Week in Review – 12/15/03

December 22, 2003

I know that ever since the N-Gage came out it was the popular thing to bash them and get the N-Gage jokes in, but I want you to know just how bad things really are in the world of that funky taco shaped unit. An independent research firm was contacted by TheCalifornian.com. This research firm, Arcadia Research, looked into the actual number of N-Gage units that were purchased by consumers and how that compared to the 400,000 units Nokia claimed were shipped. Most of us know the difference between shipping units and selling units. So what is the total number of purchased units you ask? Arcadia is reporting that sales of the N-Gage are less than 5,000 in North America. I would make a funny joke about GB/GBA/SP 10 Other Handhelds 0, but I can’t remember the exact number of handhelds the GB line has dominated at this point.

Reuters has a very interesting article discussing the state of the gaming industry and how it relates to the pricing of the PS2. The article states that sales are down this holiday season and they cite a lack of price cuts for the slump. I can only assume they are not referring to the GC which has done fantastic since its move to $99. The article goes on to speculate that a drop to $129 for the PS2 is needed to keep things moving in 2004. They even make mention that Sony fell short of the estimated 10 Million expected console sales this year with as few as 7 Million consoles being purchased in 2003. Hopefully 2004 will be a strong year leading up to the next generation of consoles.

In some strange news, it would appear that Take Two has phased out Gotham Games. Gotham was responsible for The Great Escape and the Conflict: Desert Storm games.

Take Two is also having a rough week being that the SEC is preparing for civil action against the company. The company had just reported record sales and profit, but an ongoing investigation that dates back to a December 2001 announcement that they were revising the past 7 quarters worth of financial statements. Take Two CEO Jeffrey Lapin seems confident that things will be resolved and commented that the process was moving along.

I may as well rename this Take Two Week in Review as I have a little news about the controversial new game, Manhunt. Despite an outright ban in New Zealand and a slower than expected sales of the game (NPD says 75,000 copies but Lapin says the game met expectations), the game is on its way to PC and Xbox. While Sony basked in Rockstar exclusivity for a long time, that time is over and Rockstar knows they have millions of potential customers w/ Xboxes that want their newest games. I guess the reward in waiting is that you get improved visuals on par with the PC versions of the game.

In China this week an online gamer sued the maker of an online game after his account was “hacked” and the promptly looted. The Chinese court ordered the game company to restore the gamers virtual possessions and held them liable for weak server security that allowed the “hack” to take place in the first place.

In a little bit of Nintendo news before I wrap up this pre-Christmas edition of the WIR, Nintendo announced the arrival of a limited edition two-tone GBA SP to be released in North America. The handheld will feature a platinum base and an onyx (black) lid. It is being released to celebrate the strongest year in the handheld’s 14 year life. I wasn’t too impressed by the look of the console, but I am glad that Nintendo is releasing limited edition items in the US and Canada.

I really don’t have anything else for you this week. I hope everyone has a superb Christmas. Be safe and we will see you real soon.