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Sales numbers for the two major next gen game consoles are in for the month of April and things don't look that good for Microsoft. Microsoft has been outsold again by the Sony PS4. According to the NPD Group, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One for the fourth month in a row.
Sales of new game hardware for the month of April grew by 76% to $192 million compared to the same month last year. NPD says that the bulk of those sales were of game consoles. NPD notes that sales of video game accessories in the US also increased year over year compared to last April to $159 million. That makes a 21% gain for game accessories.
For many gamers when it comes to the Xbox game console, the Halo franchise is the main reason to own the game system. Halo has been around for years and Master Chief is an iconic gaming character. Microsoft is talking a bit about the next game in the franchise called Halo 5: Guardians that will be coming to the Xbox One.
The game will run at 60 fps and will use a new engine created by Halo developer 343 Studios. 343 Studios general manager Bonnie Ross says that more details on the game will be offered at E3 on June 9. Along with talk of the game, Microsoft is also talking a bit about the Halo TV series as well.
We've heard rumors that Nintendo would unveil its next-gen console at E3 next month, and while this might not happen, the company is already talking about its next-gen console. Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, teased that the company is "always developing new hardware" during a recent Q&A.
During the company's recent financial briefing, Iwata said that once Nintendo has launched a platform, it begins preparations for the next one. Iwata explained: "The most difficult question for us to answer in public in concrete terms is when we are going to launch our new hardware and what kind of hardware we are going to launch, and I am afraid that I cannot talk about this in more detail. However, I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware".
Nintendo aren't just a hardware company, but mainly a software company - it plans to stay that way, and keep consumers happy with their current devices, such as the Wii U. Iwata continued: "We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software. But I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take".
Microsoft is set to release the Xbox One without the Kindle bundled in, available on June 9 with a $399 price tag. The company also is shaking things up so Live Gold subscription will no longer be necessary for access to Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus - and also won't be necessary for OneGuide, Internet Explorer, or other premium services.
Microsoft still believes the Xbox One game console bundled with Kinect offers gamers "the best experience," though understands that a cheaper solution must be made available to customers. However, the $399 price point puts it on the same level of the Sony PlayStation 4 game console, which continues to outsell the Xbox One worldwide.
Just a few days ago, research group IDC predicted Microsoft would unbundle the Xbox One and Kinect by 2015, as Microsoft continues to try and compete with Sony.
A rumor is making the rounds that claims a couple of the most popular video streaming services will be offered to Xbox users who don't have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Those two services are Hulu and Netflix. Some other unnamed streaming media apps will also be offered with no Xbox Live Gold subscription according to the rumor.
One bad thing about this rumor is that the sources also claim that to make up for potential lost revenue from moving streaming media in front of the pay wall, Xbox might put some other services behind the pay wall for the first time.
This morning Blizzard announced the console launch date of its Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition title. The game will launch on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles later this year on August 19th, and is expected to retail in the $60 price range for next-gen consoles and $40 price range for the older consoles.
"The Ultimate Evil Edition brings Reaper of Souls to console gamers for the first time, and wraps all of the content, features, and updates we've released for Diablo III into one epic package," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Whether you're a veteran of the crusade against the forces of evil on PC or are just stepping foot into Sanctuary for the first time, there's never been a better time to experience Diablo III from the comfort of your couch."
To better compete with the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft might decide to unbundle the Kinect from its Xbox One game console, according to research firm IDC. The Xbox One is struggling to try and keep up with global PS4 sales, and has already cut prices on its game console.
"If Microsoft unbundles the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One console as we expect in 2015, this should lead to rough price parity with the PS4 and reset the sales dynamic at retail," said Lewis Ward, IDC Research Director of Gaming, in a press statement. "We project this change will lead to enough of a console sales bump that Xbox One will emerge with the largest installed base of any console in North America by the end of 2016."
Meanwhile, IDC believes the PS4 should still outpace the Xbox One worldwide, with continued popularity in Japan and Europe.
When the Sony PS4 originally launched many gamers were annoyed at the blue light bar on top of the console's DualShock 4 game controller. The annoyance was because the light reflected in the TV and was too bright for some user's tastes.
Developers at Sony say that the big problem for them was that they were unable to tell anyone what that bright blue light was actually for. They are now speaking out and have said that the light bar is actually there to support Project Morpheus. We talked about that Sony VR headset about back in March.
Nintendo have been fighting an uphill battle to get attention to their newest console, the WiiU, this week posting a $229 million loss, a far cry from the rivers of gold that flowed to the company during the previous generation.
But on the eve of one of their highest profile releases of the year from one of their most loved franchises, they're giving die-hard and casual fans alike a good reason to take a new console home.
With all physical and downloadable copies of Mario Kart 8, Nintendo will offer a code to download for the Nintendo eShop for your choice of a free full version WiiU game, from the following ten titles:Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, GAME & WARIO, Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Sonic Lost World (Wii U version) , Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games andWii Party U.
The generous offer will be offered for a limited time only. Mario Kart WiiU goes on sale on May 30th in the United States and Europe and on May 31st in Australia.
Nintendo hasn't been doing well over the last few years as it continually posts major losses. The Nintendo Wii U game console continues to be unpopular with gamers and is a major part of the financial woes for the company. Reports have surfaced that claim Nintendo is set to roll out a new game console as early as 2015 or 2016.
If you are hoping for a high-end console to help Nintendo get back to some of the gaming glory it enjoyed years ago, you will be disappointed. According to reports, Nintendo is looking at building a cheaper game console for gamers in developing markets. Nintendo's Satoru Iwata has said that the console will be aimed at gamers in developing nations with a lower budget.