Kinect sales pass over 2.5 million

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360

Microsoft has announced that 2.5 million Kinect units for the Xbox 360 have been sold since it was launched worldwide 25 days ago.

That means in the two weeks since Microsoft revealed one million Kinect devices had been sold in its first ten days on sale, 1.5 million more motion controllers for the Xbox 360 have been purchased by consumers. The numbers mean that Microsoft are close to beating their initial sales target of three million by the end of the year, and could reach the revised target number of five million.

“We are thrilled about the consumer response to Kinect, and are working hard with our retail and manufacturing partners to expedite production and shipments of Kinect to restock shelves as fast as possible to keep up with demand,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

“With sales already exceeding two and a half million units in just 25 days, we are on pace to reach our forecast of 5 million units sold to consumers this holiday.”

“Kinect on Xbox 360 was a top performer at Target this weekend,” said Nik Nayar, VP of merchandising at the US retailer. “We expect Kinect will be a must-have gift this holiday season, so Target will continue to receive consistent shipments of Kinect throughout December.”

Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 is now available at over 60,000 retailers in 38 countries, and its launch helped double Xbox 360 console sales in the UK.

However, not everyone has positive things to say about Kinect, with a Sony engineer recently claiming that the Xbox 360 device isn’t capable of handling a good Star Wars lightsaber game. But with sales going so well, it’s unlikely Microsoft will be too bothered by the comments.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the sales numbers for Kinect? Are you surprised to see it selling so well? Do you think that ‘hardcore’ Xbox 360 gamers are buying the device, or is it the more ‘casual’ fans that are boosting sales? And can Microsoft reach five million Kinect sales by Christmas?

You can have your thoughts about Kinect for the Xbox 360 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Gamesbrief founder Nicholas Lovell speaks to Train2Game about ‘How to Publish a Game’

The games industry is a competitive place, with many independent developers each trying to produce, and make money from, games.

It’s possible that a relatively inexperienced developer could think of and produce what could be great online or iPhone game. But without knowledge about how to market and distribute it correctly, the game this would be classic could disappear without a trace.

Fortunately, there are professionals who are experts in this area, and one of them is games industry consultant, Gamesbrief founder, and author of ‘How to Publish a Game’ Nicholas Lovell. The former investment banker spent a decade helping media companies – including those in the business of games – adapt their strategies right through the dot com boom of the late 1990’s.

Train2Game recently met with Nicholas Lovell, and discussed many aspects of the games industry. He begun by telling us how since leaving the world of investment banking, he’s struck out on his own and helped various developers with the distribution of games:

“In 2003 I set up a small corporate finance boutique, who helped games companies raise money and with strategy”, he told Train2Game. “We worked with companies like Blitz and Kuju, EIDOS, we worked with Codemasters, so we worked with a number of different games design companies.”

“I then decided I actually wanted to get my hands dirtier, and joined a gaming portal called Game Shadow to run that business, to turn it from a subscription based business to a free to play business growing revenues by a factor of ten,”

“Did that for two years and for the last three years I’ve been helping companies make money from games.”

“So at one level I’ve worked with investors trying to understand the industry from the very small up to the people where a $500 million investment is too small. I’ve worked with publishers like Square Enix and Atari and Channel 4 to help think about their game strategy, and I’ve worked with developers to launch new projects.

“Pretty much all of those developers have been who’ve been trying to move from console or mobile to this new world of Facebook or free to play social, online titles.”

Away from consulting, Lovell writes about the business of the games on his blog, Gamesbrief. However, it isn’t only a blog that the consultant writes. Nicholas Lovell has also written a book called How to Publish a Game.”

He told Train2Game about what’s in the book; how it can help developers publish games and about the promotional offer running until Tuesday 7th December:

“It’s about what are the different business models, what are the four key skills you need to get a game to market – sales, distribution, finance and marketing. It’s about different ways of using free as a marketing technique, and it’s all structured around giving you a framework about how to publish a game rather than a playbook.”

“Until December 7th – at midnight- the book is half price. It’s not the worlds cheapest book… it’s aimed at prosumers, the people who expect to make money from that game, so the standard price is £100 and it’s currently going for £49.50.”

