Microsoft’s European VP for interactive entertainment, Chris Lewis, has said the battle between the PS3 and 360 in the US is over, with the company now focusing its attention on Europe

When asked if the battle between the PS3 and the 360 was now decided in the US, Lewis said Microsoft has “done the job we need to in North America”, and that the company would focus more effort on increasing the 360’s lead over the PS3 in Europe.

Lewis, speaking in an interview with 360 magazine, also admitted that Microsoft had made mistakes in its previous approach to the European videogame market, saying that a single marketing strategy couldn’t be applied to the whole continent.

“In the sunnier parts of Europe we did have relatively less success”

“It’s a very textured region,” said Lewis. “You’ve got places like the UK and the Nordic countries…where we’ve been able to apply our more North American approach to those markets with genuine success.”

“In the sunnier parts of Europe we did have relatively less success up until the last 12 months where I think we have better understood the need to go to those markets with more appropriate content,” he added.

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The alleged practice of GameStop lending new copies of games to employees at their stores and then later selling those games as new, unused copies, may be a violation of federal law.

GameStop’s “check-out” policy, confirmed to Kotaku by a number of the chain’s managers and employees, could fall under scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission.

Reached for comment this afternoon, GameStop officials declined to comment.

“We do not comment on corporate policies that are competitive in nature,” said Chris Olivera, vice president of corporate communications. “As your questions relate to company training, operations and discounting practices, I would not be able to provide feedback.”

Kotaku contacted the FTC earlier today to determine if the practice, which sells games already played by employees at the new price, not the used price—used titles are typically priced about $5 cheaper than brand new versions—would be considered deceptive advertising or marketing. The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection is mandated to protect consumers against unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce. Violations of FTC restrictions are a violation of federal law, according to the commission.

“The Federal Trade Commission protects consumers from unfair or deceptive advertising and marketing practices, and we encourage any consumer with a complaint about a company’s business practices to contact us,” said FTC public affairs specialist Betsy Lordan.

Lordan said she was unable to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation that the commission is conducting. As a rule the FTC does not comment on the conduct of a particular business.

The company’s check-out policy, provided to us and verified by a number of GameStop employees states:

Associates are allowed to check out one item of store merchandise for personal use for up to four days. Merchandise checkout is a privilege, not a right, and may be revoked at any time.

Hardware, accessories, sealed CDs or software programs that must be altered to install may not be checked out. If the on-hand quantity of a product equals one, the item cannot be checked out. Hot titles may also be prohibited from being checked out, regardless of the on-hand quantity in the store.

Associates may only check out items from the store in which they work. Associates are personally responsible for any merchandise they are allowed to check out.

Merchandise must be properly checked out in the Employee Merchandise Check Out Log in the Game Planner.

If the product is returned in unsellable condition, or if anything is missing from the package, or if the product is not returned, the Associate must purchase the product at the current price less Associate discount.

Copying of the software and/or manuals/instructions is illegal and is strictly prohibited. Merchandise that leaves the store without being properly checked out or purchase is considered to be unauthorized removal of Company property and may result in performance coaching up to and including termination of your employment.

According to a number of GameStop employees and managers across the country, all of which spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, new copies of games rented out to employees are often mixed in with the unplayed display copies. And both are sold at “new” prices.

When a shipment of video games initially arrives at a store, managers are told to “gut” several copies of the game, removing the disc or cartridge from the packaging so it can be displayed on the shelf without concern of theft, according to our sources.

The games are then placed in protective sleeves or cases under the counter. If a customer asks why the game is not sealed they are typically told the the game is a display copy. The game is still sold as new.

When check-out games are returned, we were told, they are placed with the gutted display copies. If a customer asks about these, they are typically told they are display copies, not that they have been played before.

Since the copies are often placed with display copies, even managers and employees typically don’t know which of these games have been played and which haven’t.

While some GameStop managers will on occasion offer a “Shop Worn Discount” for a gutted or checked out title, we are told by our sources that this is actually against GameStop policy which states:

“Do not apply Shop Worn Discounts to any new, used or checked out games, it may only be applied for damaged packaging and new accessories which have been opened.”

Headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, GameStop is the world’s largest video game retailer, operating nearly 6,000 stores worldwide. The company’s revenue was $8.8 billion in 2008.picture-31

MASSIVE ACTION GAME

April 13, 2009

– All audio cues (planes flying by, air raid sirens) are actual players causing it or player triggered actions. – 20 years in future, 3 major PMCs bid for war. 3 Factions, only 2 announced now: Raven and Sver – 256 Domination mode. Attackers and defenders. Out layer of defense and inner layer. If your faction wins alot it gets the contract for that game mode and gets XP bonuses and perks. – 3 other game modes: Acquisition(128 player escort-style mode. Steal 2 prototype armored transports and bring to extraction zone). Sabotage(64player, control 2 points for X time then a demolition objective is revealed which must be destroyed). Suppression(64 player team deathmatch) – Customize face, voice, armor. – No soldier class system, but has a free-form kit creation. – Snipers can get more than normal XP for killing people in designated areas of importance – Ranking up gives access to new weapons/perks/leadership positions. – Certain goals for each squad/platoon etc. Have secondary goals like blowing bridges. – Been running 256 player tests since Nov. 08 and plans to have closed/open betas.

