Gamestop's financial data for the first quarter of its fiscal 2013 have arrived like a pizza with nearly 25 percent fewer toppings than the pizza you ordered during the same 13-week period last year. Also, cheesy bread sales are way up? This may not be the strongest analogy.
In non-allegorical terms, gross revenue (overall sales) and net income (post-tax profit) were both down year-over-year, at $1.865 billion and $54.6 million, respectively. As far as net income, that's a 24.69 percent decrease from the $72.5 million Gamestop reported at the end of Q1 2012.
Meanwhile, mobile device sales were up 290 percent, though this massive increase was largely due to the fact that Gamestop's mobile trade-in/sales program was just getting started during Q1 of 2012. Digital sales also increased, to the tune of 47.3 percent year-over-year, while new software sales, both physical and digital, fell 3.8 percent.
As was the case during Q1 2012, used hardware and software sales accounted for the majority of Gamestop's pre-tax profit, with new hardware and software sales making up just 29.5 percent of the quarter's overall gross.
Square Enix America CEO Mike Fischer left the company this month and is now vice president of digital music and video for Amazon in Japan, Polygon reports. This follows news in April that Square Enix America eliminated "a number of positions" and Fischer was expected to leave in May. Those same reports said the head of marketing should be gone after E3, along with other employees in public relations.
In March, Square Enix President Yoichi Wada stepped down and the company announced widespread restructuring that it expected to cost $106 million. Square Enix posted a net loss of $134 million for fiscal year 2013, citing "weak" sales of major console games, including Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Tomb Raider, the last of which sold 3.4 million in its first month.
Another hot, fresh loaf of financial data has been pulled out of The NPD Group's analytical oven, and its buttery goodness contains sales information for the four week period between April 4 and May 7, 2013. During that time, the physical retail sector of the games industry was down 25 percent when compared with its performance over the same four weeks in 2012, pulling in a grand total of $495.2 million. It's worth noting, however, that this figure does not include the sale of PC games.
Hardware sales brought in $109.5 million, a 42 percent decrease from the $187.8 million seen last year, with the Xbox 360 once again enjoying the highest sales with 130,000 units moved. Meanwhile, the brief reprieve from year-over-year decline seen by the Accessories segment last month was short lived, as in April it by dropped 19 percent to a total of $131.4 million.
Software sales (including PC games) topped out at $267.8 million, with NetherRealm Studios' Injustice: Gods Among Us taking top honors as the best-selling game for the period, the first time a fighting game has finished in first since 2011's Mortal Kombat. Dead Island: Riptide and BioShock Infinite rounded out the podium in spots two and three respectively - meanwhile MMO/Syfy series Defiance debuted in fifth. As always, scope the full list after the break.
EA has announced it will discontinue its Online Pass program. "Yes, we're discontinuing Online Pass," EA's senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg told GamesBeat in an e-mail. "None of our new EA titles will include that feature."
Reseburg added that "many players didn't respond to the format," despite EA going on record months after instituting Online Passes, reporting it had not seen a "significant" backlash. "We've listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward."
Nintendo's Wii U sold 55,000 units in April, down 19 percent from March, while the Wii sold 75,000 in April, down 16 percent from last year, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter estimates. To compare, he says Microsoft sold 205,000 Xbox 360 units and Sony snagged 165,000 sales of the PlayStation 3 this April. By these numbers, sales of the Xbox 360 are down 13 percent and PS3 sales are down 5 percent year-over-year.
Nintendo hit 185,000 sales of its 3DS last month, a 46 percent jump in sales from the previous year, Pachter says. Sony's Vita is down 57 percent from 2012, selling just 30,000 units this April. These are of course the standard Pachter estimates, which can only mean one thing - the official numbers are on their way, via the NPD. Those figures are expected on Thursday.
As of March 31, the Wii U has sold 3.45 million units since its launch, below Nintendo's initial forecast of 5.5 million, and even January's adjustment to 4 million. Nintendo expects to have sold 9 million Wii U consoles by next fiscal year, ending March 2014, with sales spurred by the release of "key Nintendo titles."
Nintendo and an Ohio-based company called Motiva have completed their latest courtroom dance, with the Wii manufacturer coming out the winner once again in the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The patent infringement case goes back to 2008 with Motiva claiming Nintendo's Wiimotes infringed on two patents the company held for "Human Movement Measurement System." The U.S. International Trade Commission already ruled in January 2012 in favor of Nintendo.
