Archive for the ‘Nintendo Wii, Wii U’ Category

Weekly News Roundup (6 April 2014)

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Excitement and dread. That’s what I feel when I purchase a big ticket item. Maybe I should be a bit more excited, with a bit less dread, as I’m sure this will improve my sense of joy when buying stuff. But maybe feeling joy is the wrong emotion to feel in the already far too consumerism driven world that we live in.

Let’s zoom right into this week’s WNR.

Copyright

Good news for those living in the UK. but still living in the ‘noughties’ – you’ll finally be able to rip CDs as CD ripping and other format shifting will become legal in the UK. But only if there’s no DRM protecting the content – in that case, it’s still very much illegal.

So basically, not much of a change unless you still buy CDs, and have always felt guilty about ripping them (so basically “nobody” on both accounts). Now you can rip it without feeling guilty. Isn’t copyright law reform great?

If you really really need to rip something that is protected, there is recourse for action – contact the Secretary of State! Seriously, look it up, that’s the only thing you can do if you want to format-shift something and excessive copyright is standing in your way.

I for one am looking forward to 2025, when we’ll finally get the right to convert DVDs to DivX.

Antigua Beach

Antigua: Not the copyright paradise first thought

But for now, you’ll be lucky to not don’t end up in an Antiguan jail if you happen to own a company that makes DVD or Blu-ray rippers. Because that’s where Slysoft’s owner Giancarla Bettini might end up following a legal decision against the company’s products. It won’t get that far, because fines will be paid and that will be that (not to mention the appeal), but for those that thought Antigua was a safe haven for all things copyright related, it might be time to think again.

Antigua’s anti-copyright stance comes from a dispute with the US over online gambling, a dispute that the island eventually won via a WTO ruling, which allowed Antigua to ignore US copyright claims as a way to recoup their losses. However, Antigua’s own copyright laws does have an anti-circumvention clause, which the AACS LA, the company responsible for managing Blu-ray’s copy protection scheme, managed to exploit to full advantage.

While normally a civil matter in other countries, Antiguan copyright laws made circumvention a criminal matter, with fines or jail time being the penalties.

The AACS LA has certainly been busy lately, going after both DVDFab and Slysoft, with the latter also named in the USTR’s Notorious Piracy Market list for this year. Is this a renewed attack on rippers, particularly Blu-ray ones? Time will tell.

High Definition

Amazon Fire TV

Is the Amazon Fire TV the device that is set to shake up the media streamer market? For $99, it has a really good chance to do just that!

The Kindle Fire, when first released, heralded the age of cheap branded tablets (cheap because they’re subsidized by content sellers like Amazon and Google). Amazon is trying their luck again with the Fire TV device, but this time for the streaming set-top box market. Taking on the likes of the Apple TV, Roku and to a lesser extent, the Chromecast, the Amazon Fire TV aims to bring not only streaming films to the lounge room, but also cheap games too – a $99 device that supports almost all of the streaming providers, plus offers apps from Amazon, and potentially thousands of games too (playability made easier with a $40 game controller add-on).

Interestingly, despite being competitors in the SVOD field, Netflix is a launch partner for the Fire TV (which, of course, supports Amazon’s Prime streaming service).

The big question is whether another streaming box is needed, since even if you discount the game consoles (which you shouldn’t), there are already plenty of streamers out there. In Amazon’s corner is the promise of a more open ecosystem (as the Fire TV is based on a fork of Android, albeit a very very heavily modified version of it), and easier searching via the built-in voice search feature. The quad-core, 2GB RAM powered device also promises to be a performance king, even if it only has a small 8GB storage (not really needed for streaming, but certainly for game and apps).

The Android nature of the device also means games will be plentiful for the system, although some games don’t necessarily translate well from phones/tablets to the TV screen (even with Amazon’s promised app that will allow you to control games via existing tablets).

It’s an interesting device, and for $99, it might be just worth playing around with.

