Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Halo 3 hits 1 million pre-orders

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Halo 3 hits 1 million pre-orders
10-08-2007 /
by Cian Ginty

Halo 3 has already reached 1 million pre-orders in North America alone, making it the fastest selling pre-ordered game in history.

Over a month before it’s set to hit shelves, Halo 3, one of the most eagerly-awaited titles of the year, has apparently reached the million mark of pre-orders and set a new precedent for the video games market, according to Microsoft.

“What we’ve experienced is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Bob McKenzie senior vice president of merchandising at games retailer GameStop, in Microsoft’s press release. “Halo 3 has eclipsed many previous records and will prove to be one of the must-have items of 2007.”

Originally intended for a PC launch, the first Halo game went on to be the showpiece title for Microsoft’s Xbox console, and the series has continued to be a keystone title on the Xbox ever since. The third Halo game from Bungie Studios is expected to hold the same key place on the Xbox 360 console.

After some minimal online and “guerrilla” marketing Microsoft is now lining up large mainstream campaigns to push the game even further both in North America and Europe. In order to promote the game in the US Microsoft is making deals with large brands such as Burger King, 7-Eleven, and Mountain Dew.

“This September, Halo 3 will push video game entertainment into the forefront of mainstream culture,” said Chris Di Cesare, Microsoft’s director of creative marketing. “Teaming up with some of the world’s strongest and most recognizable brands is trailblazing new paths and cementing video games as big entertainment on par with major event films, and is a testament to the excitement and anticipation intrinsically linked to Halo 3.”

The game is to be released in three editions; standard, limited and ‘legendary’ — the extra edition coming with extras such as artwork and behind-the-scenes documentaries, and even a figure of the main character’s head. Halo 3 is due on 26 September in Europe and a day earlier in the US.

First Irish games rental service launches

Monday, June 29th, 2009

First Irish games rental service launches
by Cian Ginty

GameSenders, operating from, has just launched as Ireland’s first online games rental service.

Currently with just one employee, the Clonmel-based small company with big ambitions is looking to take a bite out of the Irish games rental market.

“With regard to renting from GameSenders compared to real world, well, the obvious advantage is overheads and the savings acquired can be passed to my members through cheaper rentals,” claims Neil Jones, who describes himself as the CEO, CFO, VP, chairman, GM and all-round dogsbody of GameSenders.

The online rental firm says it is the only Irish company renting games for the Nintedo Wii and DS consoles, and claims that it has Ireland’s largest selection of games on next generation consoles.

Talking to ENN, Jones said, “members of the service pay a set monthly fee and this is all they pay, there is no hidden fees or contracts to worry about. Initially I will hold a stock of games that I feel will be in demand; however, it will be the wish list of each member that will dictate future releases to be presented for rental.”

The rental service comes at three monthly pricing levels – ‘bronze’ with one game at a time and a max of two per month at EUR14.99; ‘silver’, also one game at a time but unlimited rentals per month at EUR18.99; and ‘gold’, which introduces the option of two games at a time at EUR24.99.

The GameSenders catalogue currently includes games for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Nintendo’s DS and Wii.

Jones, who says he is an avid gamer, feels that the new service will fill a gap in the market by delivering games directly to users’ doors at reasonable pricing.

“I’m fortunate to have a professional group of backers who are committed to the success of GameSenders through financial, accounting and marketing support. To date I have used a ‘brass neck’ attitude in supply and storage negotiations setting the business up, and have been pretty successful. Right now the time has come to take things to the next level.”

Sony enjoys the happier Christmas

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Sony enjoys the happier Christmas
Monday January 7, 2008
The Irish Times
By Cian Ginty

Sony’s Playstation dominated Christmas computer game sales, according to industry game charts, despite its struggles in the ongoing global “console war” with nintendo’s Wii console and Microsoft’s Xbox360, writes Cian Ginty.

A detailed breakdown of the charts show that, across its console range, the Japanese company has been holding well against competition.

The most popular game this Christmas, according to the chart, is FIFA 08. Sony’s PlayStation 2 accounted for 34 per cent of title sales with PlayStation 3 at 20 per cent, PlayStation Portable at 19 per cent. Microsoft Xbox 360 only managed 14 per cent of sales for that game.

In second place, Assassin’s Creed had 56 per cent sales in PlayStation 3, and 44 per cent in Xbox 360. The PlayStations 2 and 3 outranked the Xbox 360 for nearly every title on the top 20 Irish Games Charts. Two exceptions were Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, at No 4, where the Xbox had just over 50 per cent, and Guitar Hero III Legends Of Rock, at No 12, with 37 per cent.

