After an embarrassing performance of the Nintendo 3DS which has already received severe price cuts, Nintendo has announced a 50.2% decrease in net sales and a 84.3% decrease in net profit in comparison to the last financial year.
Nintendo’s president and board of directors are cutting their salaries voluntarily. Satoru Iwata, the company’s president, would be taking a 50% cut to his estimated $770,000 salary whilst the board of directors will have a 20% to 30% cut.
Nintendo’s profit forecast has fallen by 82%, they forecast their net income for year ending March 31, 2012 to be 20 billion yen falling dramatically from the 110 billion yen prediction. The profit would reach a 27 year low for the company. Forecasted sales have not dropped.
Nintendo told investors that a “lack of hit software titles” caused a slump in software and hardware sales as well as price markdowns for the Nintendo 3DS, Wii and Nintendo DS in certain markets. Advertising also increased for the Nintendo 3DS and research and development expenses were incurred for the Nintendo Wii U which will be released in 2012.
Customers who purchased a Nintendo 3DS at the higher price of around $249 instead of the discounted $169 would be able to download 20 free games courtesy of Nintendo.
It’s very rare for Linear Fix to feature any type of game, but this little flash game by Eric Ishii Eckhardt called Hunting Arrows (also called ‘Predator & Prey Arrows’) is a great five-minute time waster. The game is made up of black arrows (predators) which consume the colorful arrows (prey), leaving behind a splash of paint behind.
To play, click on the edges of the game to get more of each type of arrows and move your mouse to control them. To get an entire swarm of arrows click and drag on the edges.
Electronic Arts has entered into an agreement with PopCap for what is estimated to be a $1.35 billion plan with a ‘acquisition price of $650 Million plus $100 million stock and [a] multi-year earn-out.’ The earn-out is expected to be up to $550 million and was announced today on the PopCap press room.
PopCap has made popular games for the casual gaming market with titles such as Bookworm, Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled and Peggle all joining the EA family. PopCap has already created mobile and online versions to complement the usual desktop games.
John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, said that PopCap would ‘accelerate our drive towards a $1 billion digital business,’ adding that they hoped for greater distribution to different countries and more devices. The aggressive push will use around 41% of Electronic Art’s cash according to earnings report and the San Francisco Chronicle.
PopCap has published a letter to its fans, joking that ‘EA is being rebranded to Poptronic Arts’ and games such as ‘Bejeweled Battlefield Blitz’ would be created.
Valve Software’s Team Fortress 2 is now free to play, a business model which gains money through in-game purchases. The game will make use of premium accounts which current owners will be given, slots in the backpack will be expanded and more items and trading will be included for premium accounts.
Valve says that this is the highest rated game to become available for free citing a score from Metacritic of 92/100 adding that ‘Team Fortress 2 delivers constant updates—new game modes, maps, equipment and, most importantly, hats.’
Users who purchase something from the Mann Co. Store, a virtual item store, will be given premium access. The Mann Co. Store was opened last year during September 2010.
The 2007 game has received over 200 updates including the Uber Update which included ‘Meet the Medic’ and is the largest content pack to come to the game.
A FAQ (frequently asked questions) list released by Valve says that users of the coaching feature will receive a ‘wearable item.’ The coaching feature is designed for free account users who change over to a premium account, these users are given a chance to state who the most valuable friend was. The most valuable friend will then receive the item.
LulzSec has gained access to internal data from the United States Senate website, as well as source code and database passwords from Bethesda Softworks.
Bethesda Softworks has produced popular gaming series including Brink, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. LulzSec said in a press release that they have not stolen the details of more than 200,000 customers. They added ‘we actually like this company and would like for them to speed up the production of Skyrim, so we’ll give them one less thing to worry about.’ According to LulzSec, they hacked into the website two months ago. ‘Please fix your junk,’ advised the company via Twitter.
