Tag Archives: Xbox Live

‘Magic’ Helps Hasbro Stem Losses

17948Magic-Logo_LG[1] Hasbro revenues declined 7% for the second quarter as the toy giant struggled to replace $174 million in sales of Transformers and G.I. Joe toys in Q2 of 2009. The $174 million is the difference between the revenue the two brands earned in the second quarter of last year and what they brought in the most recent quarter of this year. Hasbro was able to replace $120 million of those lost sales with gains in other categories.

Sales in the game and puzzle category were up 22%, which definitely helped, and in a conference call with industry analysts Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner mentioned Magic the Gathering first among the contributors in the games category, saying: “the Games and Puzzles category was up 22% and Preschool up 32%, both posted strong growth as did several of our mega brands including Magic The Gathering, which continues to perform extremely well.”

In the Boys category Goldner cited Beyblades, which he says is off to strong start in Canada, and just starting to hit shelves here in the U.S. with a new Metal Fusion line (see “Hasbro Reboots Beyblade Franchise”), and Iron Man saying: “we continue to be impressed by the performance of Iron Man. It’s certainly significantly up versus the first movie. We feel very good about it as we go into the fall. It’s really meeting with our expectations. We’re certainly increased from the first movie. I think everybody feels good about that.”

Later in the conference call Goldner explained the continuing strength of MTG and lavished compliments on the current leadership team at Wizard of the Coast: “David will talk about the sales in Magic in a second. But just to talk about the core brand reinvention, a couple of years ago, we changed the management team. We have great leadership out on the West Coast. The team had really re-thought that business entirely, really went back out after a trial mechanism in getting young people and people who may have lapsed as users to get back into the brand. They really reinvented the entire play pattern in many ways, but kept the things that were always important to the core player and to the fan. The fruits of that effort are starting to come to be borne out, both in the analog card business as well as the digital business. So I really compliment the team for their efforts in – this is a true case of brand reinvention, re-imagination, all yet keeping the core methodology very consistent for that core fan.”

David Hargreaves, Hasbro’s COO, then described how Magic is the number three most downloaded game on the Xbox Live Arcade, which is currently the number one online video game platform, and noted “that’s introducing new people to the Magic brand who have been going out buying the cards as well.”

Dead Rising Live Action Movie Trailer

Capcom’s announced that a live action Dead Rising movie will be sold exclusively on Xbox Live later this year, but only in Japan:

The Dead Rising movie is real and is directed the creator of Dead Rising himself, Keiji Inafune. The basic story is this: the movie follows brothers Shin and Jouji who must escape an area of Japan that has been quarantined following the spread of the disease that turns everyone into zombies.

Since it’s set in Japan, Frank West will most likely not be appearing, but it’s a cool idea anyway.

Pets Coming to Xbox Live Avatars

Xbox Live Avatars are getting a little cuter and cuddlier tomorrow, with the arrival of pets. Larry Hryb (a.k.a. Major Nelson) announced that the new arrivals will come in at 240 Microsoft Points ($3) each. Varieties of pets include a large dog, pug dog, cat, siamese cat, long haired cat, goldfish, monkey, bird, snake, pony, and for you hotel heiresses out there, a purse dog. A look at some of the pets is available on Major Nelson’s Flickr.

This announcement goes hand-in-hand with the recent Avatar Chocobo from Square Enix to promote Final Fantasy XIII. And while the little bird is free for signing up with Square before time runs out, some might find these other pets a bit pricey. But hey, if you really love pugs and want to show it, Microsoft is giving you the option.


Natal to replace TV remote?

It seems Microsoft’s plans for Natal are getting bigger by the minute.
Marc Whitten, the general manager responsible for Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, stated during the Streaming Media West show that he sees Project Natal replacing the traditional remote control for the TV even.

"With the flick of my wrist I can change a channel," Whitten said. "With the power of my voice I can start a movie."
"It won’t be a remote control" that consumers use," Whitten said. "A remote control is already too hard."
Instead, Whitten said he envisions a future where Natal recognizes the users in the room, and their voices as well. Knowing the identity of the users will coalesce the content they’re interested in, and allow one of multiple users to control the interface. (In one recorded demonstration, Natal picked up on a user’s voice to control a game.)
"I believe that this will be the largest leap of TV experience since the remote control,"


Millions using social media on Xbox Live

Microsoft on Monday said that millions of Xbox Live members have used the new social-media features that the company pushed live a week ago.

In June, Microsoft announced it would begin offering Xbox Live users access to Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm. And while the manifestation of each of those services is scaled down on Xbox Live, the rollout has been one of the company’s big pushes this fall for its hugely popular online system.

According to Microsoft spokesman David Dennis, the first-week figures show that at least 2 million Xbox Live users have logged into Facebook, and that half a million Last.fm accounts were created in the first 24 hours of availability. Dennis didn’t address how many Xbox Live users have used the service’s Twitter feature, except to say that there have been "tweets from nearly every market where we have Xbox Live."

So, based on the data Dennis provided, the Facebook integration with Xbox Live has had the most adoption. And while 2 million people logging into Facebook is far short of the 20 million total Xbox Live users, it is notable that fully one tenth of the service’s users have tried the Facebook feature in just the first week.

Still, there’s no way to know if the numbers of members using the social-media features will climb higher. There are those who feel that the Facebook and Twitter implementations lack some of the richness that has led to those services’ phenomenal growth, and one has to wonder how many Xbox Live users will choose to spend time with Facebook or Twitter instead of doing things like watching movies or playing games.

As for Last.fm, Dennis said that in the first week, Xbox Live users had streamed 120 million minutes of music. Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET.

Lastly, Dennis said that 1.7 million Xbox Live users had gone to the new Zune marketplace–formerly known as the Xbox Live marketplace–and watched video.