Gaming

Wii U

EA subsidiary adding insult to injury by mocking the Wii U during April Fools, forcing an official apology from the company

EA just can’t seem to get out of trouble with Nintendo. Last year, they shocked the gaming world by announcing they had no games in the works for the Wii U, only to come out a few days later to say they did. Their Frostbite engine works on all the popular gaming platforms, except for the Wii U, and so Nintendo fans have always felt that EA isn’t giving Nintendo the love the company deserves.

So the mean spirited April Fools tweets that came out of the Frostbite Twitter account probably didn’t help matters for all concerned, forcing EA to issue an apology. The tweets mocked the Wii U’s perceived underpowered status, and the fact that the Wii U does not support the Frostbite engine.

EA’s COO Peter Moore called those tweets ‘stupid’ and ‘unacceptable’, but I would also like to add ‘unfunny’ to the list.

On that note, let’s end this week’s WNR before I have to end up issuing an official apology on Twitter for writing something stupid, unacceptable and unfunny (the last one is a given though). See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (16 March 2014)

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday Dear Webmaster Dude, Happy Birthday to Me (not to the tune of that well known song, as I don’t want to pay royalties). I had to work through my birthday this year, which was no fun. Birthdays are definitely getting less fun as I get older, and the quantity of cake I can have before feeling guilty is also on the decrease. It’s an alarming trend!

News time!

Copyright

Google’s common sense submission to the Australian government is likely to fall on deaf years, as the search giant spells out quite clearly that they do not want harsher new copyright laws to try and solve the piracy puzzle. Instead, Google believes that piracy is an issue of availability and pricing that is best solved by investments in innovation, rather than legislation.

The then newly elected conservative government of Australia called on industry submissions for reducing communication regulations, and it was in Google’s submission that the company outlined their believes in regards to piracy.

Unfortunately, the pro big-business government is likely to ignore Google and side with Hollywood, as the country’s Attorney-General has already hinted at the introduction of a three-strikes regime as well as domain blocking via legislation, the type of actions that Google says will yield “little effect”.

What Google says makes a lot of sense. Despite the lack of availability and outrageous pricing here in Australia, which has led to high piracy rates, we are still one of the most eager consumers of digital content in the world. Recent data shows that digital film and TV spending rose 22.4% in the last year. If anything, the high piracy rate may simply be an indicator of huge unmet consumer demand, as hit shows like Game of Thrones are being locked away in exclusive deals that makes it harder and harder for fans to actually download or stream the show legally.

It seems to me that the only way that legislation and technical measures such as DRM and domain blocking can have an effect on piracy, not just in Australian but anywhere, is if it’s succeeds in reducing the enthusiasm people have for TV and movies, or music and games. And I’m not sure this is what rights holders actually want, to have a less enthusiastic customer base. People pirate because they like the content, and it does not mean they won’t pay for it when pricing and availability makes the legal option a viable one. As Google says, it’s not really an enforcement issue (not that you can successfully enforce it anyway, no matter how many laws you pass)

——-

Popcorn Time

Popcorn Time in all of its past glory before it was taken offline

Well, that didn’t last long. Only a few hours after I wrote the original article on Popcorn Time, the BitTorrent powered consumer friendly movie streaming app (being called the Netflix of piracy), the official website has since been closed and the project shuttered. Well, as much as an open source project can be shuttered anyway.

The developers didn’t cite any specific reason (or threats) that was responsible for their decision, but it was pretty clear, reading between the lines and one particular sentence (“legal threats and the shady machinery that makes us feel in danger for doing what we love”), what had occurred.

So what was Popcorn Time? Think of it as the easiest way yet to watch movies online for free. By combining a super sleek user interface, designed specifically for watching movies, and using the power of BitTorrent and a few publicly available APIs, here is, no strike that, “was” an app that made finding movies to stream online easier than using Netflix. Of course, many of these free movies are pirated movies, but Popcorn Time’s simplicity meant that it was no more than a web browser with a BitTorrent client strapped to it.

