studio, Pixelmage Games. …

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GTA 5 leads Steam Spy’s list of best-selling 2015 Steam games

As the new year approaches, Steam Spy creator Sergey Galyonkin has published a preliminary report suggesting that Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V is the best-selling Steam game released in 2015. …

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November 2015 NPD: PlayStation 4 Leads Console Sales, Black Ops III Tops Games

The November 2015 NPD report is in, and with PlayStaton 4 back on top after last month. The industry grew, and current-generation hardware continues to speed ahead of last-gen console sales performance.

Sony took the opportunity to reiterate its sell-through of 30.2 million consoles, also indicating that November 2015 was the strongest month ever for the PlayStation Store. NPD says that Sony’s performance was part of a larger push, as Microsoft also had its best month for Xbox One. This makes November 2015 the best month on record for current-generation sales, besting December 2014 (the former record-holder). The total segment (hardware, software, and accessories) grew by two percent over last November.

It’s not all good news, especially if you are holding off on upgrading. Last-generation software sales nose-dived by 76 percent in terms of revenue. Current-generation hardware sales represented 93 percent of the total. It appears that software will reasonably wind down for last-generation consoles significantly in the new year.

Black Ops III took the month, despite an impressive push from Fallout 4. Interestingly, despite the new relationship between Activision and Sony, more Xbox One copies were sold at U.S. Retail.

Activision notes that it held the top spot by a “wide-margin” when considering both revenue and units sold through. Further, according to NPD, Black Ops III was the largest release in terms of retail sales of any game in North America dating back to 2013. For a series that appeared to be starting its decline, this is good news for Activision.

Star Wars: Battlefront is already making the most of the license, with growth anticipated through the holiday as The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a notable absence, though Halo 5: Guardians continues to hang onto a top 10 spot. 

Microsoft issued a statement saying that first-party software sales are up 72 percent year-over-year for fall rush (August through November). Here’s the full list of best-selling software at retail:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  • Fallout 4 (PS4, XBO, PC)
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2015 (PS4, XBO, PC)
  • Madden NFL 16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
  • NBA 2K16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
  • FIFA 16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
  • Need For Speed 2015 (PS4, XBO)
  • Halo 5: Guardians (XBO)
  • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (PS4, XBO, PC)
  • Just Dance 2016 (Wii, NWU, 360, XBO, PS4, PS3)

As a reminder, NPD represents retail sales in the United States. Digital and bundled software sales are not included.


Our Take
There’s a lot to break down here. First, even with Sony on top of the hardware heap, it’s good news for all platform holders. Video game sales were big on Black Friday, even more so than last year. Activision has every reason to be excited about Black Ops III’s performance, especially after its recent investment in the Call of Duty World League.

It appeared that the annual series might be starting to lose its luster, but leave it to Treyarch to reinvigorate the franchise. As for EA, Star Wars Battlefront’s performance has been questionable thus far, but there’s good news. We knew it was the best-selling Star Wars launch (first month sales) of all time, but it beat out Star Wars: The Force Unleashed by a wide margin of 21 percent.

While it appears that the hardware rankings have solidified worldwide, the death of consoles was drastically overstated. Hardware continues to outpace last generation sales, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 combining to outpace their predecessors by 47 percent at the 25-month point. – The Feed

October 2015 NPD: Strong Sales All Around As Halo Leads The Pack

The October NPD numbers are out, and while it doesn’t seem that too much has changed since last year, gamers (and game makers) have plenty of reasons to be happy. Here's the full breakdown.

NPD Group reports that October sales were up slightly since last year. Overall video game market's sales experienced a modest 2 percent jump since last year around this time. Much of this was driven by accessory sales, which grew by 18 percent, or just under $ 30 million. This includes subscription card sales, which were up 38 percent from October 2014, making this the best October for video game subscription cards on record.

Hardware sales were pretty neck-and-neck with the numbers from last year. Console sales grew by 3 percent, while portables sales declined 27 percent. 

Gamers are still buying plenty of games, but the sale of new physical copies of games actually decreased by 3 percent when compared to last year’s numbers. However, it’s worth noting that the NDP doesn’t actually track downloadable numbers, so it’s plausible that total game sales are fairly even – or even exceed – last year’s data. 

Here is the full top ten list:

  1. Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One)
  2. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  3. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (PS4, Xbox One)
  4. Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  5. WWE 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  6. FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  7. Destiny: The Taken King (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  8. Yoshi's Wooly World (WiiU)
  9. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)
  10. Rock Band 4 (Xbox One, PS4)

As always, the platforms are listed in the order of sales, and do not include hardware bundles. 


Our Take
It's great to see that game sales are holding strong. It’s not too surprising to see Halo 5: Guardians and the usual sports titles on here, but I’m happy to see that Rock Band 4 is also doing well. And it’s nice to see that not too many people were turned away from Assassin's Creed: Syndicate after the debacle that was Unity. – The Feed

June 2015 NPD: All Good News As Batman Leads Rising Sales

The June NPD numbers are out, and while the data tells a familiar tale for the leading current-gen consoles, everyone has reasons to be happy. Here's the full breakdown.

NPD Group reports that June sales were up from last year in
hardware, software, and accessories, with an increase in total sales of 18

As Sony shared
earlier today
, the PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console for the
month of June, as it was last
. Sony attributes much of the success to its Arkham
Knight bundles
, and the PS4 also led software sales for the month.

However, Microsoft still has its own bragging rights,
stating that Xbox One sales are up 51 percent from last June, and that Xbox
Live users are up 22 percent. Microsoft also claims that preview participants
have racked up over 500,000 hours playing 360 games via the Xbox One's upcoming
backward compatibility feature, and that the Xbox One game lineup received more
nominations (242) and awards (110) at this year's E3 than any previous year in
the Xbox brand's history.