"Motiva's litigation was targeted at financial gains, not at encouraging adoption of Motiva's patented technology," Circuit Judge Sharon Prost wrote, as reported by Reuters. "There is simply no reasonable likelihood that, after successful litigation against Nintendo, Motiva's patented technology would have been licensed by partners who would have incorporated it."
"We are very pleased with this result. The court confirmed that Motiva's sole activity, litigation against Nintendo, did not satisfy the ITC's domestic industry requirement," said Richard Medway, Nintendo of America's deputy general counsel. "We vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party's patent."
The lawyer for Motiva said the company will now take the case to the district court. The judge and Medway then went under the nearest bridge and laid out some nice bedding made of the finest straw to show there were no hard feelings toward Motiva.
Split controller designs are nothing new. We've seen them implemented by third parties such as SplitFish and, of course, major players - Nintendo's Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and Sony's PS Move and Navigation Controller. Now, Mad Genius is looking to up the ante with its new break-apart motion controller.
Mad Genius says the controller is capable of tracking movements as minute as 1/100 of an inch. A video demonstrates the controller being used in an unmodified version of Skyrim on Xbox 360, tracking the player's body movement to make the character move in the game world. A more practical application is splitting the controller apart to aim and fire a bow in-game.
Holding the two halves like a bow and arrow, the game automatically equips and begins aiming the bow. The control is so fine, according to Mad Genius, that players will actually have to hold their breath to steady their shots, lest a tiny movement knock them off target.
The motion-tracking system will work with any game on any platform, including even outmoded platforms such as the original PlayStation (though it's not clear how you would actually connect the two together). Mad Genius is planning to launch a Kickstarter to fund the final version of the controller, which will be wireless and, presumably, a bit sleeker.
FIFA 13sold through 14.5 million units in fiscal year 2013, up 30 percent compared with FIFA 12sales from the prior year. Net revenue from digital sales hit $200 million in adjusted, non-GAAP terms, an increase of 94 percent compared with FIFA 12 year-over-year. The entire FIFA franchise generated $350 million in digital net revenue in FY 2013, including sales from FIFA Online and FIFA World Class Soccer.
By Q3 2013, which ended on December 31, 2012, FIFA 13 clocked a total of 12 million sales.
Over this "May the 4th be with you" weekend, the irrepressible Star Wars: Battlefront 3 once again returned from the grave with new footage and a live stream. "New" is a malleable word here, since all of this comes from a game that was canceled in 2008 and may have leaked in one form or another over the past five years.
The first occurrence of game footage was a livestream by PtoPOnline. According to Game Informer, ptoponline.com focuses on "coverage and streaming of pre-release games, betas, and canceled projects."
There was also some alpha build footage, reportedly from a reel by developer Free Radical made in November of 2008, that was posted on Vimeo by Blue_Monkey.
The Star Wars franchise is now a licensing opportunity for developers and publishers following the closure of LucasArts.
There are also some less spectacular deals, like Gravity Rush, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Harvest Moon 3D and others for $30 each, or DMC: Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Rising for $40 apiece.
The Nintendo eShop is doing some spring cleaning, throwing a handful of games up for sale today through May 9: 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure, Dillon's Rolling Western, Pushmo, Fluidity: Spin Cycle and Tokyo Crash Mobs. Also on sale right now is Code of Princess, down from $40 to $30, and Level-5's Guild 01 collection is still cheap now through May 30.
Kirby's Adventure and Pushmo are each $5 (originally $7), Dillon's is $7 (originally $10), Fluidity is $8 (originally $11), and Tokyo Crash Mobs is $5 (originally $6). The Guild 01 collection includes Liberation Maiden and Crimson Shroud - each $5, down from $8 - and Aero Porter, which is $3, rather than the $5 standard.
It's hard to say for certain what a platform's last game will be, but it's pretty easy to guess what a platform's last noteworthy release will be. I'm sure the endless parade of impulse-buy, waggletastic Wii shovelware will continue to trickle out for a while yet, but the last significant Wii release for North America looks to be Pandora's Tower.
As the last of the three Operation Rainfall games brought over from Europe (via Japan), it was bound to garner plenty of attention, regardless of its quality. The good news is that Pandora's Tower deserves it.
The free Rayman Legends Challenges app launches today on the Wii U eShop. Half demo and half conciliatory gesture, this exclusive app was promised after Ubisoft delayed the Wii U version to prepare a multiplatform release. The full game is due September 3.