No surprise then that the legality issue was the biggest one surrounding Popcorn Time in the short period it was actually live. The developers were adamant that it was legal. I mean, how could a web browser and a BitTorrent client not be legal? But then again, The Pirate Bay is just a search engine. And if even a megacorp like Google can get heat for copyright issues, Popcorn Time wasn’t going to be left out of the spotlight. It seems today the criteria for liability relating to inducement  or contributory copyright infringement is *anything* that makes piracy a tiny bit easier, even if it was just a heavily customized web browser. This is perhaps why Popcorn Time’s fate was sealed the second it made headlines.

But all is not lost. In their infinite wisdom, the developers of Popcorn Time decided to go open source from the get go. Once something is open source, it can never really be taken down. Given the hype and publicity, and the enthusiasm already shown by the open source community, I fully expect others to build and improve upon what was Popcorn Time.

Popcorn Time and its mascot Pochoclín – we hardly knew ye. But maybe we’ll get to know you better in your new reincarnated form.

DVDFab

DVDFab is under serious legal pressure, and others are taking note

This one did last a bit longer though. DVDFab, the company synonymous with DVD and Blu-ray ripping, has met with a major legal setback after a New York federal court ordered its domain names, social media account and funds to be seized and frozen. This comes after AACS LA, the licensing firm responsible for the copy protection schemes found on Blu-ray (and HD DVD - you shall not be forgotten), sued DVDFab, a Chinese company, in the U.S.

The only real surprise was that it took this long for some kind of legal action to be taken, to be fair. DVDFab has since relocated its website to a more hospitable .cn domain, started up a protest site, and offered absolutely zero legal defense of its legal position in the U.S (they did not even respond to the motion for a preliminary injunction, which led to the seizures).

Other companies, including the USTR “notorious piracy list” nominee Aiseesoft, have responded by removing their ripping products. May be too little, a little too late, from a legal perspective though.

Slysoft now leads the DVD and Blu-ray market, if they wasn’t head of the pack before. It too was named in the USTR list, so could legal action soon follow? Who knows.

Gaming

The February NPD results have been released. The PS4 was once again the winner, but the winning margin was pretty narrow for February. The PS4 is estimated to have sold around 280K to 286K units, compared to the Xbox One’s 258K.

With Titanfall to be included in March’s NPD results, next month could see the Xbox One regain its next-gen console throne, even if it’s just for one month.

The Wii U managed to sell 82.5K units, behind the Xbox 360′s 114K. No PS3 numbers this time, but you’d expect it to be somewhere between the Wii U’s and Xbox 360′s.

That’s it for this WNR. See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (16 February 2014)

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Welcome to the WNR. Hope Valentine’s Day was a nice one for you couples out there, and for you singles out there, I hope at the very least it was a decent Friday.

Let’s get started.

Copyright

Despite RapidShare’s appeasement policy towards rights holders, the file hosting site has been re-added back to the “notorious pirates” list by the USTR (United States Trade Representative). The new updated list also includes software firms Aiseesoft and SlySoft, two companies that both sell DVD and Blu-ray ripping software.

RapidSharre logo

RapidSharre no longer a friend of Hollywood and the music industry, despite its draconian anti-piracy measures

It appears sucking up the rights holders did not work as well as RapidShare had hoped. Neither the implementation of quite draconian anti-piracy methods, nor its infamous manifesto helped to prevent rights holders from dobbing in the file hosting website to the USTR for inclusion in this year’s list. You can’t win, really. So you probably shouldn’t try to.

The other new inclusions are interesting too. Despite their products being around for what seemed like a decade already, and with many other companies producing similar software, both Aiseesoft and SlySoft gets special treatment this time around by the USTR. Now I don’t have much personal love for Aiseesoft, having seen either their representatives, their marketing agency or just really really fanatical customers spamming my forum for ages (forcing me to implement a filter to automatically change all references in forum posts from ‘Aiseesoft’ to ‘Aispamforums’). But it’s just one of many, possibly hundreds of companies that are churning out software with the same functionalities, so why pick them out, I have no idea. The SlySoft listing is perhaps a little bit easier to understand, given the company’s higher profile.