Industry-wide, software sales were up 19 percent compared to
last June. Batman: Arkham Knight led the charge, despite not going on sale
until June 23. Hardware sales were up 8 percent compared to last June, with
current-gen console sales up 15 percent. Interactive toys were up 44 percent,
leading to an overall increase of 34 percent for accessory sales.

Here is the full top ten list:

  1. Batman: Arkham Knight
    (PS4, XBO, PC)
  2. The Elder Scrolls Online:
    Tamriel Unlimited (XBO, PS4, PC)
  3. LEGO: Jurassic World (360,
    XBO, PS4, PS3, 3DS, NWU, PSV)
  4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    (PS4, XBO, PC)
  5. Splatoon (NWU)
  6. Minecraft (360, PS3, XBO,
  7. Grand Theft Auto V (XBO,
    PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  8. Mortal Kombat X (PS4, XBO)
  9. NBA 2K15 (360, PS4, XBO,
    PS3, PC)
  10. Call of Duty: Advanced
    Warfare (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)  

As always, the platforms are listed in the order of sales, and do not include hardware bundles – including the aforementioned Arkham Knight PS4 bundles, making its number-one win all the more impressive.

Our Take
It's great to see that
sales are up, as gamers continue to flock to the latest generation of consoles.
Games built exclusively for the current-gen systems are clearly paying off,
with Arkham Knight, Elder Scrolls Online, and The Witcher 3 all ranking high.
However, I'm astonished by the staying power of Grand Theft Auto V and
Minecraft – especially considering that NPD still doesn't count digital
purchases. Hopefully the pace of sales keeps up during the summer slump. – The Feed

Epic Games leads GDC Europe’s lineup of great sponsored talks

Passes for GDC Europe 2015 are still available at a discounted Early Bird rate, and as the show draws nigh we’re debuting a pair of sponsored sessions on UE4 and PowerVR that you’ll want to check out. …

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Red Dead Redemption Leads Xbox 360 Backward Compatibility Vote

Last week Microsoft earned kudos for announcing its plan to make select Xbox 360 games backward compatible with the Xbox One. The tech update is launching with support for 18 titles, but Microsoft is also taking feedback on which games should be included as they expand the library. Now we have a clearer picture of which games are leading the pack.

Right now Rockstar's wild west classic Red Dead Redemption is leading the pack with more than 58,000 votes. Call of Duty: Black Ops II, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Halo Reach round out the top five.

The Call of Duty fan base is certainly the loudest at this juncture – six games from the franchise are currently ranked in the top 15. The Fallout, Gears of War, and Mass Effect games are also well represented.

Cast your vote by heading over to the Xbox site.


Our Take
The list of top candidates isn't surprising, but some of the omissions are unfortunate. I'd love to see Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the Left 4 Dead games, and some of the deep Rockstar cuts like Bully make the grade as well. – The Feed

10 things you should know about … leads and managers

A list of insights into the minds of leads and managers — part of an ongoing series of blog posts about what your coworkers are “really” thinking. …

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Leads June 2015 PlayStation Plus Offerings

PlayStation Plus members will have plenty to keep them busy in the month of June, including four titles on PS4 alone.

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All of the following games will become available free for PS Plus members starting June 2. Don't forget to pick up this month's Plus games before that time.

PlayStation 4

  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition  
  • Super Exploding Zoo
  • Futuridium EP Deluxe

PlayStation 3

  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
  • Cloudberry Kingdom

PlayStation Vita

  • Super Exploding Zoo
  • Futuridium EP Deluxe – The Feed

Readers Respond: Fallout 4 Hype Leads In E3 Enthusiasm Poll

Yesterday, we asked our readers to chime in about which E3 press conference has them most excited. The responses are clear, and one company has gamers expecting a lot.

As you can see in the chart below, Bethesda leads the excitement with E3 just one month away. Our readers have high hopes for the reveal of Fallout 4.

Reader “masterassassin51” sums it up. “Bethesda’s,” he writes. “Mainly because I'm REALLY hoping for Fallout 4 to be announced.”

“Toothdecay” echoes that sentiment with just a bit more enthusiasm. “Bethesda!!!!!! I need Fallout 4!!!!!!!!!!!” he says.

The middle of the pack is tight, and readers have various reasons for looking forward to the platform conferences. “Sony, due to all the unannounced games from their development teams,” reader “Arnold” says. “But, Microsoft is claiming this E3 to be their best, so I'm excited for them too.”

Nintendo had a strong showing among our readers, with some interesting reasoning from some. “Nintendo because they are going to have to put on a great show now that Zelda is not going to be there,” writes “Collector.” 

Others just have confidence in the house of Mario’s ability to deliver. “Nintendo will be the best as always,” writes “plainviewz.”

EA had a lot of support, with readers focused on a few games we know are in development. Mass Effect, Star Wars: Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge, and Ghost Games’ upcoming Need for Speed were all mentioned.

A couple of our readers are just happy E3 is coming. “I DONT CARE. BRING ON THE GAMES,” writes “turbobunny.” 

Others are disinterested in the conferences entirely. “None to be honest, the majority of the games I want are delayed, the biggest for me, Zelda, is not going to be shown at all,” writes “Sepewrathv1.” “So I'm looking forward to E3 as a whole to see demos of games I'm excited for, but there is no conference I'm really excited to see. Unlike last year, because of the promise of Zelda, I was hyped for Nintendo’s.”

We still have a month left before the big show. As more announcements are revealed (either intentionally or due to loose lips), we’re interested to see if you change your minds. We’ll check back in with you closer to E3. – The Feed