“You can get the first the first two chapters for free, and there’s also valuable stuff on GamesBrief, so check out Gamesbrief, if there’s stuff you like, then you’re more likely to want to buy the book.”

Nicholas Lovell discussed many subjects about the games industry in a wide ranging interview which will appear on the Train2Game blog in the near future. Be sure to stay tuned for that, but in the meantime, you can get an overview of some of the subjects discussed – including how freemium games make up 34 of the top 100 grossing iPhone apps – on Gamesbrief.

If you do want to buy ‘How to Publish a Game’ while the half price offer is on, you can do so here.

As usual, you can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

UK Charts: Gran Turismo 5 races past Call of Duty: Black Ops to take No. 1

Gran Turismo 5

It may have been years in the making, but Gran Turismo 5 has made an immediate impact on the UKIE GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top 40 by taking top spot.

After a long wait, Gran Turismo 5 was finally released last Wednesday to generally positive reviews. The icing on the cake for Sony and Polyphony Digital is that the racer has reached number one in its debut week by knocking the mighty behemoth that is Call of Duty: Black Ops from the top spot.

Activision’s first person shooter was number one for two weeks following its record breaking release. The arrival of Gran Turismo 5 also pushes Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood down one spot to third place in this weeks chart.  FIFA 11 is still selling strongly almost two months after its chart topping debut, and holds onto fourth place. Just Dance 2 is also a non-mover and remains in fifth.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has moved down three places from third to sixth in its second week on sale, while Nintendo Wii Party has also moved down the top ten, dropping one place to seventh spot.  Art Academy for the Nintendo DS is the big winner in this weeks Top 40, jumping almost 20 places from 27th to eighth place. It overtakes another Nintendo Title, Wii Sports Resort which has dropped two to ninth.

Former number one Fallout: New Vegas, rounds out the top ten, having clawed its way back in after dropping to 13th place last week.

Elsewhere, Red Dead Redemption expansion pack Undead Nightmare enters the UK Chart in 14th place, while Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson: The Experience is a new entry in 32nd.

Disney’s brand new – and heavily advertised – Epic Mickey has failed to even reach the Top 40 and only managed to reach 11th in the Nintendo Wii chart.

The full UKIE GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top Ten for the week ending November 27th is as follows:

1. Gran Turismo 5 (Sony)
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision)
3. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
4. FIFA 11 (EA)
5. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
6. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (EA)
7. Wii Party (Nintendo)
8. Art Academy (Nintendo)
9. Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo)
10. Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda)

So Train2Game, do you think Gran Turismo 5 deserves the honour of number 1? Can it go on to be ‘the biggest selling PS3 game of the year’ or will sales drop next week? And are you surprised to see Epic Mickey fail to even make the Top 40?

You can leave your thoughts about Gran Turismo 5, Epic Mickey or any other game in the UK Top 40 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Kinect can’t do a good lightsaber game says Sony engineer

Lightsaber battle

The man behind the PlayStation Eye thinks the upcoming Star Wars game for Kinect won’t be up to much.

SCEE Software Engineer Anton Mikhailov told Eurogamer that “There’s no way Kinect can do a good lightsaber game”.

And while Sony and Lucasarts have yet to announce a Star Wars compatable game for the PlayStation move, Mikhailov boldly claims “It’ll be damn better than Kinect’s.”

When asked about the possibility of a PlayStation Move Star Wars game, the SCEE Software Engineer replied: “I’m not in the product planning division so unfortunately I can’t tell you much more about that, but technologically it’s 100 per cent feasible.

“We can overlay objects over the controller in AR. You’ve seen that in Start the Party, and swords are a really popular one. The fidelity is certainly there to do all sorts of Star Wars kid-style action. You can very well do the lightsaber.”

He went on:

I’m usually not very aggressive, but I will say it’ll [Move’s Star Wars game] be damn better than Kinect could ever do.

“There’s no way Kinect can do a good lightsaber game. Just never. Unless they give you a stick. If they give you a stick then they can do OK, but then they’re going to ruin their whole no controller motto.

