News

Will Smith Plans To “Stomp” Daughter At Box Office. We’re sceptical

Dominating the Fourth-of-July movie box office is nothing new for Will Smith. But this year, he faces some unexpected box office competition in the form of his daughter, Willow. Will’s big-budget superhero movie Hancock opens next Tuesday, July 1st. Willow, meanwhile, is in Kit Kittredge, the American Girl film that […]
Will Smith Plans To “Stomp” Daughter At Box Office. We’re sceptical
US

Movies On YouTube: How To Watch On The Boob Tube

As the Web’s leading purveyor of bite-sized video, YouTube (GOOG) created a world of media snackers. It’s a sit-forward experience for the most part, done at desks, offices and cubicles. But now YouTube is allowing partners to upload films, or long-form video up to 1GB in size. It’s actively scouring […]
Movies On YouTube: How To Watch On The Boob Tube
Tech

What Apple TV Should Be: More Like Boxee (AAPL)

Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and several other companies are betting that your computer — or some kind of Internet-connected device — will someday be at the centre of your living room. Despite some decent efforts, like Apple’s (AAPL) Apple TV, and multimedia features on gaming consoles like Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360, […]
What Apple TV Should Be: More Like Boxee (AAPL)
Tech

EA’s ‘Madden’, Other Games Will Get In-Game Ads On PS3 (SNE, ERTS)

More ads are coming to your gaming console, courtesy of Sony (SNE) and in-game advertising agency IGA Worldwide, which used today’s WSJ ($) to announce an in-game ad deal. First publisher to jump on board: Electronic Arts (ERTS), which will use IGA to put ads in upcoming editions of ‘Madden’ […]
EA’s ‘Madden’, Other Games Will Get In-Game Ads On PS3 (SNE, ERTS)
US

Sony Tries Charging For Video On PlayStation: Good Luck With That* (SNE)

Sony (SNE) announced its first-ever original series for the PlayStation, a video series about gaming produced by Future US (publisher of PlayStation: The Official Magazine). The series is called “Qore” and will be hosted by sorta-Web-celeb Veronica Belmont. Viewers will also be able to download and play mini-games. (And as […]
Sony Tries Charging For Video On PlayStation: Good Luck With That* (SNE)
Tech

Sony: More Music, Please

Aphorism among optimistic music industry types for the past few years: The music business isn’t in trouble — the music labels are in trouble. The logic: People are spending plenty on music — via iPods, concert tickets, ring tones etc. They’re just not very interested in spending much on actual […]
Sony: More Music, Please
Tech

SNEAK PEEK: Sony’s Ultra-Thin OLED TV

Among the worthies appearing onstage at the D6 conference Wednesday morning: Sony CEO Howard Stringer. Among the things he’ll be talking about, we’re told: Sony’s newish OLED TVs — its line of super-thin screens built using organic light-emitting diodes.
SNEAK PEEK: Sony’s Ultra-Thin OLED TV
Tech

GTA IV: Big Sales. Take-Two Shares: Small Bump (TTWO)

Take-Two Interactive’s GTA IV was only on sale for five days during the April reporting period, but that’s all it needed to take home bragging rights for the month. Take-Two (TTWO) sold 2.85 million units in North America according to NPD Group, which tracks game sales.
GTA IV: Big Sales. Take-Two Shares: Small Bump (TTWO)
Tech

Sony BMG: Mediocre Q4, Unpleasant Forecast

Neither Sony (SNE) or Bertelsmann provide much detail into the performance of their Sony BMG music label JV, but Sony’s latest earnings release offers a few peeks, and they’re not inspiring: For Sony’s FY 07 (ended March 31 of this year), the JV saw sales drop 4%, a figure we […]
Sony BMG: Mediocre Q4, Unpleasant Forecast
Tech

Sony Q4: Revenues Down, Game Business Turning Around

Deciphering Sony’s earnings reports is always fun, because you get to incorporate multiple business lines, including a finance arm, along with Yen-Dollar exchanges rates, a joint venture and a generally oblique presentation style. Hence these two headlines this am:
Sony Q4: Revenues Down, Game Business Turning Around
Tech