On 3DS, the collection of NES Mega Man games grows with Mega Man 4. And Color Commando launches on DSiWare, a puzzle-platformer about placing blobs of paint around a level to neutralize same-color monsters.
In an investor presentation, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced that Nintendo will skip the usual large-scale E3 press conference this year in favor of "a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market."
One of these events will be for American distributors, with another closed event "for mainly the Western gaming media." Iwata noted that Nintendo is not planning to announce any new hardware at this E3, with showing off software the main focus.
While Nintendo is dropping a lot of mainstream press attention with this move, it makes a lot of sense for a company with the recent financial history of Nintendo to skip out on some expensive pageantry. Especially when the company makes E3-level announcements monthly, for a tiny fraction of the cost.
The Wii U shipped 3.45 million units worldwide as of March 31, a figure well short of the 4 million projected in January, itself adjusted from initial forecasts of 5.5 million. That means the Wii U only shipped around 390,000 units worldwide in the last three months.
In a financial statement, Nintendo said its console failed to "maintain the initial sales momentum" due to delays of subsequent games, and the company aims to remedy this in the second half of this year through to next year by "releasing key Nintendo titles." The company believes this'll help the Wii U attain its projected shipping figures of 9 million for the next fiscal year (April 1 2013 to March 31 2014).
Nintendo's fiscal year net profits came in at almost half the company's projections, down from a projected ¥14 billion to just over ¥7 billion, or around $71 million. The figure nonetheless represents significant turnaround from the ¥43 billion net loss posted for the previous fiscal year. Nintendo forecasts net profits of ¥55 billion for its next fiscal year.
3DS shipping figures continue to climb, with the handheld now at 31.09 million, up over a million in the last quarter. The Wii remains short of the 100M mark at 99.84 million. The Wii outperformed the Wii U in the last quarter, shipping 70,000 units more at 460,000.
Nintendo is performing online maintenance for all its systems today as it prepares the Wii U's spring system update. The update, which will introduce the Virtual Console proper (among other things), may be fully launched by tomorrow according to a Facebook tease by Nintendo of America.
The extended maintenance is scheduled between 1PM PT today (4PM ET, 9PM UK) and 7PM PT (10PM ET, 3AM UK). The eShop and shopping channels for the Wii U, 3DS, Wii, and DS will be affected, so expect them to go down during those hours.
Dishonored slices off half of its price on Amazon this week, available for $30 for Xbox 360, PS3 or PC. Meanwhile, NBA 2K13 and Gears of War Judgment are both $40 as part of the weekly sale.
Outlet deals available now include Madden NFL 13 for PS3 for $29, and Xbox 360 version of Forza Horizon for $44, PS3's Battlefield 3 Premium Edition for $40 and Asura's Wrath for Xbox 360 for $18, plus quite a few more. Check out Amazon's weekly deals and outlet sales right here. Happy Sunday shopping.
The sales-tracking data hounds at NPD have released their figures for March 2013, which collectively place hardware sales down, physical software sales slightly up, and BioShock Infinite at the top of the best-selling pile.
The physical retail sales sector of the U.S. video game industry pulled in 10 percent less coin than it did during the same five-week period in 2012, amassing a total of $992.5 million between March 3 and April 6, 2013. Hardware sales took the biggest hit out of the three monitored retail sub-categories, bringing in a total of $221.6 million, a 32 percent year-over-year decrease. Microsoft's Xbox 360 claimed its 27th month as the best-selling console in America, selling 261,000 units, down 13.5 percent from last month.
Meanwhile, overall physical software sales (console, portable and PC games) outperformed March 2012 by two percent: $602.4 million in 2013, as compared with last a total of $592.2 million in sales last March. BioShock Infinite took an immediate victory over the rest of the period's release calendar, with Tomb Raider and Gears of War: Judgment rounding out the podium lineup. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon placed sixth overall; we learned yesterday it has sold 415,000 units. Though that figure's retail-to-digital ratio remains undefined, the "vast majority" of sales took place at retail, according to Nintendo's Scott Moffit.
As always, jump on through for the top 10 best-selling games of March, 2013.
The United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of California has sent word that it has modified the settlement distribution plan and certified the ongoing lawsuit against Electronic Arts and its exclusive NFL, NCAA, and AFL licenses. Because fewer than expected claims have been filed, the court has extended the claim period from this past March to May 15, 2013.