“I’ve seen the demo but it’s so scripted, and wasn’t it like, faked?

“Technologically I find it hard how you can do a lightsaber, because there are so many ambiguities, and it’s nearly impossible to track the angles of your wrists.

“I can sort of see them doing it, like hold your hands together and move like this [holds them out in front of his body], and then from the x, y, position and for the angle. If anyone’s listening, you guys should try that. That would probably work all right.”

Earlier this month, Sony said that the PlayStation Move has greatly exceeded expectations.

So Train2Game, what do you think about the Sony mans comments? Is he right? Is the PlayStation Move naturally more suited to the motion control required for swinging a lightsaber around? Or is this just pure trolling of Microsoft and the Xbox 360?

You can leave your thoughts on a PlayStation Move Star Wars game here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Analyst: No Grand Theft Auto V until 2012

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto V won’t arrive until at least 2012 according to Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey.

According to GameSpot, the analyst says that Grand Theft Auto V will arrive in Take Two’s financial year 2012 which runs from April 2012 until March 2013. Yes, that mean’s if Hickey is correct, we might not see seeing Grand Theft Auto V until almost the middle of 2013.

However, he believes that despite the possibly no new Grand Theft Auto game being released, Take Two will remain profitable during the 2011 fiscal year because of releases including Max Payne 3, LA Noire and Duke Nukem Forever

The Janco analyst also predicts that Grand Theft Auto V will be a massive success selling over 16 million copies and generating $750 million in sales.  He also suggests that Bioshock  Infinite will arrive in the same fiscal year, and that the first person shooter will sell over 4 million units and generate $182 million.

One of the main reasons Hickey expects the big sales numbers is increased ownership of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, suggesting 41 million units will be in American homes by the end of this year.

It’s not the first time an analyst has made predictions about Grand Theft Auto V, with one suggesting we’d see it at E3 earlier this year. That didn’t happen.

So Train2Game, do you agree with the analyst? Are you expecting to wait at least another 18 months before seeing Grand Theft Auto V? And do you think it’ll really sell that many more copies than Bioshock Infinite?

As usual, you can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

LittleBigPlanet 2 Controlinator Featurette

LittleBigPlanet 2

Media Molecule has released another trailer for LittleBigPlanet 2, and once again it introduces a new feature.

This latest trailer introduces The Controlinator, which is arguably looks like the most important new feature in LittleBigPlanet 2. It’s a new gadget that lets Sackboy steer and control any new creation or mechanical object in a variety of different ways. In LittleBigPlanet 2, the controlinator will let sackboy drive, race, dig and fly any creation. The controlinator looks to be a key feature not just in the creation of levels, but in making whole new games.

You can check out the 1960’s style science programme controlinator featurette below.

The controlinator is just one of many new features that has been added to LittleBigPlanet 2. Previously we’ve seen how the Creatinator will allow Sackboy to shoot or spawn any item, while Bounce Pads give him a whole new way to move around levels.

LittleBigPlanet 2 will also see the introduction of Sackbots, which can be used to help or hinder the player in community created levels.  The game is truly shaping up to offer players plenty of scope for creating not only unique levels, but whole new games.

Interesting creations we’ve seen during the LittleBigPlanet 2 beta test include re-imaginings of games from classics like Dogfight and Street Fighter, but also more recent titles including Portal.

Train2Game students would be well advised to pick up a copy of LittleBigPlanet 2, not only to help their creative juices flow, but because Media Molecule have a record of hiring community designers who’ve made outstanding levels.

You can get an insight into what working for LittleBigPlanet 2 creators Media Molecule is like, by taking a look at the development of Sackboy.

LittleBigPlanet 2 is scheduled for release on January 18th and will be PlayStation Move compatible.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the controlinator? Do you think it’s the biggest new addition (so far…) to LittleBigPlanet 2? How do you think you’ll use it?

You can leave your thoughts about LittleBigPlanet 2 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Gran Turismo 5 ‘can’t match adrenaline rush of F1 2010’ say Codemasters

Gran Turismo 5

You may have noticed that Gran Turismo 5 has finally been released today, but Codemasters say it can’t match up to the adrenaline rush of their own F1 2010.