More People Bought GTA IV For The Xbox 360

Microsoft is claiming that 60% of the Grand Theft Auto IV (TTWO) titles sold in the U.S. were bought for the Xbox 360, which would mean that the PlayStation 3 (SNE) only garnered 40%.
More People Bought GTA IV For The Xbox 360
Tech

Music Site MOG Gets $2.8M From Sony BMG, UMG

Music-community Web site, MOG, has raised $2.8 million from Universal Music, Sony BMG and The Angels Forum 74. The deal, first reported by Venture Beat, comes on the heels of similar industry support for music-community Web sites Buzznet and imeem.
Music Site MOG Gets $2.8M From Sony BMG, UMG
Tech

Goldman: GTA IV Could Give Microsoft A $100M Boost (TTWO, MSFT)

Take-Two Interactive isn’t the only player hoping for blockbuster numbers out of Grand Theft Auto IV. Both Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) are looking for a big bump, via licence fees for their game consoles, from Take-Two’s (TTWO) ultra-violent, ultra-hyped game. Microsoft has made a particularly large wager: It’s paid […]
Goldman: GTA IV Could Give Microsoft A $100M Boost (TTWO, MSFT)
Tech

Microsoft Cuts Xbox Price In Asia — More Cuts To Follow?

Microsoft (MSFT) is cutting the price of the Xbox 360 in four Asian markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, China and South Korea. The cuts are between 5% (South Korea) and 20% (Singapore). Last month, when Microsoft cut prices in Europe, sales of the 360 soared. If the same happens in Asia, […]
Microsoft Cuts Xbox Price In Asia — More Cuts To Follow?
Tech

Sony – That’s Sony, Not Sony-BMG – Buys Gracenote For $260M

This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher: Sony (SNE) is buying Gracenote for $260 million. Gracenote supplies the track names and other information on a CD when it’s played on a computer. The company is also working on a DVD information database, and a way of identifying copyrighted material in […]
Sony – That’s Sony, Not Sony-BMG – Buys Gracenote For $260M
Tech

Sony Delays Virtual World For PS3 (Again)

Sony (SNE) is again delaying the launch of “Home,” its virtual world for the PS3. The service was supposed to be released last year, but in September, Sony said that it was delaying it to make improvements. Today, Sony computer entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai said basically the same thing:
Sony Delays Virtual World For PS3 (Again)
Tech

PlayStation To (Finally) Get Movies, TV Shows (SNE)

Sony is going to roll out a video service that will offer movies and TV shows via its PlayStation 3, the LA Times reports. This is a direction Sony (SNE) and its competitors have all been heading in for years but has yet to arrive at: Creating an all-in-one hub […]
PlayStation To (Finally) Get Movies, TV Shows (SNE)
Tech

Game Industry Had A Boffo March (Of Course)

There were few surprises in March for the game industry. Consoles and games sold incredibly well, led by the Nintendo’s Wii and “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” which drove a 57% y/y gain in overall sales, according to NPD Group numbers released yesterday.
Game Industry Had A Boffo March (Of Course)
Tech

Sony’s Blu-Ray Boast: Insane or Just Implausible? (SNE)

Sony might be overly giddy now that it’s wiped HD DVD off the mat. How else to explain the company’s apparent 2008 sales targets for Blu-ray: It says Blu-ray will have a 50% share of the DVD market by the end of this year. What does that mean exactly? We’re not […]
Sony’s Blu-Ray Boast: Insane or Just Implausible? (SNE)
US

YouTube Stats: Sony Rolly Popular In New York, Virginia

Yesterday, we ran a video of the Sony (SNE) Rolly — a dancing MP3 player coming soon to the U.S. — that we uploaded to Google’s (GOOG) YouTube service last December. Today, thanks to YouTube’s new stats tool, we can tell you that about 250 people watched the Rolly dance […]
YouTube Stats: Sony Rolly Popular In New York, Virginia
Tech

Sony’s Dancing Rolly: Coming Soon!