If you've already filed a claim, you're good to go, and the court says this agreement won't decrease your portion of the settlement. If you haven't filed a claim yet, aren't an EA employee, and bought a Madden NFL, NCAA Football, or Arena Football game for Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 or 3, the GameCube, or the Wii between January 1, 2005 and June 21, 2012, you can file a claim on the website and still be eligible to receive some compensation.
This decision does not mean the court has agreed to any wrongdoing on EA's part, and EA itself still denies the claims that these exclusive licenses were anything but "legal and proper," according to the notice. But EA says that it is filing this settlement "solely to eliminate the uncertainties, burden, and expense of further protracted litigation."
Everybody Votes ... until June 28. Nintendo of America has informed us that many of the network-reliant Channels on the Wii will go out of service on that date, including the Forecast Channel, News Channel, Everybody Votes, Check Mii Out, Nintendo Channel, and data exchange between friends. Mii exchanges and Wii Message Board conversation functionality will also go offline.
Other services will remain active for the time being, including the really important one, the Wii Shop Channel, so your original Wii is still infinitely better than the totally-offline Wii Mini.
Harmonix websites are back, following an attack last week that brought down the official Rock Band and Dance Central websites. Harmonix disabled passwords for all accounts as a precautionary measure and now suggests it's safe for users to head back and reset their passwords.
There's no word on who initiated the attack, though Harmonix assured there aren't any signs of user information being published or misused. The attack comes a week after Harmonix concluded its DLC campaign for Rock Band, which delivered new songs every week for over five years.
Get your finest green tuxedo ready, Los Angelenos, because the Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses concert is coming back in June. The touring show features a full orchestra performing classic tunes from the series, and this event promises "newly approved" music straight from the land of Hyrule.
The show starts at the Greek Theatre on Wednesday, June 12, which puts it right on the second day of E3 2013. If you want tickets, they'll be available this Saturday at 10AM through Ticketmaster.
This is a newly scheduled stop on the Zelda tour, but it's not the only one: The full schedule has dates around the rest of California, in Texas, and up in Seattle and Toronto as well.
Yes, there's another CG and live-action Smurfs movie coming out this July, and Ubisoft is publishing the official game adaptation.
However, instead of the truly off-putting dance game released for the first movie, Ubisoft has smurfed WayForward into making a 2.5D, co-op platformer for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Wii U, and an "interactive storytelling book and collection of mini-games" for DS. All versions will march into stores this July.
Each playable Smurf has unique special abilities: Papa Smurf can throw potions, Grouchy can stomp, and Vanity can ... pose to become a platform. We don't expect too much from a licensed Smurfs game, but WayForward has a particular talent for licensed games, with Aliens: Infestation and Adventure Time as recent examples.
Starting this Friday, when you feed your little giants at McDonalds (or find a friend's kid to help you have an excuse to buy a Happy Meal), they'll get some Skylanders Giants toys.
Each of the nine Giants toys includes a "play feature" - think "shoots a missile" rather than "connects to the game" - and comes with a $10 coupon for Skylanders Giants, helping Activision clear out the warehouse before the new game hits.
The toys will be available through May 2 in the US, with a rollout planned in other countries this year. McDonalds can just package up the meals and ship them around the world! They'll keep.
All of the recent news about Disney Interactive has been related to layoffs, studioclosures, and in general, disappointment. Or Disney Infinity, which has appeared to be the exclusive focus of the division all year.
But Disney Interactive has a second game in the works. A game based on Disney's Planes, the Disney-produced, formerly straight-to-DVD spinoff of Cars, will be released on Wii U, Wii, 3DS, and DS on August 6, three days before the movie is released.
"The game will expand beyond the storyline of the Disney's Planes film," Nintendo reveals, "offering players the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of flight as one of the popular characters from the film."
Nintendo has been granted a new patent this week, a "remotely controlled mobile device control system" filed back in 2011. In layman's terms, it's a patent that calls for embedding a Wiimote within a remote-controlled toy - a toy which then would interact with a game console.
In an interview with GI.biz, Warren Spector says he has no regrets in the decision to sell his Junction Point studio to Disney in 2007. "Being part of Disney had its ups and downs - what doesn't? - but the last seven years gave me the very best experiences of my professional Life. Seriously. The very, very best. The opposite is true, too, but let's not go there. I want to remember only the good times."