Nobody likes being blacklisted, but it probably doesn’t mean much for these companies in the long run.

——

Well that didn’t take long. A week ago, in this news article on yet more viewing restrictions for Game of Thrones in Australia, I wrote “Given these new restrictions, it’s very likely that the piracy rate for the new season (of Game of Thrones) will be even higher, which may prompt the new conservative government of Australia to take action.”

Three Strikes

Three strikes and domain blocking may be coming to Australia

And just a few days later, Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis has issued the clearest call yet for three-strikes and website censorship to be part of new copyright reforms aimed to modernising existing copyright laws.

This is despite mountains of evidence that graduated response does nothing to curb infringement activities, as well as a recent Dutch court ruling that found website censorship is disproportionate and ineffective - all of which conveniently ignored by the copyright lobby or dismissed as bias.

And none of it addresses the real cause of piracy, which is a problem with access. If users are not getting the choices they want, at the prices they want, then rightly or wrongly, they will seek alternatives. This may be grey imports or circumventing geo-blocking to access the likes of Netflix or Hulu Plus. Or it may be mean piracy. And until these problems are addressed, no technical or legal measure will do a damn thing to curb the piracy problem.

Gaming

A major development in US video games sales with the release of the January NPD results showing the PS4 having a big lead over the Xbox One, despite the former’s stock constraints.

While none of the consoles really sold in great number, not compared to December anyway, the PS4′s 271,000 (based on a pretty solid estimation) put the Xbox One’s 141,000 in the shade. Had PS4s been more widely available in stores, the gap would have been even greater.

Xbox One Forza 5

Xbox One struggling in sales already? Price tag probably main reason for gamers choosing the PS4.

To illustrate how poor the Xbox One numbers were for January, the first January since launch, we can compare it to previously generation consoles. For the PS3 and Xbox 360, their first Januarys meant between 240K and 250K in sales. The Wii U only managed 57K during its first January.

Multiplatform games also sold better on the PS4 than on the Xbox One, with the exception of CoD: Ghosts.

With the PS4 beating the Xbox One comfortably in other markets, and with the Japanese market expected to be dominated by the PS4, North America remains the only major marketplace where the Xbox One has a realistic chance of beating the PS4. On these figures, these chances seem less and less realistic.

Worryingly for Microsoft, it appears the PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 in January as well. In fact, even the Wii U may have done better (although still most likely below 50K).

While it’s far too early to eulogize the Xbox One, there are some pretty clear reasons as to why the Xbox One is not doing as well as it should. The extra $100 Microsoft expects gamers to pay for the largely useless included Kinect 2.0 is the main factor, as is the console’s perceived hardware disadvantages (which are not really showing up dramatically in games, but nevertheless is a factor for buyers).

 

It’s almost the same mistake Sony made with the PS3, having been released at a higher price with a feature (Blu-ray) not many people needed at the time. This time, Sony listened to gamers and gave them a console that did all the important things right, and it appears the company is reaping the rewards. Microsoft, on the other hand, tried to force excessive DRM onto users, then backtracked, but still ends up with a console that doesn’t do anything particularly better than the cheaper PS4. Only a price cut, and one that has to occur this year before the PS4′s lead grows by too much, can turn things around, in my opinion.

That’s it for the week. See you again in seven.

Weekly News Roundup (9 February 2014)

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Welcome to another edition of the WNR. It’s been an annoying week so far for me. First with my ADSL modem dying on me, which took a while, and a lot of crawling on the floor and pulling out cables, to diagnose. This backed me up in terms of work, so I’ve been playing catch up ever since, during a week which was particularly busy as well. And then there was the Arsenal match last night … urgh.

