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Report: Customer Service, RRoD, Pirates kill Xbox 360 in India

50°
335w ago - Microsoft is now winding up operations in several cities in India, as trouble seems to be brewing over the performance of its Xbox 360 console, according to a report from CNBC-TV18.

The report, which cited anonymous sources, concludes that Microsoft has withdrawn from several Tier-I cities due to lackluster sales. Its Entertainment and Devices Division has also reportedly withdrawn the marketing budget for the current fiscal.

The Xbox 360, which launched in India in September of 2006, has been facing dismal sales already due to sloppy customer support, high hardware failure, and pirated games, the report said. Games are easily available in the grey market for Rs 100, while official titles cost upwards of Rs 2,500.

Microsoft has already repeatedly refused to share its India sales numbers.

"The Microsoft Entertainment Devices Division is very much on track with its targeted business plans," a Microsoft India spokesperson told CNBC.

This comes as Microsoft's gaming division took a hit back in March of this year, as Mohit Anand, Country Manager, Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division, put in his papers.

Ashim Mathur, Marketing Head, Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft India, is also slated to leave the company. However, when contacted...
 

MGS4 Limited Edition PS3 Bundle Ordering A Huge Disaster

200°
335w ago - Update: It appears that Konami may have dropped the $500 insurance charge and that pre-orders have temporarily ceased. The Konami online store asks customers to "Please check back tomorrow (May 20, 2008), when we will make available more stock for pre-orders."

One might think that after the registration disaster that was the Metal Gear Online beta sign up process that Konami would be well prepared for the pre-ordering onslaught that awaited them today.

Surprisingly, it wasn't, resulting in what can be be described as a clusterfuck of massive proportions as many gamers attempted to order their Metal Gear Solid 4 limited edition PlayStation 3 bundle.

In addition to tacking on a $500 insurance charge–which we're told is mandatory and refundable, though we can't confirm right now–we've yet to read of a single successful check out for the "gun metal" version of the console. As of right now, the Konami store is throwing a 503 error, most likely due to the heavy volume of MGS4 fans trying desperately to buy their PS3s.

Anyone out there lucky enough to secure one yet? Thanks to the many tipsters who sent this one in.
 

Electronic Arts Likely to Extend Take-Two Buyout Offer

50°
336w ago - The clock is ticking down on Electronic Arts's takeover bid for publisher Take-Two, and the company remains steadfast in its refusal to buckle. But the publishing giant doesn't seem ready to give up so easily.

When Electronic Arts made their initial offer of $25.74 a share in late February, a much higher premium than what Take-Two was trading for at the time, they apparently expected Take-Two to immediately jump on the offer, according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter in an article from Forbes. But when Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick stonewalled, EA was stumped.

Now, with Grand Theft Auto IV on the market and Take-Two shares hovering around $26.59 a share, the takeover attempt seems to be at an impasse. Though Rockstar, 2K Boston, and 2K Sports remain tempting targets, there are other issues that may complicate the deal.

Many analysts can't agree on how much Take-Two is really worth, and any takeover would probably necessitate a special deal with Rockstar. Founder Sam Houser has previously stated that working with a larger publisher would mean wanting a larger share of the profits.

Speaking at a Tuesday press conference, EA CEO John Riccitiello dismissed questions about Take-Two but reiterated that one of EA's core goal over the next three years...
 

Microsoft: PS3 Getting "Squeezed Out"

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336w ago - Following the release of April NPD data, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg says that he respects his competitors, but claims Sony in particular is getting "squeezed out" of the console war.

Below are the excerpts from a phone interview from Thursday with director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Aaron Greenberg, who comments on the sales of GTA IV, the fight for market share and how Microsoft still doesn't consider the Wii a direct competitor.

First, there are the hardware figures. GTA IV didn't seem to move consoles in the few days in April that it was on sale. We didn't see very impressive hardware figures from the two platforms that the game was available on. Will we see the hardware lift in May?

I think May will be a better barometer for GTA's impact on hardware sales. I think GTA is the type of franchise that is unique and does perform differently. It reaches a different type of customer than other big titles in our industry, and those mainstream buyers don't necessarily buy hardware the day a game comes out. I think we'll see a much longer tail with this game. That said, we're very pleased with the numbers... NPD validated what we had heard and seen from our retailers [regarding sales of GTA IV on 360 vs. PS3].

...From our standpoint, we feel good about having...
 

Kojima: Japanese Game Leadership Becoming a Thing of the Past

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336w ago - While Metal Gear Solid 4 looks set to take the video gaming world by storm, Hideo Kojima is lamenting the fact that Japan is no longer "molding the world's gaming industry."

Yesterday, Konami held a press conference confirming that development on Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots had concluded and that the game has gone gold. Series creator Hideo Kojima took the stage and talked about the game's development and how pleased he is with how it has turned out. He also made some comments about overall trends in the industry towards casual games and, in general, how the industry is no longer steered by Japan.

"Casual games have become mainstream in the industry," declared Kojima. "It's not just a Japanese phenomenon but also something that's happening worldwide. There are new markets and possibilities opening up thanks to the trend, which is great. But on the other hand, we shouldn't forget about the hardcore gamers whose lives are about videogames.

The gamers who consider video games a subculture, and enjoy taking their time to sit down and play games that gives them energy and courage. I wanted to remind those gamers about the fun of video games. I know that we're going against the trend, but we've been working hard for the past four years so that the fire [of non-casual games] won't...
 
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