- Chris Morris at Games Blog1 hr ago
To say the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are off to a strong start is the understatement of the year.
The November sales of both systems topped not only the first month of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 - but sold more units than their predecessors did in their first three to four months following their launches, according to BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams.
"According to NPD data, the PS4 and Xbox One sold through more than 1.1 million and 900,000 units, respectively, in the US during November," said Williams. "In the prior cycle, the PS3 and Xbox 360 took more than four months and three months, respectively, to reach comparable installed bases."
One downside of that success is the tie ratio for systems - that is, the number of games sold with each console - is down, per the NPD numbers. Right now, people buying a next generation system are purchasing two games to go along with it. That compares to an average of three games at the last system launch.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In19 hrs ago
What a difference a couple new consoles makes.
Overall, when hardware, software and accessories -- including subscription cards for Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus -- were added up, the industry posted sales of $2.7 billion at retail stores last month, a 7 percent increase over 2012, reports the NPD Group.
Much of that can be attributed to the rebounding sales of video game hardware, which were up 58 percent in November to $1.3 billion as consumers snatched up the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
But which one sold better? That depends on who you ask, apparently.
In a statement, Microsoft claimed victory in the early sales race.
“November NPD Group figures released today revealed 909,132 Xbox One units were sold in the U.S. in the console’s first nine days, making it the fastest-selling console on the market in the U.S.” the company said. “Xbox One sales averaged a volume of more than 101,000 consoles per day, significantly outpacing the nearest competitor.”
Sony disputed Microsoft's claim that the Xbox One was the top-selling console in the country, though.
- Gordon Cameron at Games Blog22 hrs ago
Last year, video illusionist Brusspup wowed us with a technique called ‘scanimation’ – basically, creating a short cartoon by passing a transparent overlay (printed with bars of a fixed width) over a static image that ‘contains’ several frames of animation within it. It sounds complicated, but the effect is simple, low-tech, and very do-it-yourself-able.
Bruss has refined his technique, incorporating shades of gray for a more realistic, three-dimensional effect. You’ll see this improvement in three of the animations below, including a liquid ripple animation that could almost be CGI if you didn’t know better (though Bruss’ adorable cat is real, we think).
To see more of Brusspup’s illusions, visit his YouTube Channel.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In23 hrs ago
When Sega first released Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to iOS devices a few years ago, the reviews weren't great.
On Thursday, the company announced plans to remaster the game for mobile users, and in the process made it one of the most anticipated updates around for classic gaming fans.
The reason? The update offers more than the usual minor tweaks. It will include a level called the Hidden Palace Zone that was never officially released, but has become something of a legend over the past 20 years.
Android users will be able to get the game -- and the secret level -- for the first time tomorrow. iOS users will be able to download the update for free.
Initially planned as an area that became available once players collected all of the game's Chaos Emeralds, the Hidden Palace Zone was scrapped midway through development and never made it into the final game. The public only became aware of it when it leaked out via ROMs of the game.
- CNET at Games Blog1 day ago
Some say playing video games is a waste of time. But it earned South Korea's Dong-hwan "Violet" Kim a career in the United States.
By Tim Hornyak, CNET
South Korea's Dong-hwan "Violet" Kim has earned nearly $100,000 playing video games. Now, he also has a US professional athlete visa to boast about.
The visa is for those "coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance," according to the U.S. government.
The visa allows Kim to travel and earn money in the US for the next five years. Apparently, efforts to obtain a visa caused Kim some stress.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In2 days ago
It's a dead heat between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Microsoft says sales of its next-generation console have topped 2 million in 18 days. That's roughly on par with the PlayStation 4, which sold 2.1 million units in 15 days.
"We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of strategy and marketing, Xbox. "We are thrilled to see sales of Xbox One on a record-setting pace, with over 2 million Xbox One consoles in homes around the world. Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers."
The strong sales are a coup for Microsoft, who was considered something of an underdog after the console’s bungled reveal around the E3 expo. The Xbox One costs $100 more than the PS4, and the walkup to the system's launch saw Microsoft scrambling to make major changes in reaction to consumer complaints.
- CNET at Games Blog2 days ago
The best-laid schemes of mice and... well, mice. Intimidating opponents is even easier when playing chess with dead mice. Artist Rachael Garcia explains why having a chess set you can pet is fun.
By Bonnie Burton, CNET
Yelling "Checkmate!" is even more rewarding with a dead mouse clasped in your hand. Or that appears to be the thinking behind this one-of-a-kind wooden chessboard that comes with taxidermy mice dressed as kings, queens, rooks, knights, bishops, and pawns.
Created by Florida-based artist Rachael Garcia, the unusual taxidermy chess set is made with white and brown mice that were originally destined to be snake snacks.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In3 days ago
Today's big game launches are massive media events. Die-hard fans brave all sorts of weather to line up, stores open at midnight, and CEOs hand out the first few copies.
But even the carnival atmosphere of today's biggest titles pales compared to the launch of the seminal, controversial first-person Doom, which made its debut 20 years ago today.
Late on Dec. 9, 1993, a small group of programmers in the id Software offices sat bleary-eyed, staring at a computer. It was almost midnight, and they had just completed a 30-hour QA session, hoping to squash the last few bugs in the game before the its official release date of Dec. 10.
A computer administrator at the University of Wisconsin, David Datta, had agreed to let id upload the game to the school's FTP site so fans could download it and share it with others. When midnight arrived and the team hit 'upload,' it should have launched a new era -- but the upload failed.
- Ben Silverman at Games Blog3 days ago
Spike TV handed out tons of awards during its three-hour livestreamed awards show this weekend – and no offense to Game of the Year winner GTA V, but the real star of the show was the wealth of new video game trailers and announcements.
Missed the show? No worries – thanks to Yahoo Screen, we’ve got clips of all the biggest reveals right here. Stream away!
Telltale Games: A Game of Thrones The team behind spectacular episodic games based on The Walking Dead and Fables will take its talents to Westeros.
No Man's Sky Looking for the Next Big Thing? A tiny indie team at Hello Games stole the show with this ambitious open-world space game.
Telltale Games: Tales from the Borderlands Telltale hit a double by also revealing work on an adventure game set in the rough-and-tumble world of Borderlands. Yes, that Borderlands.
Broken Age Tim Schafer and Double Fine have been hard at work on this Kickstarted adventure game, and this gorgeous trailer proves it.
- Gordon Cameron at Plugged In3 days ago
When it comes to the Transportation Security Administration’s baggage-confiscation policy, no monkey is safe. Even fake ones.
As Seattle’s King 5 News reports, Redmond, WA resident Phyllis May was going through security at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, en route to a plane flight back home, when she was stopped by a TSA Agent because a gun was found among her bags.
Technically speaking, that's accurate. Not technically speaking, the “gun” was about two inches long, made of plastic, and was being worn in a holster by a sock monkey named Rooster Monkburn. (Yes, that’s a takeoff on the grizzled hero of the Western novel “True Grit” and its film adaptations.)
May, as it happens, runs a small business selling such sock dolls, though that was lost on the TSA Agent, who insisted on confiscating the tiny gun and told May she was supposed to call the police.
Her reply will echo through the ages:
"She said 'this is a gun,'" said May. "I said no, it's not a gun, it's a prop for my monkey."