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GTA IV expected to top 9 million sales at launch

50°
335w ago - There's no Burger King tie-in or special flavor of Mountain Dew. No commercial directed by Peter Jackson, or even an action figure.

The run-up to "Grand Theft Auto IV" has been considerably less ballyhooed than last year's over-the-top "Halo 3" debut. Yet when "GTA IV" parks on store shelves on April 29, the latest entry in the controversial video game franchise could be the most lucrative launch in entertainment history – and one that many people may not even know about.

Analysts predict Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games' open-world, action-driving game will easily top last year's record-breaking $300 million first-week sales of Microsoft and Bungee Studios' first-person shooter "Halo 3" – and without a similar marketing bonanza.

With the launch of "GTA IV" on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Rockstar is seemingly steering in one direction: the downlow.

"Rockstar wants to control the message all the time," says Sam Kennedy, editorial director for the gaming site 1UP.com. "They want this to be seen and perceived exactly the way they want. That's why – outside of the official trailers they released – people haven't seen a lot of gameplay footage in advance of 'GTA IV' shipping. They want to build that hype."

Take-Two and Rockstar declined to...
 

PS3 outsold Xbox 360 in February, says Pachter

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342w ago - Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter has told videogaming247 that his firm expects that PS3 outsold Xbox 360 in February, ahead of the release of NPD data on Thursday. PS3's lead over the Microsoft machine, Pachter reasoned, was due to continuing supply issues for Xbox 360.

His view is in contradiction to The simExchange's prediction that 360 had moved ahead of PS3 in February.

"We expect February U.S. retail video game console software sales data to be released after market close on Thursday, March 13. We forecast sales of $575 million, 27% compared to last year's $454 million. For purposes of comparison, The simExchange prediction market forecasts overall software sales of $592 million," he said.

"Our estimate reflects $485 million in sales contribution from new platforms (PS3, Wii, 360, PSP and DS) and current generation software sales of $90 million. We estimate sell-through of 300,000 Wii, 250,000 Xbox 360 and 260,000 PS3 consoles. For purposes of comparison, The simExchange prediction market forecasts 450,000 Wii, 285,000 Xbox 360 and 270,000 PS3
consoles sold in February. Our console sell-through forecasts reflect our belief that Wii, DS and Xbox 360 hardware continued to be supply constrained during the month. With the launch of several high-profile games in March, we...
 

PSN sales go from zero to hero - Sony "surprised"

50°
348w ago - A recent charge in users of the online PlayStation Network has surprised even Sony, SCEE president and CEO David Reeves says.

It seems the PSN has reaped the benefits of the recent turn of fortunes for the PS3, as Reeves stated: "One thing that has surprised us is in the Network purchases and the general level of interest that has been shown around the Network business."

He continues: "We've gone from zero to almost double-digit millions in terms of what people have purchased in euros.

"We've now got about two million PSN registrations. That's about 40 per cent of users. We've also had around 33 million downloads, which is a huge number. And we've got 25 stores up and running across the PAL territories," he told MCV.

Things should pick up even further when Sony unleashes its PSN virtual world, Home, later this year.
 

Blu-ray to accelerate PS3 sales, PS3 price cut by years end?

50°
351w ago - Analysts believe the Warner exclusive Blu-ray news is good for the PS3 and that Blu-rays success will lead to an acceleration of PS3 sales. Around 70 -80% of PS2 owners used the console as their first DVD player and the same could be true of PS3/Blu-ray.

Michael Pachter believes that this year HDTV penetration will cross 50% of households and thats when Blu-ray will become more relevant, and Sony will likely cut the price of the PS3. However others believe that exclusive games are the most important factor and Blu-ray is not a main concern.

To quote: Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities thinks it's an important win, but the real impact won't be felt for some time since 1080p HDTV penetration is still fairly low. He does believe, however, that by the end of this year we'll start seeing a spike and that Sony will likely cut the price on PS3 by then as well.

Blu-ray has clearly gained momentum, and the upper hand, and the Warner announcement also provides a boost to the format, as well as for the advocates of Blu-ray as a standard. That said, locking up the suppliers of content and hardware manufacturers is only part of the equation. Consumers also must decide that they need a Blu-ray player, which seems more and more likely as prices decline," he said.

"As for the...
 

Japan PlayStation 3 sales beat Wii

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357w ago - Monthly sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) games console in Japan have overtaken those of rival Nintendo Wii for the first time.

Boosted by price cuts and the introduction of a cheaper version, PS3 sales totalled 183,217 in November, compared with 159,193 for the Wii.

The closely-watched figures from game magazine publisher Enterbrain will come as a welcome boost for Sony.

But analysts predict that the Wii will continue to dominate globally.

Sustainable trend?

"Overseas, I don't really see the PS3 doing that much at Christmas time primarily because it's still more expensive than the other machines and has less software," said KBC Securities analyst Hiroshi Kamide.

Both the PS3 and the Wii were launched towards the end of last year.

Since then there have been some months in which five or six times as many Wii consoles have been sold in Japan.

"It's nice to see the PS3 selling much better than six months ago," added Mr Kamide.

"But is it a sustainable trend? Is it going to really escalate from here? I'm not so sure."

The Wii has benefited from a much lower price compared with both the PS3 and Microsoft's XBox, but also from the novelty of its handset, which is fitted with a motion sensor.
 
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