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The Sony PlayStation business continues to be extremely successful for the Japanese electronics company, with the PlayStation 4 selling 3 million units during Q1.
Since launching in North America and Europe in November 2013, Sony has sold more than 25.3 million PS4 units worldwide. It's an impressive sales streak for Sony, outpacing the PlayStation 2, which took two years, eight months to top 20 million. The console eventually sold 155 million units, and currently serves as the top selling console of all time.
PS4 sales reveals steady - and strong - growth among gamers worldwide, and Sony estimates there will be 40 million console sales through the end of Q1 2016. We'll see what happens leading up to the 2015 Christmas holiday shopping season, which typically boosts game hardware and software sales for the industry.
At E3 2015 Microsoft delivered a strategic bomb by announcing backward compatibility on the Xbox One, which will allow gamers to play older Xbox 360 games on the console for free. Although the Redmond-based console-maker plans to kick off the feature with a slew of games, the future of backward compatibility will ultimately be left to the discretion of developers and publishers.
"So, we'll start with 100 titles this autumn, and we'll be adding titles as time goes by," Microsoft's corporate VP Kudo Tsunoda told the Official Xbox Magazine. "At some point we're going to need to get - obviously - the permission of the owners of the content, the publishers and the developers. So 100% is always a hard thing to achieve in anything."
Microsoft currently plans to support 100 Xbox 360 games by this Fall, and expects to have the feature fully up and running by holiday 2015. The feature is currently its actually testing phase for Xbox One Preview Program members, but the library is quite small and includes games like Perfect Dark: Zero, Banjo Kazooie and Mass Effect (which actually runs pretty good on the Xbox One).
Microsoft is working on Xbox One games being streamed to your PC, but now it looks like we might see PC games being streamed to the Xbox One according to the latest interview with Xbox boss Phil Spencer, and The Verge.
Spencer said that Microsoft is working on getting PC games streaming to the APU-powered Xbox One, but in order to have that working, the company wants to see proper mouse and keyboard support on the console. Not only that, but the company will have to overcome many other obstacles, such as the consumer having enough horsepower in their PC to render the game and then stream it over the network.
Furthermore, the Xbox One would need some tuning to be able to handle the game coming in over the network and the added overheads that come with it, as well as the mouse and keyboard control scheme in the games. If Microsoft does manage to get PC games streaming to the Xbox One, it will be competing with NVIDIA's GameStream technology which streams your PC games to your compatible Shield devices.
Nintendo has finally sold more than 10 million Wii U units, with the sales figure reached during its fiscal quarter that ended last month.
During its most recent quarter, the company sold only 470,000 units - a drop from 510,000 units year-over-year.
The Wii U publicly launched across the world in November, and has endured an incredibly slow growth rate - though Nintendo hopes that begins to change with games such as Splatoon.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer believes it's a great time for the gaming console market, and years ago shot down talk of the console business dying. Instead, the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 have both garnered major attention by gamers:
"I have a lot of respect for the team at Sony and the success they've had with PS4, and it's a great time for the console industry," Spencer said in an interview with Edge. "I've said this a few times, but four years ago when I was sitting doing these interviews it was, 'do people need consoles any more?' and, 'isn't this just dead? Everybody's playing on their phone.' And now you're looking at the PS4 having sold over - I don't remember their last number - but over 20 million."
Game studios still must work hard to develop AAA games for consoles that are successful - and some wonder if game console units are actually profitable for Microsoft or Sony. In the end, manufacturers will continue pushing forward with consoles, as gamers are still interested in buying them.
Hori's new Tactical Assault Commander 4 is a keyboard and mouse duo aimed at emulating PC quality FPS control on Sony's PlayStation 4 console. Armed with the new controller, gamers can now hone their headshot skills to a heightened degree with the kind of precision that a steady mouse can offer.
The mouse and keyboard are both wired via USB and feature programmable macro buttons for customized play. Like previous models, the peripheral sports must-have modes like snipe and walk buttons, and the traditional WASD scheme shouldered by Triangle (Q) and Circle (E) for easy maneuvering. It also has keys to match a DualShock 4 including a Share button for screenshots and video.
The keyboard is decidedly created with right-handed gamers in mind--lefties are out of luck with this model. Hori affirms that the Tactical Assault Commander 4 is cross-platform compatible and is fully functional on the PlayStation 3, so you can fire up yesteryear classics like Blops 2 for practice.
Microsoft is bringing some new major changes to the Xbox Onewith the Fall update, including voice-assisted support from Cortana and a new dashboard layout--but speed is their top priority.
"Brand new Xbox One User Interface experience that will be going out this fall and is really focused around speed and getting to things faster," Xbox's Richard Irving told GamingBolt at E3 2015. "Our design point of the new Xbox experience is speed and making all of the things you do on Xbox Live, both in and out of the game much faster."
As an Xbox One owner myself I can attest that the console's menus can be sluggish. Firing up an app or starting up Snap Mode can take a bit, meaning you'll sometimes miss that perfect moment you wanted to record.
After 15 years of black-market gaming, China has opened up a new door to the bustling video games industry by scrapping its restrictive ban on games systems. The country's Ministry of Culture states that hardware titans like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo can not only sell but also manufacture video games consoles anywhere in the country.
This new legislature is a huge win for console-makers, as they have free reign to tap the Chinese market. Last year the Chinese government made a similar reversal with the launch of the Xbox One in the region, but console-makers were bound by unfavorable restrictive policies. To sell their consoles in China, console-makers had to agree to specific rules like being told where manufacturing facilities could be placed, gaining approval from regulation officials, and have every individual console inspected before being sold.
The Microsoft Xbox One has greatly suffered while trying to sell its Xbox One and keep up with the Sony PlayStation 4, handily outsold in the United States, Europe and Japan.
It's been a difficult battle that Microsoft is taking seriously, and there have been moments of relief - like after the holidays, when gamers could purchase several Xbox One gaming bundles.
"This progress, as well as the excitement we generated at E3 - with Xbox exclusive gaming content and backwards compatibility - demonstrates the building momentum that exists with the Xbox ecosystem," said Amy Hood, CFO at Microsoft, while speaking during a recent financial call.
It looks as if the Xbox One's hot new backwards compatibility feature isn't actually so new after all. In fact Microsoft might have planned to include it before the console was even released, despite Don Mattrick's "backwards compatibility is really backwards" antics.
A very interesting snippet has surfaced as part of an Xbox Wire interview with Xbox's Director of Program Management, Mike Ybarra. "The Xbox Engineering team spent over three years making backwards compatibility a reality," reads the line in question.
Over three years? Wait, that doesn't exactly add up. Since it originally released November of 2013, the Xbox One will only turn two this November, so a round of quick math will reveal that Microsoft had indeed banked on backwards compatibility before the system was released on store shelves. Even with that extra forethought and planning, the Xbox team hasn't had an easy time tackling the feature.