Still not a great news week, but here’s some stuff that may be interesting.

Copyright

Game of Thrones piracy is about to get really ugly here in Australia, thanks to a new HBO deal with our (one and only) cable provider, which will now prohibit iTunes and other digital providers from making available new episodes of season 4 until the season is over.

Game of Thrones - The Oatmeal

This Oatmeal comic is appropriate again, thanks to more HBO led efforts to prevent people from watching their shows – click through to read the full comic

Not only will it cost cable subscribers at least $USD 67 per month to access the channel that includes new episodes of GoT, the lack of access to HBO Go means non set-top-box viewers will have to rely on the cable provider’s mobile app to watch these new episodes, made worse by an exclusive deal between the cable provider and Samsung which prevents the app from running on non Samsung Android devices.

It’s almost as if they don’t want us to watch the show.

With Australia already the top country when it comes to GoT piracy (and not just a percentage of the population thing, but raw numbers, which sees Australians top US and UK downloaders in the piracy charts), this is the exact kind of bone-headed move that will ensure Australia retain the piracy thrones for season 4 too.

——

Should domain registrars be made liable for the content being stored on registered domains? A court in Germany seems to think so, as the ever expanding liability circle is once again expanded to help the entertainment industry find better (and by better, I mean easier) targets to legally threaten.

According to the ‘about’ page of the domain registrar that I regularly use, Namecheap, they have over 2 million registered domains from 500,000 clients. And if the Germany ruling were applied to Namecheap, this would be a hell of a lot of liability for a company that has no legal right or even technical ability to access and monitor the contents stored on these 2 million domains.

It’s easy for the record or movie industry to go after registrars and web hosts, because they’re usually visible companies that can be easily sued and harassed, legally. And this is why considerable effort has been made to expand the list of just who is liable for content published on the website, from the actual owner/publisher of the website, to the web host, to search engines, and now all the way to the registrar. It’s only a matter of time before even browser makers are made liable, as you could easily argue they have the ability to block access to obviously illegal websites, and so they should. Heck, why not sue modem/router makers too, for that’s where the illegal data flows through to your computer. Although not my old modem, obviously, since it’s now broke.

Gaming

It’s North versus South. Korea that is. Proving that the Wii is still being played at least somewhere in the world, official North Korea photos shows that the country has finally entered the video game age (even though they’re still a generation behind). And they even have a Wii Balance Board!

Not to be outdone, South Korea has managed to one up their northern neighbors by utilizing Kinect to protect the DMZ between north and south. A Kinect based system is being used to help their infrared detection grid tell the difference between animals and humans in the DMZ, which is now one of the world’s best wildlife sanctuaries due to the lack of a human presence in the area. South Korea is already thinking about an upgrade to the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 for even more accurate detection. Will the North respond by buying a PS4? Only time will tell …

Super Street Fighter II

The game that occupied too much of my time in my pimple and angst ridden nerdy teenage years

As a side and totally unrelated note, I spent a lot of time this week reading this piece on the history of Street Fighter II, time that I probably should have spent working or at the very least, sleeping. As someone who spent more than $100 (a lot more in today’s money) back when buying a copy of Super Street Fighter II for my SNES, as well as playing not only the arcade versions, but also bootleg versions on bootleg NES/Famicom systems, the article brought back a lot of good memories. If there’s one game that I would still like to play on SNES, it would be this one. If I’m allowed two, it would be a hard choice between Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart and Contra III. The first time I figured out how to beat Vega in single player mode (figuring it out all by myself by the way, since the Internet hadn’t been invented yet), was a true moment of joy in my fairly joyless nerdy teenage years.

And as a followup to last week’s story about the Blu-ray-less $399 Xbox One, Microsoft has issued a response, of sorts, to the rumor. Aaron Greenberg, Chief of Staff for Devices and Studios Group at Microsoft tweeted the response “No, you cannot believe everything you read on the internet,” when asked directly on the rumors of the cheaper Xbox One. So a less than concrete denial, but I would still be very skeptical at Microsoft moving forwards with this plan.