Good news: After missing our chance to impulse purchase a Sony Rolly — a singing, dancing MP3 player — when we were in Tokyo last winter, we’ll soon get another chance here!
Sony’s Dancing Rolly: Coming Soon!
Tech

Microsoft’s European Xbox Price Cut: First Of Many?

What will Microsoft’s recent European Xbox price cut do for its top and bottom lines? Not too much. But does it signal that Microsoft (MSFT) is ready to cut prices elsewhere? And will rival Sony (SNE) have to slash prices on its PS3?
Microsoft’s European Xbox Price Cut: First Of Many?
Tech

Toshiba’s HD DVD Bill: $1 Billion

Feeling stupid for shelling out hundreds on a HD DVD player and discs, only to find out you’ve bought obsolete technology? Take heart: At least you didn’t blow a billion dollars. AFP:
Toshiba’s HD DVD Bill: $1 Billion
Tech

Microsoft: No Blu-ray On Xbox 360… Yet

Microsoft gaming exec Aaron Greenberg tells Reuters that he isn’t working with rival Sony (SNE) to add Blu-ray drives to its Xbox 360 video game console. “Xbox is not currently in talks with Sony or the Blu-ray Association to integrate Blu-ray into the Xbox experience.”
Microsoft: No Blu-ray On Xbox 360… Yet
Tech

Time For PS3-Xbox 360 Price War? Nope (MSFT, SNE)

Microsoft (MSFT) has slashed the price of its Xbox 360 in Europe: The high-end model is now $80 less than Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3, and the most basic model is almost half the cost of its Sony rival. So Sony’s going to have to follow suit, right?
Time For PS3-Xbox 360 Price War? Nope (MSFT, SNE)
Tech

Blu-ray Sales To Triple, DVD Market Still Screwed

Sales are of Sony’s (SNE) Blu-ray formatted discs will triple this year, predicts Pali Research’s Rich Greenfield (reg required). But that still won’t be enough to keep DVD sales from dropping 4% to 5%, this year, which comes on top of a 2% decline last year.
Tech

Triumphant Sony Talking To Microsoft, Apple About Blu-ray

Sony (SNE) is working with Microsoft (MSFT) to get Blu-ray drives into future Xbox 360s according to the Financial Times. Sony’s U.S. Electronics President, Stan Glasgow confirms that his company is also talking to Apple (AAPL) about a long-rumoured tie-up, though Steve Jobs and co. have lately been spending less […]
Tech

E-Publisher: Kindle Sales Eclipsing Sony’s (AMZN)

More anecdotal Kindle sales data: An e-book publisher tells us that in December, his royalties for Kindle sales equaled Sony (SNE) e-book royalties for all of Q4 2007. He added that his December Kindle sales were three times those of November, when Amazon (AMZN) launched the reader.
Tech

Publisher “Stunned” By Kindle Sales (AMZN)

In lieu of actual sales stats, more anecdotal evidence that Amazon’s Kindle has fans: Evan Schnittman, head of biz dev at 35,000-title textbook publisher Oxford University Press, says a pal at one of the “biggest trade publishers in the world” called him this week, shocked at how well Kindle-formatted books […]
US

Sony Says Goodbye To Crackle/Grouper Founders

Sony has ousted the founders of video site Crackle, installing SVP Jonathan Shambroom as general manager. In a press release, Shambroom thanks founders Josh Felser and Dave Samuel for leaving the site with “a solid foundation.” Founded as a peer-to-peer video site called Grouper in 2005, Felser and Samuel could […]
Tech

Live Gamer-Sony Deal: $10 Million?

