PlayStation 3 outselling Wii in Japan

30 11 2007

According to this BBC article, the PS3 has finally overtaken the Wii for monthly sales in its native Japan.  This is following price cuts and the release of a cheaper model.  In November, 183,217 PS3s were sold in Japan, compared to 159,193 Wii  (what’s the plural of “Wii”?  “Wii”?  “Wiis”?  “Wiien”?).

Analysts predict that the Wii will continue to dominate the global market.  Said KBC Securities analyst Hiroshi Kamide: “Overseas, I don’t really see the PS3 doing that much at Christmas time primarily because it’s still more expensive than the other machines and has less software.”  The Wii is, of course, considerably cheaper than the PS3, although as far as I can tell it is similarly short of good games (recent releases notwithstanding).

“It’s nice to see the PS3 selling much better than six months ago… but is it a sustainable trend? Is it going to really escalate from here? I’m not so sure,” said Kamide-san.

That said, I think this recent development goes to show that the ‘next generation’ console war is still in the early stages.  I certainly wouldn’t count Sony out of the running yet.


Rewatch BBC, ITV and Channel 4 online in 2008

27 11 2007

Yay! (BBC article).

I love it when rival companies forget their differences and jointly produce something.  The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are planning an on-demand service that lets viewers watch hundreds of programmes over the Internet.  As yet unnamed, the service will include programmes produced by all three broadcasters.  The new aggregator will not be replacing the existing iPlayer, ITV video player or 4oD services.

As a completely unrelated side note, I stumbled across this tune, to be used in the upcoming video game Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Isn’t it enough to make any Nintendo gamer go all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia?

Piracy costs Internet connections

25 11 2007

According to the BBC, the French net firms will be monitoring the behavious of French Internet users to check for illegal file-sharing.  Persistent offenders will be thrown offline.  This move has pleased the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, who describe it as “groundbreaking”.

 I wonder if we could see a similar move made in Britain, given the recent concern about file sharing.  I would be in two minds about it.  On the one hand, it’s good that the creators of music won’t have their music stolen, but on the other hand, that happens all the time – music corporations run off with the rights to songs that other people created.  So I don’t think this will be protecting the creators of music so much as the big corporations that never created anything in the first place and are strangling the industry anyway.

Hmm… death by downloads or death by record labels?  I’m not sure there’s very much to choose from between the two.

Viral marketing

23 11 2007

Woke up at midday today.  Oops!  I blame Adam’s homework, naturally, even though I’m perfectly aware that I should have done it sooner.  Anyway, I think the rest has probably done me some good.  At least, I’m not so black around the eyes as I was.

FreeRice is proving quite addictive.  I haven’t yet managed to get past level 47, but I’m going to keep trying.  It’s for a good cause, which means I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time like I am when I play other online games.  Still, I haven’t noticed any improvement in my ability to sell myself; maybe I need to play more… o_O

Anyhoo, FreeRice was described as a viral marketing success story, and I said I’d explain what viral marketing was.  Put very simply, it’s where news of a product or concept is spread via word-of-mouth.  The Internet usually plays a big part in this.  Take FreeRice, for example.  The news of it is being spread by bloggers, so if I mention it here, and you go on it and think “I say, what a simply spendid notion!” and tell your friends, who go “This is ill, man!  I think I’ll tell my posse!” and it spreads that way, that’s an example of viral marketing.  The news spreads even faster when someone hears about it and decides to write his or her own blog on the subject.  Soon, everybody knows about FreeRice.

Or take the Cadbury’s Gorilla advert.  Yes, it’s awesome, but the point is that people saw it, thought “This is awesome!” and talked about it.  You only have to see how many times the thing has been uploaded to YouTube to see what I mean.  No wonder it caught on.

This sort of thing can be encouraged by the creators of a product in order to advertise it.  For example, the repeated use of the phrase “Bad Wolf” in Doctor Who will almost certainly have generated interest in the show, as people discussed it eager to find out what it meant (and when we did find out, who didn’t feel kind of let down?).  This was encouraged by the show’s creators, who actually set up a Bad Wolf website.

