Friday, Friday, everybody loves Black Friday. All right, I'll stop singing before you all start throwing e-tomatoes. Video game companies are certainly feeling happy after last Friday, though Sony seems to be left out in the rain. Read on for all the details!
Money Money Money
Black Friday is so named because it's the day many companies make it into the black, not for the black eyes that people may receive while racing against crazed mothers when the stores open. This year, Black Friday seems to have extended itself over a week, or maybe even two, as stores have been slashing prices in hopes of attracting holiday shoppers.
Microsoft had a great Black Friday week, moving almost a million Xbox 360 consoles and 750,000 Kinect units. Interestingly, despite the large number of Kinects being sold, Kinect software isn't selling terribly well. Will the Kinect suffer the same fate as the Wii, with most customers finding themselves satisfied with the bundled Kinect Sports and the occasional dance title?
Speaking of dance titles, the genre is the fastest-growing in video games, with sales increasing over 300% this year. Dance games are the fifth best-selling genre of games now, following shooters, action, adventure, and role-playing games. Although it was originally predicted to be simply a fad like plastic instrument games, dance games appear to have found some staying power, perhaps because they require much less setup, have a fitness component, and can be more easily played solo.
The console that is home to many popular dance games, the Nintendo Wii had its best Black Friday ever. The now-cheap console sold 960,000 copies last week. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword likely pushed some of those sales, as it sold over 500,000 copies at launch, the biggest Zelda launch in history. The 3DS is also on its way upward. It has now outdone sales of the Nintendo DS in its first year, with week-to-week sales of the console going up almost 50% after the release of Super Mario 3D Land.
Although Sony reported big sales of consumer electronics during Black Friday, it hasn't said a great deal about PlayStation and video game sales numbers. Uncharted 3 did well and pushed some PlayStation 3 sales, but due to the lack of bragging it seems as though the Black Friday week wasn't particularly outstanding for Sony's gaming division. It looks like Sony will need to pin its hopes on the Vita handheld in order to reclaim the attention of the media for its sales numbers.
Subscription-Based Tetris? Really?
Electronic Arts' mobile division is releasing a new iOS version of Tetris, which will include a subscription service for exclusive content. Wait, what? It's unfortunately true. The base game sells for 99 cents and includes a "Tetris Log" feature that offers players various challenges and assigns them a Tetris rank.
Players can opt to join a Tetris fan club, which requires a monthly subscription of $3. Club members receive exclusive Tetris Log challenges and the ability to increase their Tetris rank faster. Subscription fees and paying for power? Aren't those two things that have failed in the arena of MMOs? I guess we'll see how well needlessly monetizing Tetris works out for EA.
Xenoblade Finally Coming to North America
After a morning filled with leaks and rumors, it is now officially official. Nintendo of America has finally announced that the critically acclaimed RPG Xenoblade Chronicles will be released on this continent in April 2012. Pre-orders for Xenoblade appear to be limited to Nintendo and GameStop. This is a great success for the folks at Operation Rainfall, a group dedicated to encouraging Nintendo of America to put out several Japanese RPGs. Though there were certainly multiple factors involved in NoA's decision, having a dedicated legion of fans clamoring for the game certainly didn't hurt.
After the Thanksgiving excitement, we might be entering a quieter period for video game news in December. On the other hand, there's plenty of action planned for early 2012, so I'll be keeping my ears to the ground for new news and rumors. Tune in next week!
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*