Last year Live Gamer, the virtual goods exchange run by Massive founder Mitch Davis, raised $24 million. Have they just spent $10 million of that?
Tech

Toshiba: About Those HD DVDs You Bought

Hey, consumers: Did any of you fall for Toshiba’s Super Bowl marketing campaign for HD DVD, which featured dead technology at cut-rate prices? Hey, reporters: Did any of you take the company seriously last week,  when it insisted that it hadn’t decided to pull the plug on the format?
Tech

Microsoft Readying Blu-Ray For Xbox 360? (MSFT)

Now that Sony’s Blu-ray has beaten Toshiba’s HD DVD in the next-gen DVD format war, HD DVD backers must figure out what’s next. For Microsoft, that means figuring out how to integrate Blu-ray with the Xbox 360, which until now has been an HD DVD-only platform.
Tech

Sony’s Blu-ray Booby Prize: More Competition

Reuters tries to dim the lights on Sony’s victory party before it even starts. The newswire, which reports that Toshiba’s finally going to pull the plug on its HD DVD format, also notes that Sony won’t have Blu-ray all to itself:
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Wal-Mart Goes Blu-ray, Next-Gen DVD War Over

No need for Toshiba to pull the plug on HD-DVD now. Wal-Mart just did it for them. The nation’s biggest retailer says it is phasing out the next-gen format in favour of Sony’s Blu-ray. Wal-Mart’s statement:
Tech

January Video Game Sales: Up 18%

New stats from NPD Group show video game sales down last month, but ignore those numbers: NPD reports January 08 as a 4-week month and January 07 as a 5-week month, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. On a per-week basis, overall game sales were up 18% y/y, and software […]
Tech

HD DVD Backer Ready To Give Up

Toshiba is getting ready to wave the white flag and pull the plug on its HD DVD format, the Hollywood Reporter says. The company lost the next-gen DVD war to Sony and Blu-ray last month, but it’s spent the last few week in a sort-of-understandable denial. And it is still […]
Tech

One Last Nail In HD DVD’s Coffin: NetFlix Going Blu-ray

Netflix (NFLX) officially throws its hat in the Blu-ray ring, announcing that it will exclusively stock the Sony next-gen DVD format. No surprise, given that everyone else heading this way: Netflix also signaled that it was going to make this move during its Q4 earnings call last month. Hope no […]
Tech

Electronic Arts: Sony’s PS3 Will Pass Xbox 360 This Year

Video game giant Electronic Arts (ERTS) ‘ estimates predict that Sony’s PS3 will finally pass Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in unit sales this year. But Nintendo’s Wii machine will continue to whip all competitors, EA says. One problem for EA, and presumably the rest of the video game business — the […]
Tech

Sony-BMG’s Stellar Q3: Sales Flat

This is what passes for good news in the music business today: Sony-BMG’s sales didn’t decrease during Q3. Sony (SNE) said its JV with Bertelsmann sold some $1.47 billion worth of music in the last 3 months of 2007, essentially unchanged from last year. The label’s profits did decrease 12%, […]
Tech

Sony Q3: Gadget Sales Up But Prices Down; Games Profitable

A series of mixed signals from Sony overnight as it reports its Q3: Profits are up 25% y/y, in large part because the company’s gaming unit stopped losing money. But the PS3 unit itself is still a money loser, and as expected, the company cut its FY07 forecast for the […]
Tech

HD DVD’s Hail Mary: A $3 Million Super Bowl Ad

During the last boom, would-be Web companies spent most of their ad budget on Super Bowl ads, in a futile attempt to convince people that they mattered. This year’s replay: Toshiba, who will reportedly shell out $2.7 million for an ad promoting its three cheapest players, even though it has […]
Tech

Sony-BMG: We Don’t Have A QTrax Deal, Either

Not a huge surprise at this point, but Sony-BMG doesn’t have a deal with free music service QTrax, says a person familiar with the situation, who says the two companies are in discussions. For the record, that means that QTrax doesn’t have a deal with any of the four major […]
Tech