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens told CVG that while Gran Turismo 5 is a “phenomenal product” the realism could take away from the excitement of the game.

“GT5 is going to be a phenomenal product, with the time and investment Sony have made in it, You can have a technically phenomenal game, but you can also have a game concept that doesn’t really appeal [to some racing fans] and could be accused of – and you have to be careful how you write this – of being boring.”

“We don’t have that problem. We feel the adrenaline rush that we’ll always provide in F1 will not be matched by anyone else. You’re going to have all the cars, all the tracks and all the worldwide locations – not to mention the best strategy, and the best damage, as far as we can. If you’re an F1 fan, you don’t need to go anywhere else for that.”

HMV are currently offering Gran Turismo 5 for just £4.99 if you trade in a copy of F1 2010, could this be an attempt and trying to stop gamers trading Codemasters product in for one of their rivals?

F1 2010 took the top spot in the UK Charts when it was released towards the end of September.

So Train2Game, do you think Cousens comments are true? Has too much effort been put into making Gran Turismo 5 a simulation, and therefore making it less fun?

Can passing a faceless driver in a Nissan be as thrilling as overtaking Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso at one of the famous F1 circuits? And are you still playing F1 2010?

You can leave your thoughts about Gran Turismo 5 and F1 2010 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum

Gran Turismo 5 review round-up

Gran Turismo 5

After years of waiting, it’s actually here. You can physically go into a games retailer, buy a copy of Gran Turismo 5 then go home and play it. Of course before going out to buy it, you may want to check out where you can pick up Gran Turismo 5 for the cheapest price.

If you needed further proof that the much delayed Gran Turismo 5 has finally been released, then you can read a variety of reviews across the gaming media. Alternatively, you can save yourself some time by reading this Gran Turismo 5 review round up. The good news that fans who have been waiting all these years is that reviews of Gran Turismo 5 are positive with a Metacritic average of 86 (At the time of writing)

Destructoid give Gran Turismo 5 a perfect 10 and have high praise for the game:

“Just as with a great car, Gran Turismo 5 feels so great that it begs to be driven. You can’t put it down. I found myself cruising the 8.5 miles of Circuit de la Sarthe this week just to enjoy the drive. When you get in the zone and really get in tune with the controls, this game really does let you tap into the pleasures of driving and racing. I’d like to imagine that Polyphony Digital has spent all this time fine-tuning this game for this very feeling.”

Eurogamer give Gran Turismo 5 a 9/10. They say the online mode isn’t as good as it can be, but that this is made up for by the rest of the game:

“Dreamed up five years ago and served up yesterday, it’s an off-kilter vision of the future, a cumbersome game with odd priorities, certainly. But it’s equally a game that heads off in unexpected and exciting directions, makes a few notable improvements, and overflows with love – for cars, for games technology and for its own mad pursuit. It’s good that Gran Turismo’s been away so long, because it’s all the better to have it back.”

Gran Turismo 5 gets an 8.5/10 from IGN, praising the games racing elements but claiming that away from the track the game isn’ quite up to scratch:

“Gran Turismo 5 is a 10/10 simulator wrapped up in a 5/10 game – driving is as exhilarating as anything that’s gone before, and slavish obsession with the minutiae of many of its cars ensure it’s an encyclopaedia of automotive delights. Its brilliance on the track, however is matched by its sloppiness off of it, and there’s a lack of polish that would at one time have seemed sacrilegious to the series. Ultimately its driving wins out to ensure that it’s still a great game, but it leaves that nagging doubt; this could have been a masterpiece were it not for the fact that Polyphony was so absorbed with the detail that it took its eye off the ball.”

CVG gives Gran Turismo 5 an 8/10, praising how realistic the cars feel to drive:

“Ultimately, Gran Turismo 5 has improved in the most important area, how the cars feel. Pounding the tarmac at the Nurburgring is even more satisfying knowing that the car is behaving as a real car would. It’s the biggest racing game around, so you certainly won’t be short of things to do once you get locked into building a serious car collection.”

