Weekly News Roundup (17 August 2014)

It’s rather short WNR this week, where we have a couple of interesting news stories, but ones that don’t really need a lot of words to be written about. With Gamescom happening, there is definitely a slant towards gaming, which is also probably why news on other topics were a bit light.

Let’s get started!


What piracy problem? U.S. households are spending up to $1,000 each year, every year, on video entertainment products such as cable TV, Netflix and Blu-rays. This means that the video entertainment industry could be worth $123 billion by 2015, and this is despite piracy having “nearly” brought the industry down to its knees or something hyperbolic like that. Futuresource Consulting’s report on the industry reads nothing like one for an industry on its last breathes, and actually sounds like one that is doing extremely well, and thanks largely to the Internet, not despite of it. Digital spending is growing so fast that it will exceed packaged media spending in 2015, for example.

Dropping disc sales have very little to do with piracy, and more to do with market saturation and the transition to digital

Dropping disc sales have very little to do with piracy, and more to do with market saturation and the transition to digital

As part of my “job”, I read a lot of reports of this kind, and most of them almost never mention piracy. Sure, packaged media sales are on the slide, but this and other reports clearly state that it’s most likely due to “market saturation, declining retail space and the growth in video consumption on subscription VOD services”. On the other hand, if you listen to the studios, then any decline is almost always down to piracy.

The fact of the matter is that consumer tastes have changed rapidly due to the Internet, and the industry was too slow to adapt, hence the surge in piracy and a (what looks like temporary) decline in revenue. The same thing happened/is happening with the music industry, possibly even more dramatically, as the transition from physical media to digital continues apace (and with the industry, not grasping the opportunity earlier enough, allowing the likes of Apple and Spotify to be the winners). Piracy is a side effect, a symptom of the problem, but perhaps not the real problem itself.


Gamescom this week, and so we have the expected slew of gaming news. Sony got off to a good start by announcing that PS4 sales has topped 10 million worldwide. Microsoft, for understandable reasons, did not provide a comparable figure but was at 5 million as of April. With the PS4 beating the Xbox One for every month of this year in the key U.S. market that was once dominated by the Xbox 360, the gap between the two consoles appear to be growing. Here in Australia, the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One by a 2-to-1 margin!

Xbox One Media Playback

Xbox One about to become one of the best media players, thanks to September update

But the announcement of Gamescom so far, at least in terms of stuff that I cover in the WNR, would be Microsoft’s announcement of a full capable media player for the Xbox One, coming in September. The media player will support almost every format, including the ever more popular (but the rarely supported, at least on game consoles) MKV format (the format of choice for HD downloads), and also the reintroduction of DLNA streaming support.

With Sony yet to announce when they’ll bring back DLNA support, and to add to the PS4’s media support, it seems the Xbox One is now the console of choice when it comes to media playback. But given the intense competition between the two big consoles that has so far characterized this generation’s console wars, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony make their move in this area soon.

As I was writing this, the NPD stuff for July has just been released. I think I’ll cover it next week instead of right now, but spoiler alert: PS4 wins again.


And so ends this rather short WNR. See you next week!


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