Microsoft and Disney sign Download Pact

xbox disney pactTivo and Amazon cut out the need to use a PC from their video download service earlier this week.  Tivo equipped users can now buy downloadable movies straight from their remote controls if their DVR is hooked up to a broadband Internet connection.  Microsoft similarly cut out the PC for movie downloads when it enabled a PC-free movie rental service through its Xbox gaming platform and website Xbox Live about a year ago.

At the video gaming industry’s leading trade show in Santa Monica, Microsoft and Disney announced a deal to expand the titles available on Microsoft’s service. 

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Bring your Glove and DS: Nintendo and Baseball?

What’s wrong with this picture:  it’s summertime, a humid, sunny Saturday afternoon.  Father and son, Mother, daughter, the family, they all pack themselves in the car to fight traffic and parking headaches to go to that venerable of institutions – a professional baseball game.  There, the Red Sox are beating the Yankees at Fenway, the fans singing Sweet Caroline.  Seats vibrate from the collective noise.  The Jumbotron scoreboard announces a birthday.  The scent of roasted peanuts fills the air.  The crowd does a giant wave.  A fly ball goes just foul.  Vendors chuck hot dogs and crackerjacks.  Cheering kids have their gloves at the ready to catch a foul ball.  And you, you’ve brought a video game console?

nintendo baseballVideo game console?  Huh?  I don’t remember that in the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."  It’s sure not part of the father-son baseball outings I remember.

What it is, however,  is a story about the kind of  inventive product repurposing that professional product marketers dream about and just such a thing is going on.

Up in Washington, in Mariner country at Safeco field, Nintendo of America  is running an experiment with its best selling portable console, the DS Lite. Click to Read More

Gaming Co. Trion raises $30m

trionThe gaming industry is valued at $37.5b by some measurements and growing.  The Asian Pacific market is expected to be nearly $19b by 2011. 81% of American youth play video games at least a month. Despite such staggering numbers, if you read the words of Electronic Arts CEO, all is not rosy.  Games are becoming too complex, too involved and alienating the mass-market. Their producers are also failing to innovate. So said John Riccitiello in Yesterdays Wallstreet Journal where he was quoted commenting that the industry is "making games that are harder and harder to play" and that "for the most part, the industry has been rinse and repeat."  And he’s right. 

Statistics show the competition for leisure time and entertainment is incredibly fierce and even with convergence in hardware (which now include DVD players and Internet connections) helping expand the gaming marketplace in some ways, the same competition is requiring game publishers and developers to tread carefully; mistakes are costly. A missed opportunity to get a game to market (e.g. a gamble on the wrong platform) or a weak showing from a game with expensive development costs could be a heavy drag on revenues for months.

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Confirmed PS3 Price Cut and New Model

ps3 In the wake of a week where Microsoft has been direct about manufacturing issues, Sony has been inconsistent about pricing.  A rumor was reported as unconfirmed last week and denied. It’s now being widely reported again and being confirmed. 

Sony, which has struggled to gain market-share for its high powered (and the industry’s highest priced) gaming console, will cut prices on its flagship PS3 platform.  Effective Thursday, the price for the console will drop by $100 to $499. (It will be the same price as a previously discontinued 20gb model which was phased out in April as a result of poor sales)

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Xbox 360: A billion dollar charge

Thursday, under pressure from competition and complaints about inadequate manufacturing, Microsoft proactively announced substantial changes to the warranty for its Xbox 360 gaming platform.  The company also disclosed they would take an accounting charge in an amount likely above $1b to cover costs related to high repair rates.

xbox360In the gaming industry, Nintendo has been dominating the home console market with a less advanced console that wins on “Wow” factor and user-experience over technology.   That hasn’t stopped Microsoft and Sony from competing for second place with bigger and better technology.

Between the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 (PS3) the two have been doing battle with high-power high feature platforms for the title of top tech centric “next generation console.”  Microsoft, though short of its June sales targets (which were adjusted downward in January), has held the advantage with shipments of around 11.6 million units in total, and solid month to month sales. In May, the Xbox 360 outsold the PS3 by a factor of two to one. (Click here for full May sales data)

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By The Numbers (Part 3 of 3): More Media Statistics

It’s been said that “statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”  Similarly, Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed Sherlock Holmes once spouted off that it’s “a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”

statsThese days there’s usual more data than there is time to process it, and much might leave even Sherlock scratching his head, still some of the raw data can be revealing.  Over the past few weeks, Metue has published two collections of raw statistics (Click for Part one and Part two). Here’s part three of the three part series showcasing a sampling of recent media statistics that to lend themselves to insights into the crossed, intersecting world of media, entertainment and technology.

(Editors Note: In future weeks, a dedicated page may be added to Metue to house more of this kind of information. Stay tuned. Several site additions are in development or under consideration ):

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Wii: Open for Development

Want to create your own game to play on the Nintendo Wii? Now those capably skilled can do just that.

Today, Nintendo announced it is opening the popular Wii platform to independent developers.  From the weekend-warrior computer geek to professional studios,  people will be able to put together their own efforts, and sell the results, using tools called WiiWare and a Nintendo retail channel called Wii Shop. The retail channel will open after the holiday season in early 2008.

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