Nintendo’s portable DS console performed well with three of the only format “exclusive” games in the top 10. The portable DS has a long history of having high software attachment rates. The Wii on the other hand appears to be following in the footsteps of its predecessor – selling well in hardware terms, but lacking when it comes to games sales.

“We are extremely happy with the business we have done on all our platforms, in particular PS3. There’s no doubt Ireland is a PlayStation market,” said Niall O’Hanrahan, managing director at Sony Computer Entertainment Ireland.

However, Microsoft noted that two of the larger Irish games retailers – Smyth’s and Gamestop – are not on the list. Microsoft takes issue with this. “The Chart-track data is not representative of the Irish market as it does not include sales from Smyths and Gamestop [Gamestop is the largest video games retailer in Ireland].”

The charts, however, give the only available independent snapshot of the market. They include sales from Xtra-vision, Game, Tesco, Argos, PC World and other retailers, including sales of Jersey-based online retailer that were addressed to Ireland. It is compiled by Chart-Track at the point of sale. The firm also publishes the Irish music charts and the UK games charts.

“Xbox Ireland enjoyed an excellent Christmas season. With the biggest line-up of games, the continued success of Halo 3 and the launch of the Xbox 360 Arcade, there was something on offer for all consumer segments,” the Microsoft spokesman said.

The Xbox manufacturer said it did not release country-by-country numbers.

Microsoft aims to get casual gamers turned onto Xbox

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Microsoft aims to get casual gamers turned onto Xbox
Friday, August 22, 2008
The Irish Times
Cian Ginty

MICROSOFT IS stepping up attempts to attract a wider range of consumers to its Xbox 360 games consoles with the bait of casual games that reject traditional games controllers

Two of the main casual titles set for the Xbox 360 use non-standard controllers – the karaoke game Lips, which uses wireless microphones, and You’re in the Movies, which is controlled by an Xbox Live camera – and are due for release by the end of the year.

“I think for a lot of people holding a games controller is a barrier in its self – holding a microphone anyone can do. Singing a song anyone can do, and women love to sing songs, girls love to get up and sing songs,” says Alex Weller, brand experience manager for Xbox 360, to the backdrop of female journalists singing into Xbox microphones in a London hotel.

Lips, unlike previous singing games, comes with the ability to play tracks from an MP3 player connected to the 360 console rather than just a set playlist – although Microsoft is still in talks with record companies about the legal niceties.

The pre-Christmas releases include a second edition of the film quiz Scene It?, first released for the Christmas market last year with controllers that looked inspired by the Playstation 2′s popular Buzz!.

These casual game controllers have allowed Xbox to target potential buyers more easily. Microsoft says over 20,000 people played Rock Band at the Xbox Live stage at this summer’s Oxegen music festival. At a smaller event last weekend in the Bernard Shaw bar in Dublin, Rock Band was also used with its guitar and drums as controllers. “You get people interested after they first think it’s a real band playing,” said a Microsoft spokesman.

Weller says from a range of “female press and very broad lifestyle press”, the reaction has been “phenomenal”. But that should not be too much of a surprise given Sony’s take on karaoke – SingStar – managed to attract women before, and Buzz! generated tales of families missing out on Christmas Day television to play the quiz game.

The rival Wii console from Nintendo has already seen success by using a non-standard controller with sensors and bundling the console with a set of simple games. It was towards the end of the last hardware cycle of game consoles where new types of controllers were introduced to attract the masses. For the PlayStation 2, Sony released controls in the form of a camera named EyeToy, microphones for the SingStar karaoke games, and four-player miniature TV game show devices for Buzz!.

This time around, the Wii has a head start and Sony’s casual strategy is already in place for the PlayStation 3. One way or another, Microsoft is playing catch up, even if the company is in a bit of denial.

“Xbox 360 has a really strong gaming heritage, it always has done, and we continue to make fantastic games for the gamer. What we’re doing now is using our knowledge of making games to create games for a much broader audience,” said Weller.

“I don’t think there is a boat to miss, the gaming industry is really strong right now – Wii is carving a certain path and PlayStation is carving a certain path, and we’re carving our path.”

While the console maker now talks of “connecting people to the entertainment” and of downloadable film content, the hardcore gamers are not being abandoned. The line-up of games due for release proves this; the focus is just being widened.