I think that’s enough waffle for this week. Same time, same place, next week.

Weekly News Roundup (26 January 2014)

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

I’m nearly through with my annual The Wire re-up, so I haven’t been watching much Netflix recently (as my bandwidth usage graphs will attest to). If you haven’t watched the show, I highly recommend it (just don’t give up until you’ve finished the first season, but I suspect you’ll be hooked around episode 6 or so, or it’s not the show for you). I don’t want to be one of those people that annoy others by evangelizing The Wire, but the show is so good that you feel others are missing out (and most that have been told about it have been “converted”, after the obligatory “nothing happens” statement after watching the first couple of episodes).

Oh yes, the WNR. Here we go.

Copyright

For those lucky enough to get a pair of Google Glasses, here’s a tip: don’t wear them to the cinema unless you want to get interrogated by Homeland Security. What started out like one of those Internet tales that eventually gets disproved on Snopes has been confirmed to be totally true (by the theater chain, the MPAA and ICE), a story in which an Ohio man (and his wife) were pulled midway out of a viewing session, detained and questioned for more than an hour on the suspicion that his (turned off) Google Glasses were being used to record the movie.

This is despite the man explaining from the offset that the device had been turned off, and gave permission (or rather, pleaded) with the federal agent to check the contents on the Google Glass device and confirm that nothing had been recorded. The ICE Homeland Security agent was apparently asked to intervene in the matter by a MPAA rep present that day to monitor the screening of the popular (and popular piracy target) ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’.

Google Glass

Wearers beware: Don’t wear your Google Glasses to the movie cinema

Instead, the man was interrogated for an hour and asked who he worked for, and funnily (although probably not to the man at the time), whether Google was employing him to record the movie. I know the MPAA (and by extension, ICE Homeland Security) has no love for Google , but this was a bit of a stretch.

For his troubles, the man and his wife were offered two free movie tickets by the MPAA rep by the MPAA rep so the couple could finally finish watching Shadow Recruit. Amazingly, The MPAA rep’s name was Bob Hope, a distant relative of the more famous Bob Hope (again, just to reiterate, this story is true). When the frustrated cinema patron, who only wanted an genuine apology instead of an explanation as to why he was targeted (due to the movie’s popularity, and the theater’s recent problems with piracy), did not seem placated by the two free tickets, two more free tickets were offered. The man was now infuriated.

You can read the entire description of the ordeal on The Gadgeteer website, where the story was first published. Scroll down to read the updates too, which includes confirmations from ICE Homeland Security of the incident.

Incidentally, a cam’d copy of Shadow Recruit made its way onto the usual places roughly around the same time. Presumably one now recorded on a Google Glass device. So the record for Shadow Recruit goes Pirates 1, MPAA 0, Poor Google Glass Guy (and his wife) -999.

High Definition

The BDA, that’s the Blu-ray Disc Association, has approved plans to expand the Blu-ray specifications to include support for 4K UltaHD content. A task force consisting of 17 members, including Technicolor, Dolby, Fox, Disney and Sony, has been asked to come up with the final specifications for Blu-ray 4K. The changes could include more than just a larger capacity disc and a new video codec, and other improvements such as support for higher framerates could be introduced (finally allowing The Hobbit films to be shown in HFR 3D at home).

One of the proposed changes could see the introduction of 10, 12 and 16-bit deep color encodings. One company working on this claims to have developed an algorithm that allows for deep color encodings without an increase in bandwidth, and the finished output would also be backwards compatible. Studios would need to update their encoding technology, and Blu-ray players will also need to be updated to take advantage, but with the 4K specifications meaning changes are coming anyway, it might be a case of killing two birds with the same stone.

