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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."
Sony will have two PlayStation 4 bundles available to interested gamers on Black Friday later this month, the company has confirmed. Game console bundles are a great way to boost sales, as Microsoft has learned with multiple Xbox One bundles throughout 2014.
The PS4 Grand Theft Auto V bundle will include a 500GB PS4 console, free copy of GTA V, and a digital download voucher for The Last of Us Remastered, available for $399.99. The 500GB PS4 is $399 by itself, so gamers are receiving two free games with the bundle.
The other PS4 bundle features a 500GB PS4 unit, LittleBigPlanet 3 and Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham for $399.99.
Sony PlayStation 4 gamers have experience trouble with the PlayStation Network, and company officials recently apologized for the sporadic problems. More than 13.5 million PS4 units have been sold since the console's launch, and the PSN's struggling network isn't too surprising - and Sony is scrambling to try to prevent additional network problems in the future.
"Listen: We're really, really apologetic," said Michael Ephraim, SCE Australia managing director. "Dealing with network and digital - I'm not trying to spread or deflect anything, but dealing on such a robust network is a tricky experience. The good thing is we've launched 2.01, which has fixed the Rest Mode, and has fixed the YouTube app. It was very unfortunate. We hate that. The network was down during the 2.0 release. It's very unfortunate. Those things are gonna happen over time. We're not bulletproof on those things."
Sony and BioWare have worked to fix a serious bug that hit Dragon Age: Inquisition gamers, with the PSN blamed for the problem.
The Sony PlayStation 4 outsold the Microsoft Xbox One in October, with sales growing 59 percent year-over-year, racking up $273.6 million, according to the NPD Group. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all declined to release sales figures of their respective consoles in October, indicating it was a rather lackluster 31 days of sales.
"Overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories were essentially flat in 2014 compared to October 2013," according to the NPD Group's Liam Callahan.
However, the Xbox One price cut has helped the console's sales triple, as it approaches 10 million units sold since launch, and looks poised to better compete against the PS4.
After teasing it for so long, Sony has finally unveiled PlayStation Vue, its cloud-based TV service. PlayStation Vue is locked to the PS3 and PS4, but it has no contracts, and no pesky hidden fees - all without Sony giving out any pricing on it.
PlayStation Vue will allow people to save their favorite TV shows to the cloud, where it stays there for 28 days. You can receive on-demand access to the last three dasy of TV programming. The company will be holding an invite-only beta sometime later this month, where 75 channels will be made available. Sony is currently offering up CBS, Discovery, Fox, NBC Universal, Scripss Networks Interactive and Viacom, with the promise if more network partners being announced soon.
Sony is poised to fully release PlayStation Vue sometime in the first quarter of 2015, where it should eventually find a home on non-Sony devices like tablets and smartphones.
The creator of Mario and Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, isn't a big fan of the "boring" sameness type of video games that are being pushed upon gamers time and time again. Nintendo has struggled to keep up with Sony and Microsoft in recent years, but continues to push ahead with video games that appeal more to casual gamers - and isn't afraid for employees to speak their mind.
"What the other companies are doing makes business sense," Miyamoto recently said. "But it's boring. The same games appear on every system. At Nintendo, we made an environment where game creators can collaborate and think of ideas for gamers that could have never happened before."
Nintendo officials have become more vocal in their criticism of the PS4 and Xbox One - even though the two consoles dominate the sales charts - as all three companies look ahead to a potentially busy Christmas holiday shopping season.
After being battered on the console sales charts by the Sony PlayStation 4, it looks Microsoft can finally be happy about the Xbox One. There have been almost 10 million Xbox One game consoles sold since launch, and with holiday shopping expected to be a major success in 2014, Microsoft should easily top that figure. The $50 price cut earlier in this month has helped sales triple over the past two weeks, with that sales trend carrying towards Christmas.
In a rather surprising twist, some are wondering if now is the time where Microsoft can outsell Sony during the holidays, when one month ago, that would have seemed like an illogical discussion.
It's good for Microsoft to see Xbox One sales increase, but it would appear that gamers are the true winners. In addition to both the Xbox One and PS4 - which have helped drive game sales - PC gaming, with extremely powerful hardware, has seen an impressive rise, just a couple years after many wondered if PC gaming was dead.
Microsoft has seen a spike in Xbox One sales, pushing it close to the 10 million mark, with the company saying sales have "more than tripled" in the US over the last week alone.
The 10 million milestone reflects the number of consoles Microsoft has sold to retailers, not consumers - but over the holiday season, I'm sure retailers won't have too many problems getting rid of the Xbox One consoles. The tripling in sales, represents a week-to-week comparison. The Redmond-based everything giant says that the boost in Xbox One sales is thanks to a bunch of new games.
We've seen Assassin's Creed: Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive, as well as the Halo: Master Chief Collection, all launch in the last couple of weeks.
Even though they're fighting against each other in the console race with the PlayStation and Xbox range of consoles, the companies are still friends in other forms of business. The latest news is that Sony has asked Microsoft for help when it comes to protecting its multimedia content on its PlayStation line of devices.
Sony has reportedly put up a listing asking for someone to join the company who is proficient in Microsoft's PlayReady, the Redmond-based giants content protection DRM solution, on its three major PlayStation devices: PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. Microsoft first launched PlayReady in 2007, which rode the back of massive investment and over 10 years of innovation. It allows content providers to deliver content, such as music and video, that limits users' options of sharing it around, without any proper authentication.
Sony is looking for a Principal Engineer who specializes in PlayReady, with this person joining a team that will bake the technology into multimedia applications across the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.