Sophos, an internet security company, said in a blog post on the LulzSec Senate leak that ‘some basic information on the filesystems, user logins and the Apache web server config files,’ has been stolen. Sophos also mentioned that such hacks were punishable under law, with jail terms of five to twenty years.
LulzSec has managed to gain access to the Nintendo website publishing a web configuration file from a Nintendo American server as evidence. Nintendo America has confirmed an attack on its web server, adding that no data was stolen.
LulzSec appeared to have not done any damage to the company as they enjoyed previous Nintendo products. Telling their Twitter followers, ‘we just got a config file and made it clear that we didn’t mean any harm.’
Nintendo has now fixed issues that allowed LulzSec to gain access to the web configuration file. Tomokazu Nakaura, a spokesperson for Nintendo, told the BBC that ‘the protection of our customer information is our utmost priority.’
Since the release date on the 12th of May, the application has more than 755,000 users and a perfect 5-star rating from players. The game also includes levels only available in the web version.
The game access isn’t restricted to users of the Chrome browser and can be played using any modern browser using a direct link to the game (http://chrome.angrybirds.com/), though this is not mentioned on any official releases.
Rovio Mobile, the Finnish company behind Angry Birds, said ‘we are working on bringing more levels to Chrome, and planning on making the Mighty Eagle available as an in-app purchase option.’
Sony has begun a new plan to restore Sony PlayStation Network (PSN) across this week after more than 77 million user’s personal data was stolen. In an effort to win back the trust of users a ‘Welcome Back’ program to ‘thank its [ PlayStation Network and Qriocity] customers for their patience and loyalty’ has been established with certain Sony entertainment content offered for free, 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership and unlimited music from Qriocity depending on the availability in the country which you live in.
Sony has also outlined new security procedures including added firewalls and better encryption and detection in a Sony Blog post. Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President of Sony said ‘this criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry.’
The company has offered an apology to customers. Last year the company earned $78 billion and share prices are expected to rise on the New York Stock Exchange after a 2.5% rise on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Kristopher Johns has filed a class action lawsuit against Sony after the theft of private data from the Sony PSN user database. The suit alleges the use of unsecured data procedures and unreasonable delays in bringing the PSN service back online. The lawsuit has been filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California and there has been no response from Sony at this point of time.
In a email sent to PSN users Sony said that “illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network,” had been discovered “between April 17 and April 19, 2011.” It advises users to check “account statements and to monitor your credit reports.” It is believed that name, address, email address, birthdate, login details, PSN ID as well as purchase history could of been accessed. More information on the outage and details for protecting privacy for the affected customers are available on the frequently asked questions page on the Sony website.
In a blog post, Patrick Seybold; Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media; said “the personal data table, which is a separate data set, was not encrypted.” It appears that only credit cards details were encrypted in the database. Sony is currently moving data to a new data center to provide better security in the future. A new software update from Sony will force users to change their password.
Anonymous, separate groups of hacktivists who act anonymously under the group name, have said that they were not responsible. The group was believed as a suspect initially as they started Operation Sony after a lawsuit against George Hotz, a hacker of the iPhone and Sony PlayStation (see above video). The operation reportedly took down the PlayStation website and PlayStation Store and advises users to return Sony products. Anonymous have said they ‘are not aiming to attack customers of Sony.’
Australian police forces are investigating online virtual worlds due to concerns over money laundering. NSW Detective Superintendent Commander Colin Dyson said the area was a “growing area of interest,” though didn’t name the games under investigation.
In most virtual environments, such as World of Warcraft, Second Life and selected Facebook games gamers are able to transfer real currencies into virtual money to buy and sell in-game add-ins. Transactions in the online gaming environment makes it difficult to trace and communication is possibly being used by criminals according to Dyson.
In Second Life, the currency is usually 270-250 Linden dollars to one USD. Second Life is known to have its own economy and enables the purchase virtual items such as land, clothing, audio and video and vehicles in the marketplace.