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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.
The Nintendo Wii U game console has been available for two years, but with the upcoming launch of Super Smash Bros., Nintendo hopes to see a higher sales boost. Since launching Mario Kart 8 in May, there have been more than 1.1 million Wii U consoles sold - and as consumers have extra cash to spend ahead of Christmas, Nintendo wants shoppers to spend.
Nintendo has taken a few different public shots against Microsoft and Sony in recent weeks, trying to remind shoppers the company has products for them to consider. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime shrugged off the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles, saying the two platforms have too much overlapping shared content.
He also said the Wii U provides a better value than both consoles, despite recent price cuts that have made the console gaming market extremely competitive.
Microsoft Xbox One console owners will finally have access to the HBO Go app, available to HBO subscribers, with voice and gesture controls supported. The new app is now arriving for US HBO subscribers, and the voice and gesture controls will allow console owners to access the entire HBO catalog using a hand gesture or voice instructions.
"Xbox is one of our subscribers' favorite ways to access HBO Go and its incredible breadth of award-winning programming," said Jeff Dallesandro, HBO VP of digital domestic network distribution. "Now, Xbox One users can get in on the action and Kinect with the very best HBO series and films on this innovative, state-of-the-art device."
There are a wide variety of apps available for the Xbox One, including rival apps from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus - ensuring entertainment apps are available in the living room is an important role for Microsoft, Sony and set-top box manufacturers.
Black Friday is only one week away, and Sony is cranking up the marketing machine to win over potential PlayStation 4 customers. The company's new video promo states the PS4 is the "best place to play," a claim Microsoft previously said of its Xbox One game console.
The video shows game footage from Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto V and Destiny, along with promoting the PS4's sports games, including Madden NFL 15, NBA 2K15, FLB 14: The Show, and FIFA 15.
The PS4 has easily outsold the Xbox One since both consoles launched late last year - but a recent Xbox One price cut has indicated Microsoft hasn't lost all hope - and the 2014 Christmas shopping season will present a fierce battle.
A scam that allowed customers to purchase Sony PlayStation 4 consoles from $50 to $100 by creating fake ads online, has been nixed by Walmart. It's not surprising to hear Walmart moved quickly to prevent further lost revenue, especially as more satisfied customers boasted their success via social media.
"We can't tolerate fraud or attempts to trick our cashiers," Walmart said in a statement. "This kind of activity is unfair to the millions of customers who count on us every day for honest value."
However, Walmart will match rival sales listings from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers on Black Friday, as retailers fight for consumers. It will be curious to see how Walmart decides to verify price matches, to better prevent future scams.
Now that Grand Theft Auto V has splashed down on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, we're getting a better look at the refreshed version of the game on the more-powerful consoles.
DigitalFoundry's video, above, shows off that the next-gen version of Grand Theft Auto V looks much better on the Xbox One and PS4 versus the older Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. Better yet, is the PS4 version, which looks nicer on the PS4 than it does on the Xbox One.
The Microsoft Xbox One will reach its one-year launch anniversary on Saturday, November 22, and gamers have racked up more than 2 billion hours of console gaming. The Xbox One has been soundly outsold by the Sony PlayStation 4, but a recent price cut could help lead to an increase in fellow Xbox One gamers.
Xbox One owners who are located in an original 13 launch market - and sign up for the Xbox Marketing emails - will receive a personalized email about their game play since last November. The top four most popular achievements have been Forza Motorsport 5: Welcome to Forza Motorsport, Titanfall: Build Yourself, Destiny: Ship Rite, and Call of Duty: Ghosts: Spatial Awareness.
Microsoft will launch A Year One gamer picture, new Xbox One backgrounds, A Year One background image for Twitter, free rental of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, and a free rental of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods.
Walmart is desperate to compete with Amazon, Best Buy, and other rivals ahead of Christmas, and have been getting tricked by a price-matching scam. People are creating fake Amazon selling accounts and listing Sony PlayStation 4 units as low as $50, taking a screenshot of the online price, and taking it to a local Walmart to claim their prize. Other sneaky customers were picking up PS4 bundles for $100, but it looks like Walmart has wised up and has altered its price matching policy.
Previously, Walmart was getting scammed into selling $60 Nintendo Wii U and 3DS bundles, thanks to a mistake on the Sears website. Customers quickly jumped on the erroneous listing, and found that Walmart met the price match even with a wrong price on a rivals website.
"We're committed to providing low prices every day," the Walmart website proudly boasts. "On everything. So if you find a lower advertised price on an identical product, tell us and we'll match it. Right at the register."
Electronic Arts and other game studios are enjoying an increasingly competitive game console market - and while the Sony PlayStation 4 has dominated the sales charts, the Microsoft Xbox One certainly has time to catch up. Microsoft has cut the price of the Xbox One and has seen a steady increase in console sales, showing the company has plenty of fight left.
As of late October, there have been more than 13.5 million PS4 units shipped, while Xbox One has shipped 10 million units. Both companies are preparing for what should be a slugfest in the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, with great deals expected on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
"Clearly Sony has jumped out to a lead with a great console and I think a great strategy," said Blake Jorgensen, Electronic Arts CFO, but admitted "Microsoft is catching up quickly."
Nintendo continues to take shots at the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4, as all three console giants prepare for a 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season slugfest.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo continues to speak out against rival consoles, trying to promote the cheaper device.
"The good news, for us, is that we're presenting the best value right now in new home consoles," said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president. "$299, includes two games; it's a compelling proposition for consumers this holiday. For us the message is simple; you want to play these great games, you want to have these fantastic experiences, you have to upgrade to the Wii U."