What Wii Shortage? Nintendo Doubles Profit, Raises Guidance

Nintendo’s world-beating Wii game console helped the company boost profits by 96.3% in the last 9 months, and led the company to raise its full-year revenue forecast by 5%. The rising Yen/slumping dollar kept Nintendo from boosting its profit goals, though. The Wii continues to be the success story of […]
Tech

Sony’s Stringer: “Too Soon To Panic”

What, me worry? Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer tells NY Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin that people are buying way too many flat-screen TVs, video game players and movie tickets for this to be a recession. “The consumer has not bailed out,” he said, in an interview conducted at the World […]
Tech

Sony Set To Miss PS3 Sales Goal (SNE)

Even after Sony slashed prices on its next-generation PS3 game consoles, analysts think the company won’t meet its goal of 11 million PS3 game consoles by sold March. Sony doesn’t seem to think it’s attainable anymore, either. Bloomberg: Sony is expected to sell 8 million PlayStation 3s in the year […]
Tech

December Video Game Sales Up 36%, Sony’s Lead Slips

More good news for the video game industry: Sales are up, the new generation of consoles is taking off, and higher game prices mean more revenue for software firms. U.S. December video game software revenue jumped 36% year-over-year, according to retail research firm NPD Group, via a Goldman note issued […]
Tech

Christmas video game Sales: Through The Roof

GameStop, the world’s biggest video game retailer, says that software sales shot up 45% during last year’s holiday season. The five best-selling titles were from Activision’s (ATVI) Guitar Hero II and Call of Duty: 4, Ubisoft (UBN.DE)’s Assassin’s Creed, Electronic Arts’ (ERTS) Rock Band and Nintendo’s ASSASSIN’S CREED by Ubisoft, […]
Tech

Who’s Winning The Console Wars? (MSFT, SNE)

Dueling stats from Sony and Microsoft about their game console sales make it difficult to figure out who’s winning the next-gen console race. Our guess is the two companies are complicit in providing these apples and oranges stats: Last week, MSFT announced it had sold 4.3 million Xbox 360 machines, […]
Tech

Sony’s (SNE) Blu-ray Win Won’t Last Long

Congratulations, Sony. After flopping with Betamax, the MiniDisc, and ATRAC (your answer to MP3), it looks like you’ve finally won a format war with Blu-ray. Now get back to work — the next one is already here. In case you missed it, late Friday, Time Warner’s (TWX) Warner Bros. said […]
Tech

Toshiba: Please Don’t Return Your HD DVD Players

Still reeling from Warner Bros.’s decision to abandon its its HD DVD format for Sony’s Blu-ray, Toshiba did its best to put on a brave face at a CES press conference today. But it’s a hard sell. Reuters: The room was quiet, but electric, like watching a boxer trying to […]
Tech

Next Gen DVD War Over? Warner Ditches HD For Blu-ray

Just as crazily prescient Pali analyst Rich Greenfield had predicted, Time Warner’s Warner Bros. studio has stopped supporting the HD DVD format and will now work exclusively with Sony’s Blu-ray. Since the TWX unit was the only studio straddling the fence between the two rivals, it seems likely that the […]
Tech

Hollywood’s DVD Problem: First-Ever Sales Drop In 2007

As we’ve noted before, DVD sales — Hollywood single most important revenue stream — have been petering out for years. Here’s official word: In 2007 they dropped 4.5%, the first time they’ve actually declined since the format was introduced 10 years ago. Reuters: After essentially flat trends for 2005 and […]
Tech

Skype Coming For Sony’s PSP At CES. Wireless Carriers Screwed?

Apple’s iPhone (and smartphones from RIM, Palm, HTC, etc.) have extended the amount of stuff we can do with our mobile phones — email, maps, Web browsing, IMing, etc. Another trend worth watching: more non-phone gadgets that can tap into the Internet to act as phones — which could become […]
Tech

Who’s Losing The Next-Gen DVD War? Hollywood

“What if nobody wins the high-definition DVD format wars?”, the NYT asks in a non-news summary of the battle between Sony and Toshiba over Blu-ray vs. HD DVD. But that’s the wrong question. The relevant one is “Who’s losing the format wars?” and the answer, still, is: Hollywood. That’s because […]
Tech

Sony BMG Selling MP3s — At Its Own Online Store?