Viral marketing is probably a good example of the Internet benifiting businesses (rather than ticking them off), because in theory, the more people talk about a product, the more people buy it.  Linking this back to my music video work, I wonder whether The Bends would have sold half as well as it did if it hadn’t been for the “Just” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” videos provoking so much discussion and confusion (I like to think it would, because it’s a good album, but they can’t have hurt it, can they?).


21 11 2007

Well, not quite, but I’m not one to pass on an opportunity to run around like a headless chicken, screaming at the top of my voice, am I?

According to the BBC, Nemertes Research have predicted that the Internet will run out of capacity by 2010.  This will apparently result in a massive slowdown, and downloads will take forever again.  As the BBC put it, it could be a return to the connection speed of “the bad old days of dial-up”.

And just when I was getting to like the Internet too.

 Apparently, the money required to avert this in the US alone would be in the region of $42 billion – $55 billion dollars.

Well, that’s just fantastic.  Fan-blooming-tastic.

Wii are the champions

16 11 2007

As reported repeatedly by the BBC, the Wii is selling pretty well.  In fact, even non-gamers are playing it.  And not necessarily ‘getting’ it (but who outside of Japan did get WarioWare first time they played it?), but still apparently having fun.  Hey, everybody loves The Legend of Zelda, even messed up versions with tacked-on Wii controls, backwards text and a right-handed protagonist (I’m a GCN fan, if you hadn’t guessed).  The secret of the Wii’s success may well be its emphasis on playing games and having fun above everything else.

Unfortunately, the Wii is proving such a success that they are unable to meet the demand.  Nintendo claim this is a global problem, although the BBC report focuses on the UK.  This is not exactly news (heck, there were Wii shortages back in 2006).  Rob Saunders, of Nintendo UK, answered questions about the shortage emailed to the BBC.

Saunders says that there is no shortage of games, only hardware.  He denies the accusation that Nintendo have been withholding the consoles to artificially increase demand and prices, and says that if you want a Wii, your best bet “is to visit a tried-and-trusted High Street and online retailer and ask them to add you to any waiting lists they have.”  However, it looks like for UK customers, the best thing to do is order from elsewhere in Europe (not from Japan or the US though, because of region coding which prevents consoles from playing games from outside their area).

Sony, meanwhile, are taking advantage of the Wii shortage to cut PS3 prices, which has doubled their sales in the US.  However, they’re not going to convince me unless they get themselves some games that match the greatness of the ones on other consoles.

FreeRice for all!

12 11 2007

FreeRice is a website that was set up by the UN’s World Food Programme to donate rice to help end world hunger.  It takes the form of a word game, with 50 levels of difficulty.  The later levels are quite a challenge, too!

Basically, as explained by their FAQ, the more you win, the more money their sponsors (the links advertising stuff at the bottom of the screen) will donate to buy rice.  At the time of writing, they have already donated enough for 1,330,639,890 grains, which, according to the BBC,  would feed over 50,000 people for one day.  Josette Sheeran describes the website as “a viral marketing success story” (I may write a post about viral marketing sometime when I get ’round to it).  Word of the game is primarily spread by bloggers, so I guess that means that, by writing this, I am helping to feed starving people – blimey!  *pauses stunned to reflect on this*

Still need persuading to give it a go?  The FAQ describes the benefits of taking the quiz for YOU:

“Learning new vocabulary has tremendous benefits. It can help you:

  • Formulate your ideas better
  • Write better papers, emails and business letters
  • Speak more precisely and persuasively
  • Comprehend more of what you read
  • Read faster because you comprehend better
  • Get better grades in high school, college and graduate school
  • Score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
  • Perform better at job interviews and conferences
  • Sell yourself [I beg your pardon?  Sorry.], your services, and your products better
  • Be more effective and successful at your job”

So by taking the quiz, you are not only helping end world poverty, you are not only helping end world hunger; you are helping yourself.  Though not to rice.

So FreeRice is for everybody!

Well, what are you waiting for?