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Nintendo overtakes Sony in market value, unveils active gaming

The Big three prepare for E3 2007

13 July, 2007

The three biggest players of the gaming industry – Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo – focused on video games as they gathered to demonstrate their top titles at the E3 Media & Business Summit, which will conclude on July 13, 2007, in Santa Monica, California, the United States.

Nintendo up with new ways that would need players of its Wii console to do physical exercise and not just lounge on the couch.

The company announced a gun-shaped ‘zapper’ for first-person shooters, a steering wheel for driving titles, and a white floor pad for exercise and dancing games.

The white, pistol-shaped controller – costing $19.99 – will be available later in 2006. The existing Wii remote and nunchuck accessories clip into the gun’s plastic housing.

The Wii remote snaps into the steering wheel accessory and will be included with the racing game Mario Kart, due in the first quarter of 2008.

Nintendo also showed off several new games in an effort to attract a larger range of gamers.

An exercise programme called ‘Wii Fit’ includes a ‘Wii Balance Board’ on which players stand to perform yoga, aerobics, and other fitness routines. The wireless device, which looks like a weight scale, calculates body mass index and shows a person’s centre of gravity.

Sony Corporation displayed a revised, slimmed-down version of its PlayStation Portable that lets users connect the handheld system to their televisions to watch movies.

Sony executives said the new PlayStation Portable was 33% lighter and more battery-efficient than the previous version. The system will come in black as well as two new colours in the fall of 2007 – silver and white, a limited-edition version with Darth Vader’s image on the back that will sell for $199 as part of a Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron game package.

Sony also previewed a range of forthcoming games, including the military shooter Killzone 2 and the latest revision of its 3-D online service called Home, due in a couple of months.

Microsoft Corporation also focused on video games. Top games for Microsoft Xbox 360 will include the anticipated sci-fi shooter Halo 3 from Bungie Studios, Mass Effect from BioWare Corporation, and Grand Theft Auto IV from Rockstar Games.

Microsoft Corporation executives said it had struck a deal to make 35 Disney movies, such as the animated hit Aladdin and the action title Armageddon, available for download on its online video game service.

It had also struck a deal to offer 35 new, high-definition movies from Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

The Xbox 360, released in late 2005, leads the current generation of console wars in the United States with 5.6 million units sold, according to the NPD Group, a market research company.

The Wii has sold 2.8 million units in the United States, while the PlayStation 3 console from Sony was ranked third, with 1.4 million consoles sold in the US since its release in 2006.

According to Nintendo, the US games market is up by 50% since January 2007. The UK market has gained over 40% in the same period, while Japan has surged by 114%.

The Wii, which is less than half the price of its two main rivals at £185, has outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 by a margin of at least two-to-one.

Nintendo has claimed that its console had consistently been “effectively sold out” over the 33 weeks since its launch.

By contrast, Sony recently chose to cut the price of the PlayStation 3 in the US by $100, to $500. A similar move is expected in the UK, where the PlayStation 3 costs about 400 pounds.





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