The Last of Us holds the #1 spot on UK charts for second week

The Last of UsFor the second week in a row, The Last of Us continues to reign supreme at the top of the UK charts. Following Naughty Dog’s masterpiece is Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which continues to hold steady at #2, unable to take the top spot. This has been a quiet week: MotoGP 13, the only new release on the charts, only managed to breach the top 20 chart at 15.

FIFA 13 came in at third and Tomb Raider at fourth. Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 did jump to fifth due to a newly bestowed £10 price tag on both consoles.

Top 10 UK Software Sales (All Formats); week ending June 22:

  1. The Last of Us
  2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  3. FIFA 13
  4. Tomb Raider
  5. Max Payne 3
  6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  7. Far Cry 3
  8. Injustice: Gods Among Us
  9. Assassin’s Creed 3
  10. Grid 2

Sony to GameStop: “the flood gates are open” for PS4 pre-orders

sony-gamestop-ps4-memoGameStop sent out a memo this morning to their employees notifying them that Sony has allowed them to start taking “unlimited” pre-orders for the PS4, saying: “Starting now, through this weekend and until further notice, Sony has allowed us to take unlimited preorders beyond your current allotments. In other-words, the flood gates are open for PS4 system reserves, we will let you know when to stop preordering based on limited quantities.”  GameTrailers, who initially published the leaked memo, also noted that apparently one GameStop store started with 24 PS4 pre-orders, and saw that number rise to 138 by the day’s end. Speaking with SCEA CEO Jack Tretton last week, GameStop execs reportedly stated that they’d buy every single unit that could be manufactured.

“Starting now, through this weekend and until further notice, Sony has allowed us to take unlimited preorders beyond your current allotments. In other-words, the flood gates are open for PS4 system reserves, we will let you know when to stop preordering based on limited quantities.”

It looks like the flood gates have opened. Who’s placed a pre-order yet, or plans on reserving a PlayStation 4? Any thoughts on whether or not there will be shortages? Sound off in the comments below.

DICE’s Patrick Bach: Battlefield 4 competition “beneficial for everyone”

Battlefield 3Battlefield 4 is facing some fierce competition this fall, especially from Call of Duty: Ghosts, followed by Destiny and Titanfall post release, but DICE’s Patrick Bach remains confident, believing that competition for Battlefield 4 is good for the industry.

In an interview with Gamespot, he also mentioned that he’s working hard to ensure that the franchise doesn’t get diluted, saying “I think [competition is] beneficial for everyone … Consumers, first, of course, they get more choice. For us, we need to think about what is Battlefield really about so we don’t dilute the franchise in any way. We need to focus down on what makes Battlefield awesome, and make it even more awesome.”

“And I think Battlefield 4 hopefully is a good testament that we’re doing that. I can’t really see any downside to having multiple games being great. I’m happy for the consumer, first, and I think we will step up our game to fight the competition even harder. We think we have the best game; we need to prove it.”

Expect to see Battlefield 4 hit store shelves in October for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. The PS4 and Xbox One editions will be released when the consoles launch.

Hitman developer IO Interactive cuts half of staff

IO InteractiveIO Interactive has announced the layoffs of half of their staff. The developer of Hitman Absolution sent out a statement, saying “we are making significant changes at IO Interactive as we align our business against a changing and challenging market.” Former Production Director Hannes Seifert will be manning the helm as the company’s new Studio Head.

With a less than expansionary outlook for the future, the company announced that from here on out, they’ll “focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new triple-A Hitman project,” while making “difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today’s market.” The statement concludes with:

“For those affected, we are extremely grateful for the hard work which they have contributed, and where it’s possible and appropriate to relocate staff to open positions at other studios within the group, we will try to do so. We are also reaching out to other companies for outplacement opportunities. We sincerely wish them well in their future careers.

Meanwhile, if you are part of a company that is looking for additional development talent, please contact us directly at info@ioi.dk.”