However, their review ends by saying that after so long in development, Gran Turismo 5 does come with a slight sense of disappointment. Still, 8/10 is a very good score.

The high review scores suggest that Gran Turismo 5 will indeed be one of the biggest games of the year. ShopTo Marketing Manager Philip Driver claimed that Gran Turismo 5 will be the biggest selling PlayStation 3 game of the year, could this be true?

So Train2Game, have you been playing Gran Turismo 5? If so what do you think of it? Has it been worth the long wait?

You can leave your thoughts about Gran Turismo 5 here on the Train2Game blog or on the Train2Game forum.

Activision boss: “we will never, ever charge for Call of Duty multiplayer”

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Activision has once again moved to quell rumours that they’ll charge a fee for Call of Duty online multiplayer.

Industry analyst Michael Pachter recently stated that he believed that Activision was soon going to introduce a subscription charge for Call of Duty: Black Ops. However, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has told Industry Gamers they company will never charge for Call of Duty’s online multiplayer.

“Are we going to be charging for multiplayer? The answer is no. The experience you have out of the box, connecting with the online community to play Call of Duty is absolutely integral to the experience and we’ll never charge for that. It’s not going to be something we’ll attempt to monetize; it’s part of the package,”

Hirshberg then went onto directly discuss Pachter’s comments.

“Nothing we or anyone else tries is going to work if it doesn’t have tremendous value for people and add a tremendous value to the gaming experience. He’s [Pachter] probably looking at meta-trends in the world and in culture about online services and new ways things should be monetized from Netflix to cloud-based computing.”

“So there are certainly a lot of behavioural shifts towards long-standing online relationships… But at the end of the day, all I’m trying to get across is I can unequivocally say we will never, ever charge for the multiplayer.”

Activision has previously made strong hints that it’s looking to make more money from the online aspect of Call of Duty. Modern Warfare 2 saw the introduction of two online expansion packs  with extra maps– the Resurgence and Stimulus Packages – which both sold rather well at over £10 each. However, it could be argued that the publishers desire to make a profit, is starting to make them out of touch with gamers.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is currently sitting atop the UK Chart for the second week in a row.

So Train2Game, after there was so much outrage on the Facebook page yesterday are you reassured by the comments from Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg? And if Activision really want to make more money from the Call of Duty series, how do you think they should go about doing it?

As usual, you can leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare disc release this Friday

Undead Nightmare

Rockstar has announced that Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare will be released on a standalone playable disc this Friday. The expansion pack was originally released as downloadable content on October 26th.

Undead Nightmare features both a new single player campaign for Red Dead Redemption’s protagonist John Marston and all new multiplayer features.

Undead Nightmare makes an entirely new game from Red Dead Redemption’s amazing open world,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games.

“The Western frontier is completely transformed into a classic zombie-horror fight for survival.”

For more information on Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, be sure to check out these posts from October featuring information about the Undead Nightmare TV Trailer, the Gameplay Trailer and the first teaser trailer.

The Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare disc also comes with every other bit of DLC for the western game released to date. This includes:

  • Outlaws to the End Co-Op mission pack where players team up to complete up to six unique missions set throughout the world of Red Dead Redemption;
  • Legends and Killers — multiplayer pack which adds nine maps, eight characters from Red Dead Revolver, and the Tomahawk weapon;
  • Liars and Cheats — multiplayer pack that adds new modes, including Stronghold, Horse Racing, Liar’s Dice and Poker, along with new characters and the Explosive Rifle. (Be sure to check out this post from September for more information about Liars and Cheats)
  • And finally, Undead Nightmare includes all Red Dead Redemption Multiplayer Free Roam modes, challenges and achievements/trophies released to date.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare will be released on Friday 26th November with a RRP of £24.99.  However, many retailers have the game listed at lower prices including Play who are selling Undead Nightmare for £17.99, while GAME have it listed for £19.99.

So Train2Game, if you didn’t download Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, are you interested in buying it now that it’s on disc? Do you think that the price represents good value for money? Or are you already long done with Red Dead Redemption?

You can leave your thoughts about the disc release of Undead Nightmare here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.