Friday, February 13, 2009

Video game revenue rises

Despite some layoffs and cutbacks among video game companies, the industry overall soldiered on last month, hitting $1.33 billion in revenue, a 13 percent increase over the same month last year, according to the NPD Group.

The strong performance, which exceeded many analysts' projections, provides an upbeat counterpoint to recent news of layoffs at Electronic Arts, THQ and Sega. It also suggests that the sector, led by an unflagging Nintendo, is poised to ride out the economic storm.

Hardware continued to perform well, with $445.4 million in sales last month, a 17 percent increase over last year. Software brought in $676.6 million, a 10 percent increase, while sales of accessories hit $209.8 million, up 11 percent.

In the hardware race, the Nintendo Wii sold 679,200 units, more than double the second-place Microsoft Xbox 360, which had sales of 309,000 units. The story for the Sony PlayStation 3 continues to be rough with just 203,200 units moved last month. Nintendo sold 510,800 DS handhelds compared with 172,300 PlayStation Portables from Sony.

A look at software sales suggests why Sony is having a hard time with its PlayStation 3. While Nintendo had three Wii titles and Microsoft had four 360 titles in the top 10 games, PlayStation 3 did not score one. The top-selling titles were: Wii Fit (777,000), Wii Play (415,000), Mario Kart (292,000), Left 4 Dead (243,000) and Call of Duty: World at War (235,000). - Ryan Kim

1 in 10 Web users are micro-blogging

A survey released Thursday by the Pew Internet Project found that 11 percent of online adults had used Twitter, Facebook or other services to post messages about their thoughts, location or mood in what have become known as status updates.

Pew found that 4 percent of respondents had posted the day before being asked. Critics call the update-obsession over-sharing.

Twitter, the San Francisco micro-blogging service, has come to symbolize the phenomenon (messages are limited to 140 characters). But Palo Alto's Facebook offers a similar feature as does Yammer, which is focused on business users.

No surprise that young adults, 25 to 34, use Twitter and its rivals more than other age group, with 20 percent saying they had posted or read status updates, according to the Pew survey. Those 18 to 24 weren't far behind with 19 percent.

Twitter had an older base of users, whose median age was 31. MySpace's median age was 27, while Facebook's was 26.

As a group, Twitter's users embrace technology more than average Internet users:

-- 76 percent use the Internet wirelessly (either through Wi-Fi or mobile device) versus 59 percent of all Internet users.

-- 82 percent have cell phones and use them to send text messages versus 61 percent of the online population at-large.

-- 76 percent read newspapers online compared with 60 percent for non-Twitter users.

-- 21 percent read someone else's blog the day prior to being asked while only 9 percent of non-Twitter users had done so.

-- 29 percent of Twitter users have created a blog, far exceeding the 11 percent among all Internet users.

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