Friday, February 15, 2008

Ice Cream and Mic Stands

Well, it’s Friday: I’ve officially made it a week with this blog. Typically, during the weekends, I don’t get much of a chance to sit down at the computer since most of that time is spent running around with my family, but we’ll see if I can manage.

David 4.9, my wife and I went out for a mini-Valentine’s Day supper last night, which was nice. I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, primarily because I don’t like celebrating holidays with the initials ‘VD’, but our little outing last night was welcome and pleasant. We just essentially went to the mall and had a bite there, since being accompanied by a 4.9 year old is not quite conducive to romancing. David devoured his popcorn chicken and was then more than happy to put away some chocolate ice-cream as well. Since he was quite ill not too long ago, I’m still a bit happy inside whenever I see him succumb to his seemingly large appetite. Seeing a 4 year old not eat when he’s sick is not fun.

I’ve been thinking of going through the ‘Band World Tour’ in Rock Band by myself by using a mic stand and playing either the bass or the guitar. Do I want to be cool like Sting or just do the Thom Yorke thing? I’m not quite sure yet. I’m probably going to stop buy a local music store sometime this weekend and pic up a cheap mic stand. Then I’ll start belting out the tunes and wailing away on a plastic Stratocaster: oh yeah, it’s totally the rocker’s life for me.

The NDP numbers came out yesterday and I always find those fascinating. Fanboys love to look at the numbers and make an argument as to which console is ‘better’, but personally I just like seeing the sales trends for each unit. Here are the numbers that have been released:

Wii: 274,000
PS3: 269,000
PS2: 264,000
DS: 251,000
360: 230,000
PSP 230,000

Software wise, this is the top 5:

1- Call of Duty 4 (360) 330.9K
2- Wii Play (Wii) 298.1K
3- Guitar Hero III (Wii) 239.6K
4- Rock Band (360) 183.8K
5- Guitar Hero III (360) 182.7K

So my take on this: the Wii is still going very strong sales wise, but what’s this in the number 2 position? The PS3? Wow, how’d that happen? Well, I’m thinking that can be explained from a few different standpoints.

First off: Blu-Ray has virtually been declared the winner in the HD format wars. With Warner declaring their Blu-Ray exclusivity intentions not so long ago, Netflix stating that they’ll be phasing out HD-DVD in the near future, the writing is pretty much on the wall for HD-DVD. That can’t but help the PS3, since it’s essentially one of the cheapest (and best) Blu-Ray players on the market. Personally, I’ll wait until it drops to $299 before I pick one up, but that’s just me. Second, Sony has made positive strides in recovering from their tarnished image. It’s no secret that the advertising push behind the launch of the PS3 and the months after was absolutely horrible and, in a nutshell, insulting to the very demographic they were trying to court. Actually, scratch that, initially Sony didn’t even really KNOW at which group to aim the PS3: is it a game machine, is it a movie player, is it a media convergence device? The lack of focus really didn’t help Sony at that point, but at this moment, they seem to be making positive strides in recovering that image. Good for them. Third (and last thing I can think of) is Microsoft’s 360 ‘shortage’. See how I put ‘shortage’ in quotes there? I wasn’t just being fancy. Anecdotal evidence I’ve seen first hand to really support a shortage per se, since I spotted many Halo and Arcade units at stores last night. However, I did notice a lack of Pro’s and Elite’s, which is kind of unusual. The Xbox 360 Pro is probably the best value proposition you can get, but why does it seem so conspicuously absent in stores? There’s a conspiracy theory running around stating that Microsoft is asking retailers to return the Pro’s and Elite’s containing the Falcon chipset in order to get them potentially restocked with the new revised chipset. What that would mean for Microsoft is that, further down the line as the ‘newer’ system make their way to consumers, less failures will be accrued due to the famous ‘Red Ring of Death’ scenario. Sounds a little farfetched in my opinion. Personally I just think that Microsoft came out with this ‘shortage’ story just a few days before the NDP’s hit to offset the PS3’s time in the #2 position: even though they’re lagging behind the PS3 for the first time, well, EVER, they come out looking not quite as bad as they potentially could’ve.

Finally (for now, anyway) - Rock Band at #4? Awesome!

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