Coffee Talk #37: Console Wars XXVIII — Black Friday

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the Saints beating up on the Patriots, banning Canadian boxing judges Alan Davis and Benoit Roussel, or the Shakespeare play you want to see in videogame form, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As expected, it was a huge week for the “big three” console companies. All three did well during Black Friday weekend. Let’s take a look at some of the (American) results.

PS3 vs Xbox 360

  • Nintendo claimed that it sold more than 550,000 Wii systems. Adding in the DS and DSi, the company said that it sold more than 1.5-million pieces of hardware. To steal a line from Shelton Benjamin’s music, “Ain’t no stoppin’ me, now!!!”
  • Sony claimed its best week ever (not EVAR!!!) for the PlayStation 3, selling more than 440,000 units. With a recent price cut and the introduction of the PS3 Slim, Sony has a huge opportunity to gain marketshare. It looks like the company is making the most of it.
  • Microsoft hasn’t cited numbers yet, curiously. The company is putting on a positive front, claiming that it has its best week of 2009 and sold twice as many Xbox 360 systems during Thanksgiving week than it did the previous one.

Nintendo’s continued success isn’t surprising. Most people expected Sony to do well, but the company probably exceeded many expectations. Microsoft’s statements were the most curious. By not citing numbers and using the “we did better than last week” stance, the company looks lame. Maybe its number crunchers are behind and it will put out a strong press release later today, but for now MS looks like a chump.

What are your thoughts on the latest round of the console wars? Will Sony be able to continue its momentum this holiday season? I know you Wii haters out there are hoping for a sharp decline from Nintendo, but do you really think that’s going to happen? And what’s up with Microsoft’s weak-sauce statements?

CNet UK Poll Shows 60% Failure Rate for Xbox 360

Xbox 360 RROD smallA recent poll by CNet UK showed that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 failed way more than Nintedo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3. The poll found that “60% of the respondents indicating that their 360 had failed at some point. Sony’s PlayStation 3 broke for 16% of those who took part in the poll, while the Wii stopped working for just 6%.” Here are some other interesting results:

  • 32% said their Xbox 360 console broke twice
  • 19% claimed Xbox 360 broke three or more times
  • The 360 failure rate fell to 34 percent for respondents who had purchased a console since January 2008

It’s important to note that 1,128 people took the poll, with 591 owning a Wii, 562 owning an Xbox 360 and 473 possessing a PS3. The sample is very small and hardly random. While Microsoft has certainly improved the reliability of newer Xbox 360 models, the figures are still pretty severe. Besides, it’s always fun to look at poll results like these.

As some of you know, my Xbox 360 Elite red ringed twice. My other systems have been fine. How about you? Any of your consoles break down?


Sony Details PS3 Firmware Update v3.10

Sony has revealed some new details on PlayStation firmware update v3.10. One of the most interesting features of the update is Facebook integration. Other goodies include:

  • The Photo category on the XMB has been revamped to make it easier to see more of your photos stored on the PS3.
  • The PSN Friends List has been modified based on feedback we received after update 3.00. Additionally, you can now choose a color for your PSN ID on the XMB.

Check out the video above for more 411. I know some of you aren’t big on Facebook on consoles, but it’s an important feature for Sony to have in order to compete with Microsoft in a bullet point fight.


NPD Hardware Sales Figures for October 2009

Console Wars!!!
Console Wars!!!

NPD Group has issued its console hardware sales data for October 2009. Was Nintendo’s Wii price cut put it back on top? Could Sony continue it’s momentum after an excellent September? Let’s take a look at the numbers!

  • Wii: 506,900
  • Nintendo DS: 457,600
  • PlayStation 3: 320,600
  • Xbox 360: 249,700
  • PSP: 174,600
  • PlayStation 2: 117,800

So yeah, Nintendo’s “fad” of a console reclaimed its crown. It will be interesting to see if the Wii can keep the top spot in the crucial months of November and December. Sony has to be disappointed in its drop off, while Microsoft is surely snickering at its rival’s decline. That said, it’s not like MS didn’t slide as well.

What do you make off October’s numbers? Any predictions for November?

NPD Console Sales Figures Top 10 Games of October 2009

NPD Group has released its console software sales information for October 2009. The month pretty much went as expected with Sony’s Uncharted 2 and Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus leading the way. There was one very pleasant surprise in October. Check out the list and see for yourself.

Uncharted 2

  1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3): 537,000
  2. Wii Fit Plus (Wii): 441,000
  3. Borderlands (Xbox 360): 418,000
  4. Wii Sports Resort (Wii): 314,000
  5. NBA 2K10 (Xbox 360): 311,000
  6. Halo 3 ODST (Xbox 360): 271,000
  7. NBA 2K10 (PS3): 213,000
  8. Forza Motorsport 3 (Xbox 360): 175,000
  9. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS): 169,000
  10. FIFA Soccer 10 (Xbox 360): 156,000

Borderlands did way better than most people were expecting. Sandwiched between ODST and Modern Warfare 2, most people — including renowned analyst Michael Pachter — thought that the game was going to take a pounding. Instead, it sold very well. This makes me happy on several levels. It’s completely immature, but I love it when Pachter is wrong. More importantly, I’m thrilled for Gearbox’s success. Well done guys!

Anything on October’s NPD software list surprise you?

Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime Calls Out Rivals’ Motion Controls

Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime dismissed the motion controllers coming from rivals Microsoft and Sony at BMO Capital Markets’ Digital Entertainment conference in New York. According to Gamasutra, the Reginator said:

All of this talk around new motion controllers does make me think about the people who initially said that the Wii Remote was just a fad. I wonder what happened to those people?

Yes, it could be that our current 100 percent marketshare in motion control could lose a couple of points, but…with a head-start of over 51 million controllers, I still like our chances.

Reggie Fils-Aime 2

I still find it amusing that people consider the Wii a fad. Merriam Webster defines a fad as “a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal”. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Nintendo has been outselling the competition for years. The Wii has consistently outsold the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. People are still buying more of these consoles today than any of the others. Explain to Reggie and me (mostly to me, because Reggie will zap you with his eye beams) how this is a fad.


Tekken 6 Runs Faster on Xbox 360 Than PlayStation 3

Tekken 6

Gamers that are still deciding which version of Tekken 6 to pick up might want to consider Gemaga’s recent test on comparative load times. Kotaku did some handy translating and discovered that the game loads faster on Xbox 360:

According to Gemaga, it takes over thirty seconds (33 seconds, to be exact) to change a character and change a stage running the actual game disc on the PS3, compared with the 11 seconds it takes to start a fight on the Xbox 360 using the game disc.

If you’re serious about fighting games, there’s a lot to consider. If you’re playing on a pad then PS3 is the way to go. If you have sticks for both systems, 1/3 the load time makes the 360 version awfully appealing. It’s interesting that the difference is so substantial. What do you guys and gals think?

Source via Kotaku

Gamers Defecting From Xbox 360 to PlayStation 3 for Sequels?

Assassins Creed 2

According to research firm OTX, a lot of gamers are planning to buy sequels (Assassin’s Creed 2 and Modern Warfare 2, in particular) on the PlayStation 3 for games that they original played on the Xbox 360. Gamasutra has reported:

New data provided to Gamasutra by OTX’s GamePlan Insights finds that many sequel-buyers might be switching platforms, defecting from Xbox 360 to PlayStation 3 for more than one major release.

“The PS3 seems poised to shift the ratio of Xbox 360 to PS3 sales for most major multi-platform releases in its favor among dual owners,” [analyst Nick] Williams tells us.

This is an interesting trend that I’ve been noticing with some friends. A lot of my gamer pals that are new to the PS3 — mostly players that purchased a PS3 Slim — are buying multiplatform games for their Sony system, simply to build up their libraries. Does this apply to any of you?


Coffee Talk #17: PS3 vs. Xbox 360 Controller Battle!

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Ozzy Osbourne hosting Monday Night Raw, Apple possibly getting into subscription television, or the French press vs. drip machine debate, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Prior to this console generation, Sony was the undisputed king of console controllers. Then out of nowhere (at least, that’s how it seemed to me), the Xbox 360 controller took the throne. Personally, I don’t get it. I love the shape of the Dual Shock, prefer its more precise analog sticks, and hate the d-pad on the 360 controller. All that said, I understand why the Xbox 360 became so popular. It all started last console generation….

xbox 360 ps3 controllers slider

Shooters became prominent on consoles. Initially, shooter aficionados scoffed at the idea of playing with anything that wasn’t a mouse and keyboard. As consoles became more popular and PC gaming less popular, a lot of gamers begrudgingly lived out their World War II and space-marine fantasies on consoles. Eventually, the control schemes became better and more precise. A lot of shooter fans — especially Americans — preferred the larger Xbox and Xbox 360 controllers for shooting.

The Type-S controller for the original Xbox is also worth mentioning. The original Xbox controller was a giant piece of crap. The Type-S was much, much better — especially for shooters. The Xbox 360 pad is a nice evolution of the Type-S. Sony’s Dual Shock 3, on the other hand, isn’t much of a progression from the Dual Shock 2. Some, myself included, will argue that the company was right not to stray from an already excellent design. Others will say that Microsoft’s advancements give it an edge. I guess there’s something to be said about going to crap (original Xbox controller) to very good (Xbox 360 pad).

Anyway, I want to know which controller you prefer and why. Do you dig the small footprint and classic design of the Dual Shock 3? Or do you like the larger and more evolved Xbox 360 pad?

Sony Motion Controller Not Complete, Still in Early Days

Sony Motion Controller 2

Sony’s sex toy of doom motion controller is set to compete with Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Project Natal some time in 2010, by most accounts. Nintendo has found remarkable success with its motion controller and Microsoft appears to be close to entering the fray. Sony, while arguably having the most impressive tech of the three, seems two steps behind (like Def Leppard). In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said:

We are also still working on the motion controller; it’s not complete. We are making changes to the hardware, so we really want to wait until we feel confident enough about giving the audience a chance to try it out. We are making progress, though, and we wanted to show at least snippets of games in that are in development.

We are still in the very early days of motion control development. We have had discussions with the company management where we discussed if we approach this as a peripheral or a platform and we agree that this has huge potential — so we position this as a hardware platform. The initiative was from the Worldwide Studios, but this has to be designed so that many different kinds of games from all publishers can participate in this hardware platform.

I’m definitely excited to play with Sony’s wand (that sounds gross), but I have to wonder about the product’s timing. If its motion controller is released significantly after Project Natal, Sony will be playing catch-up to its competitors. It doesn’t matter if its controller has the highest fidelity; the customers that Sony will attract with this product won’t care and will have had plenty of time to consider the Wii and Xbox 360.

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