The Last of Us coming May 7, catch the official VGA 2012 trailer

After being unveiled at the VGAs last Friday, the official story trailer for Naughty Dog’s upcoming The Last of Us leaked to the internet for everyone to see. And if you were expecting an Uncharted-like experience, you won’t find it here. In this latest trailer, the Infected make their first appearance in in-game footage, death is everywhere, humans are just as dangerous as ever, and survivors have anything but an easy, well, survival.

Naughty Dog announced that The Last of Us is scheduled for a May 7th North American and European release date.

Rumor: PS3 coming September 2013, named PlayStation Omni

ps3The guys over at Dual Pixels claim to have unearthed information about the PS3’s upcoming successor. According to their source, the PlayStation 4 will not be named after the PlayStation 3, but will be given the name PlayStation Omni.

Apparently the PS Omni’s hardware will be able to produce graphics as well as Direct X 11-backed technology, like Unreal Engine 4 and Frostbite 2. The Omni will be superior than the Wii U, which is expected, but not significantly — the same source says that the new Xbox will be more powerful than the Omni. Continue reading

Black Friday: 525k PS3s and over 160k Vitas sold

While the Xbox 360 sold 750,000 units on Black Friday, Sony’s Black Friday sale also proved to be a success (a highly needed one), with the company moving over 525,000 PS3s and 160,000 Vitas (finally, some more positives for the handheld). On the shopping holiday, PS3 bundle sales increased by 15%, while total hardware, software, and peripheral sales increased too. Sony attributed the success to the Ultimate PlayStation Value Bundle, which included a 250GB PS3 and the Uncharted Dual Pack and inFAMOUS Collection for $199, and “Quickly sold out at retailers across the U.S.”

The Vita, which really needed the boost in sales numbers, also managed to move units off store shelves. The Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation bundle sold out at retail in less than five hours, while the Black Ops: Declassified and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Bundles were gone by week’s end. Also, PlayStation Plus subscriptions jumped by 259% compared to last Black Friday’s number.

Well done, Sony.

First-year Black Ops 2 sales could be down by 15%, says analyst

Although Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 raked in over $500 million on launch day, Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia claims that the game’s sales during its first year “could ultimately be down 10 to 15% year-over-year.” In an industry note, the analyst noted:

“Our checks show initial sales of CoD: Black Ops 2 at some retailers were down as much as 20%. Subsequently, it appears sales of CoD did pick up a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday. We think the current sales curve suggests unit sales in its first year could ultimately be down 10 to 15% year-over-year.

 

If we are right, this would be the second year in a row this critical franchise will have seen units decline. We estimate CoD generates 40 to 45% of the company’s EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) on an annual basis and it goes without saying that weakness in this franchise is a cause for concern.”

If you’re having a hard time believing this, you’re probably not alone. The analyst does offer up two good reasons for the future decline: Halo 4 and customers waiting for the holiday sales to start rolling out.

Ubisoft: prolonged console cycles are bad for the industry

Ubisoft CEO Yves GuillemotIn an interview with Polygon, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot stated that the length of this generation’s console cycles has hurt the games industry. In the wake of the Wii U’s recent launch, and the upcoming launches of the Xbox 720 and PS4 within the next two years, he called for platform manufacturers to make the next-generation of consoles come to an and quicker than this generation’s.

“I think that what has happened is the transition has been very long. You know, in the industry, we were used to changing machines every five years. This time we are in the seventh year of the 360.

Continue reading

Sony releases PlayStation Mobile SDK to the public

Great move, Sony. The company today released the public version of the PlayStation Mobile SDK, allowing independent developers to create content for the Vita, PS3, and other certified devices, and sell them on the PlayStation Store.

For the annual cost of $99, developers can create apps for the Vita, PS3, PSP, and PlayStation Certified Android devices. Sony is also offering development support to the community.

Although it’s a move that Sony should’ve made earlier (like, say, closer to the Vita’s launch), it’s still a great one. Surely this will get more developer and consumer support behind the Vita and help to boost sales.