Hi everyone, we’re adding some great new features with the next PS3 firmware update (v2.70) that will continue to enhance your connected experience on the PS3. The 2.70 update brings a new Text Chat feature that enables you to communicate online with your PlayStation Network friends. Now, you’ll be able to chat with up to 15 online friends using the Wireless Keypad, on-screen keyboard, or other compatible keyboard peripherals. Not only can you chat with your friends instantly, but you can also access Text Chat while playing PS3 games and even participate in up to three chat rooms at once.

In addition to Text Chat, we’ve added a few more enhancements:

Friends list on the XMB (XrossMediaBar)

  • Sort your friends via their online status
  • Attach larger files to the messages you send to your friends (file size will increase from 1MB to 3MB)

Video delivery service on PlayStation Store

  • Video files you’ve purchased from the PlayStation Store can be backed up to an external storage device and then restored to PS3’s internal hard drive for playback – so you can clear up space on your hard drive and then restore the video anytime in the future
  • Videos you’ve purchased for PSP (PlayStation Portable) system can now be transferred to PS3 for playback

ps3_consoles1killzone2picI found this article at www.n4g.com/ps3 and i thought it was very truthful although some would disagree. Either way i still have all 3 consoles and i find myself only playing my PlayStation 3.

The Xbox 360 is currently second place in the console wars race. Microsoft, however, seems more concern about the Playstation 3 than the leading Nintendo Wii. They even went so far to discredit the Nintendo Wii

The Xbox 360 had a year head start on the Playstation 3. As a result on being on the market earlier, Microsoft was able to get a first-mover advantage and got a nice lead before the Playstation 3 launched.

If Sony didn’t delay the Playstation 3, the situation would have been a whole lot different. Sony’s high-definition video game system would have outsold the Xbox 360 (even with the higher price tag) based on hype alone. Not to mention that many of the games the Xbox 360 is getting might have become Playstation 3 exclusives.

In reality, the Playstation 3 is selling about even with the Xbox 360 if you don’t account for the year head start (even more in Europe). Furthermore, the Playstation 3 cost a lot more and had to face stiffer competition than the Xbox 360 did when it launched. As much as Microsoft like to brag about beating Sony, the difference between the two isn’t all that great if you take in the context of the situation.

Grand Scheme

The Xbox 360 is outselling the Playstation 3 handily. However, Sony has more than one video game system. The PSP is selling solidly while the Playstation 2 is maintaining a steady pace. Therefore, Sony actually has a bigger market share than Microsoft. So while Microsoft only likes to concentrate on winning the battle against the Playstation 3, they lack the punch to compete against Sony (and Nintendo) in the grand scheme of the gaming industry.

First-Party Support

Microsoft is growing heavily reliant on third-party support. They recently shut down Ensemble Studios (Halo Wars), let Bungie (Halo 3) go independent and did not attempt to buy Bioware (Mass Effect). Since third-party gaming companies can switch alliances at any time, Microsoft is walking a tight rope.

Sony, on the other hand, is quietly building up the biggest first-part development core in the gaming industry. Their studios span all three major regions (Japan, North America and Europe) and feature tremendous talent. First-party Playstation 3 games are gaining praise and popularity.

With more third-party opting to release multiplatform games, exclusive games on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 may ultimately determined the battle between the two high-definition systems. With less fire power, Microsoft should definitely be concern about Sony.

Free Online

Finally, Xbox Live paid subscriptions are one of the biggest revenue streams on the Xbox 360. The Playstation 3 offers free online play over the Playstation Network. Since the differences between the two networks are superficial, Microsoft should fear for their pockets if the Playstation 3 ever caught up to the Xbox 360 in sales. Not only will they lose market share but they will also lose out on extra revenue since many people will rather pay online for free than pay for it.

The Xbox 360 is only dominating the Playstation 3 in North America. The two systems are just about even in Europe while the Playstation 3 is leading handily in Japan. Because of that and the above factors, Microsoft has every right to be concerned about the Xbox 360 lead over the Playstation 3.

Make sure you go out and buy these new movies tomorrow when they go on sell .

Seven Pounds

Marley & Me

SumlDog Millionaire

Tell No One

Spectacular

Special Edition and Box Sets

Marley & Me

After Dark Horror Fest 3

The Matrix 10th Anniversary Edition

Riddick and Pitch Black



It’s GDC 2009 over in California, and our ears are to the ground.  We’ve had to put up with the rumour mill grinding about Firmware 2.70 for a while now, but we’ve heard more recently gossip in and amongst our Twitter account overnight hinting that Sony are about to announce Firmware 2.70 for the PS3, and there appeared to be some maintenance on the network this morning, according to MGO’s in-game notices.  Whether this will come to fruition or not we’ll have to wait and see, but it has been a while since the last update; so whilst we’re not expecting cross-game chat it would be nice to get something out of GDC.