Netflix

Netflix within 6 months of breaking 50 million user barrier

A disc based approach to 4K is still the best way to go for now, in my opinion. That’s not to say that streaming based 4K, which was a highlight of CES, doesn’t have its place. It’s certainly where Netflix thinks subscriber growth will come from in the future, although they seem to be doing quite alright even without 4K. A new shareholder report revealed Netflix’s total subscriber figure rose by 10% in the last three months of 2013 alone, with the company now having 44 million subscribers. I would gather the attention that original programming has garnered, via award nominations and wins, has contributed heavily to the growth figures. Despite the high cost of production of these shows, the investment appears to be well worth it, with net profit for the company up dramatically as well during the last quarter.

Netflix also commented on the recent Net Neutrality ruling. Netflix probably has the most to lose from the ruling, and the company is calling on ISPs to act responsibility. Netflix says ISPs should adopt a voluntary code of conduct on the matter, although they also believe that no ISP is stupid enough (in my words, not theirs) to do anything too “draconian” (their words, not mine). If ISPs start to get too “aggressive”, Netflix still wants the government to intervene via new regulations. You can read the shareholder report here.

Shameless plug time: Click here to sign up to Netflix, get a month long free trial and help me make a few bucks!

Gaming

As promised last week, we take a slightly more detailed look at the NPD results for December in this week’s WNR, now that more numbers have been made available. As mentioned in the last issue, the Xbox One was the best selling non-portable console for the month (the best selling console being the DS, which sold over a million units). The PS4 was not that far behind though.

Xbox One Forza 5

The Xbox One was the most popular console in the US for December

With 908,000 units sold compared to the PS4′s 860,000, the Xbox One did well to follow up on November’s 909,000 units sold – that’s 1.8 million in about five or six weeks of sales, which is not bad at all. Globally, the PS4 still has a comfortable sales lead though.

If we count the Wii U as a next-gen console, then its 480,000 units sold means it is in a distant third place against the the two powerhouses from Microsoft and Sony. 480,000 is still the Wii U’s best month ever, but Nintendo would have expected more sales, particularly with the company’s consoles having a history of being a popular gift idea in holidays past.

Data provided by Microsoft also showed that the Xbox 360 sold 643,000 units, far ahead of the PS3′s 299,000. The PS3′s low number can be explained by the smaller difference in pricing between it and Sony’s next-gen offering compared to the Microsoft offerings (the Xbox 360 was available for cheaper than the PS3, and competes with Microsoft’s own Xbox One, which is $100 more expensive than the PS4). It seems PS4 sales may be cannibalizing PS3 sales in a more dramatic way than the Xbox One is doing to the Xbox 360.

Regardless, sales of both of the older consoles seems to have more than halved compared to just a year ago, which is making game publishers worried about the continued viability of both platforms, according to analyst Michael Pachter. This is why Wedbush Securities’s Pachter believes a price cut could be coming for both the Xbox 360 and PS3 in February, a move pushed through by publishers concerned that holidays 2014 could be one where the Xbox 360 and PS3 are no longer relevant.

The good news, Pachter says, is that both Microsoft and Sony can afford a price cut due to the ever decreasing cost of manufacturing.

I think a price cut could be a good thing, but I don’t know if publishers are so concerned as to start “threatening” Sony and Microsoft for a price cut. There are already a hundred something million PS3s and Xbox 360s being owned by people right now, and I don’t see how adding a couple of extra million via a price cut will help the situation all that much. Besides, if people are abandoning their PS3/360 for a PS4/XB1, then that’s a good thing isn’t it? PS4/XB1 games will be more expensive, and so publishers should be able to make more money (assuming production costs are similar).

Surprisingly, here in Australia, prices have already started dropping (I say surprisingly because we seem to overpay for everything here). The lowest Xbox 360 price I’ve seen is $USD 130, $USD 165 for the PS3. So there’s definitely room for US pricing to drop.

And while there’s plenty of room left to write, I think I’ll end the WNR right here for this week. Have a great one, and talk to you again soon.