A confusing report from Billboard says that Sony BMG is going to start selling a limited amount of DRM-free MP3s, via artist-specific gift cards that can be redeemed online. That makes a bit of sense — Sony has been a steadfast champion of keeping locks on its content, but will […]
Tech

Bilbo’s Back! Peter Jackson Making Two “Hobbit” Movies

Awesome Christmas present from Time Warner and Peter Jackson: The “Lord Of The Rings” director has settled a nasty lawsuit with TWX’s New Line studio, and has agreed to make* not one but two movies based on the “The Hobbit”. No idea what it cost New Line to make Jackson […]
Tech

Frustrated Wii Hunters Hit The Web

Maybe Sony’s PS3 will really launch a comeback next year, but in the meantime video game shoppers desperately want a Wii. Latest evidence: A handy chart from Compete that illustrates online shopping demand for Nintendo’s console compared to Sony’s (SNE) and MSFT’s Xbox 360. More than 3 million shoppers hunted […]
Tech

Sony (SNE): U.S. Electronics Sales OK Despite Economy

Sony boss Howard Stringer says the company is still on track to hit its target 5% operating margin in its US business, despite the gasping economy. PS3 sales “very good.” Reuters: The shaky economy “has not affected electronics in the U.S. We are holding up…Black Friday turned out to be […]
Tech

Pali: Sony (SNE)’s Blu-Ray Wins DVD War; Hollywood Loses

Pali Research’s Rich Greenfield has good news for beleaguered Sony (SNE) boss Howard Stringer: His company’s Blu-Ray format will win the next-gen DVD format war. The bad news for Hollywood: The existing DVD business is in permanent decline, and the next-gen format won’t help anytime soon — if ever. Rich […]
Tech

Sony-BMG Cuts: “Less Than 20”

The Sony-BMG layoff axe landed this week. We hear the company’s Columbia label was hardest hit, but we also received this comment from a reader on Thursday: “So it happened today for sure. Some label marketing people at Epic records, sales, and online (of all the places, digital? for real?). […]
Tech

Transformers Director: I Hate MSFT, HD-DVD. Again.

Blow-’em up director Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, The Rock, etc) is at it again. Last summer he used his personal blog to rant about the evils of HD-DVD – the next gen DVD format that Microsoft (MSFT) is backing – and to complain about his Transformers flick not appearing on […]
Tech

Sony’s PS3 To $200? Make It So, Says Activision.

Video game publisher Activision is doing just fine, thanks to “Guitar Hero”, but CEO Bobby Kotick says Sony and Microsoft are going to have offer steep discounts on their game consoles if they want to succeed. Kotick says both Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony’s (SNE) PS3 will have to […]
Tech

The Arabs Are Coming! Dubai Buys Sony (SNE) Stake

In the 1990s, it was the Japanese who were buying up all the world’s assets, triggering a panicked frenzy of economic nationalism.  A few years ago, it was the Chinese, trying to buy an also-ran oil company. Now, it’s “the Arabs,” as Fox Business News affectionately calls the folks in […]
US

Sony’s Stringer: Forget Blu-Ray – I Want A Time Machine

Sony’s (SNE) Sir Howard Stringer is a charming and persuasive speaker, so we’re sure that if we were at the 92nd Street Y last night, this might make more sense. But based on the AP’s account of his presentation there, he appears to be waving the white flag on BluRay-HD […]
Tech

Sony’s Achilles Heel: The PS3

Howard Stringer’s lengthy, difficult restructuring of Sony looks like it’s working: Q2 sales were up 12%, to $18.1 billion; the company netted $641 million. Consumers are snapping up Sony’s cameras, PCs, and to a lesser extent, its high-end Bravia TVs. The problem: Sony’s video game business, which was supposed to […]