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Due to poor demand for the Microsoft Xbox One game console in Japan, the GM of Xbox in Japan, Takashi Sensui, has stepped down. Sensui reportedly "stepped down" from the position, but has been given a new role within the company's gaming unit: He will assume the role of General Manager for the Interactive Entertainment Business in Redmond, Washington.
Not surprisingly, the Xbox One hasn't sold well in Japan - where Sony and Nintendo reign supreme - with the next-generation Xbox One only moving 38,461 units since September. There were 23,562 units sold within the first week, and Microsoft hasn't been able to build any type of momentum.
Xbox Japan continues to reshuffle its management, with Nobuyoshi Yokoi and Yoshinami Takahashi now in control of the Xbox Japan business.
The Sony PlayStation 4 has enjoyed a significant sales lead over the Microsoft Xbox One throughout 2014, but after a price cut, Microsoft is reportedly closing the gap. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, now is the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to make the next-generation console market even more competitive.
The Xbox One has some major exclusive titles: Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Horizon, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and Sunset Overdrive. Game titles such as Titanfall are available for the PC, but not on the PS4 - and only boost the Xbox One's catalog even further.
It will be telling to see how each company does after the holidays, with consumers expected to open up their wallets to spend on gaming hardware and software this year, analysts predict.
It's an even better time for console gamers, as Sony also joined the pre-Black Friday fun for gamers. The Japanese electronics company has cut prices for numerous PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 game titles ahead of Black Friday.
There are more than 30 game titles discounted in the Sony's Co-Op Gaming Sale, including Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, LEGO: The Hobbit, EA Sports UFC, and Soul Sacrifice Delta.
Gamers looking for a new console will be able to purchase the PS4 and Xbox One this year at discounted prices.
The Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 game consoles are selling extremely well - but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is happy. Carl Ledbetter, who was project manager behind the Xbox One's physical design, recently responded against criticism of the Xbox One's bulkiness.
While the Xbox One is heavier and bigger than the Xbox 360 - at a time when consumers seemingly want to see more hardware packed into streamlined designs - Ledbetter understands not everyone will be happy when a console is released. He explained the growing pains - and what is done to overcome certain hardware design barriers that many people seem to take for granted.
"Everybody gets frustrated, because what we want is for everything to be wafer thin, not get hot and just be a snap to put together," Ledbetter said. "But the reality is that there are very real issues around cooling when you're pushing some number of watts in the processor, therefore the thing has to have some size to it. There's always an interesting dynamic between engineering and design, and constraints around performance.
Microsoft doesn't want Xbox 360 and Xbox One gamers to wait until Black Friday and Cyber Monday to begin shopping for Christmas. The pre-Black Friday offering is available now until Monday, December 1.
Game titles ranging from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, Forza Motorsport 5, and Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition are available, along with numerous other game titles.
Xbox 360 and Xbox One game console deals kick into effect later this week, along with controllers, Xbox Live memberships, and Xbox Video deals launching soon.
Sony received harsh criticism from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and it looks like some PlayStation Vita gamers will receive money back. Sony promised "game-changing" features that simply weren't true, so the FTC made the Japanese electronics company stop making those claims.
Also in the agreement, Sony will provide gamers with a $25 refund - or $50 games voucher - and put Sony, its ad agency Deutsch LA, and other companies on notice that it is watching.
The problem specifically mentioned the Vita "cross-platform" gaming features so gamers can link their PlayStation 3 or 4 game console to the Vita - being able to pause game play on the Vita and resume while using a console.
It has been a fantastic year for console gaming, with the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 both racking up great sales since launching in late 2013. The PS4 has outsold the Xbox One all year, but it appears Microsoft is beginning to close ground, due to a recent price cut.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer applauded both Microsoft and rival company Sony: "This 1st year has been incredible. Great launch for 2 consoles, exciting competition & great games. Thanks for all the support and feedback," Spencer said on Twitter. He also offered the PS4 additional praise: "Those Sony peeps had a great first year."
There have been 13.5 million PS4 units sold, while Microsoft has racked up 10 million Xbox One units sold since launch.
It appears Microsoft Xbox Live was not compromised after all, despite the "DerpTrolling" group saying they had stolen more than 1,000 Windows Live usernames and passwords.
"We immediately investigated reports regarding some Microsoft Accounts including Windows Live and Hotmail and can confirm that no Microsoft site or service was compromised," Microsoft told GameSpot. "Microsoft takes account security and privacy seriously. Should we identify any specific account at risk for any reason, we will take action to protect the account."
To stay better defended, Microsoft also recommended users create strong passwords, change their passwords frequently, and don't use the same passwords for multiple websites and services.
Sony is aiming for 1080p at 60FPS for PlanetSide 2 when it lands on the PlayStation 4, but this might be a hard task thanks to the constraints of the Accelerated Processing Unit, or APU, inside of the PS4.
Sony Online Entertainment, the developer behind the game, is having some trouble with the CPU side of the APU. The team is trying to get more on-screen action happening, while maintaining the 60FPS frame rate, but the CPU is the bottleneck. PlanetSide 2 will be released onto the PS4 next month, with the developer doing some last minute tweaks to get the game hitting 1080p at 60FPS.
The Creative Director on the project, Matt Higby, talked with Eurogamer that the game is constantly being optimized, with the real bottlenecks in the development process being on the CPU side of the PS4s APU, and not its GPU. He said that the GPU side of the AMD-powered APU isn't getting hit as badly, with the GPU handling the graphical side of things well, but the CPU is dragging its heels with the frame rate and the amount of on-screen activity. Higby said: "Our real bottlenecks are on the CPU side. From a graphical fidelity perspective, people will be impressed with what they see on the PS4. That's always one of those things people are skeptical about. I see every time we post an article like this I always get called out: 'haha, it's bullshit he's saying it's going to look as good.' It really does".
It looks like console gamers are having fun with the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4, as both next-generation game consoles outpace their predecessors. Since both consoles launched in November 2013, both consoles have a 73 percent higher installation base, than the Xbox 360 and PS3 over the first year of introduction for both consoles.
As the United States economy continues to recover, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo hope to see gamers spend more on gaming hardware - and new game titles - as hardware companies, game developers, and retailers are finding success.
During its Q3 financial earnings call, GameStop reported new hardware sales rise 147.4 percent, with thanks largely to the Xbox One and PS4. The gaming market is very much alive and well, and with numerous anticipated game launches in 2015, gamers will have plenty of new titles to choose from.