As for the studio's eventual closure and uneven commercial success, Spector had this to say: "I don't really understand it, but it is what it is. Junction Point had a good eight year run. We built a great team. We worked on a bunch of cool stuff, even if a lot of it didn't see the light of day (Sleeping Giants... Ninja Gold... some other stuff I can't talk about). And we shipped two triple-A titles which, Metacritic notwithstanding, sold better than any games I've ever worked on and about which I received more - and more heartfelt - fan mail than I've ever received. I'm good with all that."
Spector founded Junction Point Studios in 2005. It's best known for producing two Epic Mickey games, the most recent release selling 529,000 copies in the US according to NDP data released in late-January 2013. On the same day the aforementioned sales figures were revealed, Disney shuttered the studio.
Two Tribes has let its baby bird leave the nest; Toki Tori 2, the subject of a sudden delay last year, will be available today on the Wii U eShop.
Meanwhile on 3DS, the biggest release is a game from 1987, the original Castlevania. It's out on the eShop just in time to be a few weeks late to promote Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate. A couple of former retail games, including the adorable Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove, are also available, as is some DLC for Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.
Angry Birds developer Rovio reported $71.3 million in net profit in 2012, up $25 million from the previous year, and its revenue doubled to $195.6 million. Rovio attributes the growth to its new gaming franchises, such as Bad Piggies and Amazing Alex, and its consumer products, including all of those Angry Birds plushies, backpacks and clothes lining Target shelves. Consumer products in 2012 brought in three times the revenue as in 2011, accounting for 45 percent of Rovio's total.
Rovio games have been downloaded more than 1.7 billion times, and monthly active users across all platforms hit 263 million in December. Rovio notes that its main sources of revenue within gaming are paid titles, virtual goods and advertising.
Angry Birds Toons premiered in March and Rovio is working on an Angry Birds movie, using its own funds to make that thing happen outside of the standard studio system. Despicable Me producer John Cohen and Iron Man executive producer David Maisel are both on board for the film, which is set to launch in 2016.
The long awaited North American release of Pandora's Tower finally is finally upon us. Publisher XSEED has announced that the Wii RPG will finally launch on April 16 for $40. For those who haven't been keeping track, Pandora's Tower tells the story of a girl cursed to become a monster. The only cure? Munching down pieces of nasty monster flesh. It's a love story.
Cat Girl Without Salad! is the newest game from WayForward, combining "elements from several gaming genres, including puzzler, platformer, shmup, action, shooter, adventure, strategy, fighting, rhythm, arcade, horror, tactical, RPG, TPS, RTS, and visual novel" into one game, due this fall "exclusively" for 3DS, DS, Wii, Wii U, XBLA, PSN, PC, Vita, iOS, and Android."
Cat Girl Without Salad! stars space bounty hunter/chef Kebako and a team of "Calamarites," fighting the 'notoriously-tardy NekoNekoNeko Clan." Or it would, if it were real. This cacophonous omnigame is WayForward's April Fools' Day gag, to the great relief of our attention span.
During his GDC panel, "One Man, 17 SKUs: Shipping on Every Platform at Once," Retro City Rampage creator Brian Provinciano provided a clear breakdown of the game's fiscal performance across various platforms.
PSN was where Provinciano saw most of his profit come in: over $600,000 earned across over 35,000 units sold on PSN. These numbers do not account for PlayStation Plus downloads and the period of time during which RCR was offered for free with membership.
The PC platform yielded the second-highest revenue for Retro City Rampage, earning over $400,000 from over 40,000 copies sold - the majority sold on Steam. Xbox Live Arcade came third with around $200,000 earned across 15,000 units sold, and WiiWare earned under $10,000 with fewer than 2,000 units sold. After the panel, Provinciano told me sales currently sit around 97,000 total, and that he anticipates total sales will exceed 100,000 next week.
Provinciano said he spent the most development time on the Xbox Live Arcade port, on a platform he called the most expensive. "Knowing what I know now, I would've skipped it," he said. Though he considered the WiiWare version a $20,000 gift to fans, the XBLA port ended up costing more.
Update: Brian got in touch to tell us some of the numbers in his panel were a bit off thanks to an Excel issue. "Looks like Excel didn't line up the bars up correctly." The WiiWare version sold under 2,000 units, he tells us. "It's also sold significantly more than 35K on PSN, 40K on PC and 15K units on each of the other platforms."