While rumors last week indicated that Nintendo might slash the price of the Wii console to $150, retailers around the country seem to have taken the matter into their own hands. What we do not know is if these price cuts are sanctioned by Nintendo or if retailers simply decided to slash the price to move stock. Whatever the reasons, the Wii is available at a number of retail outlets for $169.99. Best Buy was apparently the first retailer to list the lower price sometime on Friday, but others soon followed.
Now retailers such as GameStop, Target, Toys 'R' Us, and Amazon have listed the Wii at the same price. Walmart has lowered the price of the white Wii system to $179.
We do not know if this is a permanent price drop, sanctioned by Nintendo, or simply an indication that retailers are losing confidence in the Wii (the latter is doubtful). We will wait and see what happens, but if you do not already own a Wii now is as good a time to buy one as any.
PCGA, a nonprofit, charges itself with driving the continued growth of gaming on personal computers. PCGA President Randy Stude commented on the group’s additions, “By joining our rapidly growing organization, they are demonstrating their support for expanding the PC Gaming industry and their commitment to improving the PC gaming experience.”
Logitech and Razer are peripheral manufacturers, while Corsair is known most for its memory, but also markets power supplies, USB drives, harddrives and PC cases. Arxan specializes in software application security.
The ranks of the PC Gaming Alliance have expanded with the addition of eight new member companies, reports gamesindustry.biz.
Leading retailer GameStop and famed designer Chris Taylor's Gas Powered Games studio are the biggest names among those joining the PCGA, which aims to foster PC gaming as a viable business. Others include GameTap, Howie's Game Shack and Bigfoot Networks.
GPG's Taylor (left) explained his decision to join:
I've spent most of my career fully immersed in the world of PC gaming. It's where many of the world's biggest gaming franchises were born and where much of the industry's innovation continues to this day.
By joining the PCGA, Gas Powered Games hopes to make contributions that keep PC gaming at the forefront of the industry, help it to overcome its challenges, and continue to fulfil its amazing potential.
GP: Gotta put this out there - Chris Taylor's late-90's RTS Total Annihilation is on my all-time Top 10 list of games...
Big Download is the latest beneficiary of Randy's insights. The site has posted a fascinating interview in which the PCGA head talks about the issue of piracy and PC games.
Most notably, Randy points out that, back in the day, piracy actually helped grow the PC industry:
I don't think that [those who protested Spore's DRM scheme] is anti-DRM as much as they are anti-Spore's approach to DRM. Their protest has been echoed many times on many gaming forums and the PCGA is listening...
If you ask [Valve and Stardock] about the rate of piracy for their games you may find that one has rampant piracy and the other has almost none. The PC Gaming Industry's history is littered with examples of startups (including Stardock and Valve) that actually benefitted from wide spread piracy to grow a market for their future titles.
Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating piracy... However, how would Quake, Doom, Starcraft, Counter-Strike, or Half-Life have been able to grow widespread brand recognition without a widespread network of gamers openly sharing these games. These titles (and many more) defined the industry. Personally, my first experience with a first person shooter was with Doom (back in the day) and I did not pay for it. Id Software turned the corner and has a very successful business built on the back of the early free/open source exchange of their games...
Not best known for their computer games, Resident Evil publisher Capcom is a somewhat surprising addition to the PC Gaming Alliance.
The news comes via a PCGA press release which mentions that The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University (SMU) has come on board as well.
Capcom exec Christian Svensson commented on the decision to join the nonprofit corporation which is dedicated to fostering computer gaming:
Capcom believes strongly in the value and strength of the PC gaming market as a global platform for our entertainment brands. Our participation in the PCGA’s activities over the past year has greatly improved our understanding of the market, provided us great business opportunities and allowed us to participate in improving the field of PC gaming. We’re pleased to have a representative on the board in order to directly help shape the future of the PC gaming environment.
PCGA president Randy Stude added:
Since the PCGA was formed, the organization and its member companies have spread the word that PC gaming is a thriving $54 billion a year industry. With the recent addition of Sony DADC and Howie’s Game Shack to our membership roll, we are already seeing proof that our new structure will provide the right mix of benefits for a greater number of industry players, while also better serving our current members and the overall PC gaming community.
As a gamer who made his bones on the PC, one of the most encouraging developments of 2008 has been the launch of the PC Gaming Alliance, an association comprised of companies with a stake in the computer games market.
Beyond the formation of the PCGA, however, I'm encouraged by the outspokenness of its president, Randy Stude. In his day job Randy is the Director of Intel's Gaming Program Office. His love of PC gaming is evident and his eminently reasonable voice has given cheer to millions of PC gamers who sometimes feel like outcasts in an increasingly console-centric world.
Randy spoke with GP at length recently on a number of topics, including piracy, where PC gaming is heading and why you can't really play strategy games on an Xbox 360 or PS3.
GP: Randy, what's the outlook for PC gaming?
RS:The PC is leading the way when it comes to hardware innovation and business model innovation. When we released our Horizons research [in Leipzig] which shows the software revenues being generated for PC gaming, I think a lot of people were stunned to see how much revenue is being generated out of Asiain particular.
It shouldn’t be too stunning, I mean this trend has been underway of quite some time. Almost half of the $10.7 billion that are being generated in PC gaming software revenues are coming out of Asia. And this is a trend that obviously many of us who sell hardware are very well aware of because there’s a huge appetite for our technology in the Asian region - anywhere from Vietnam to Korea to China. Even Japan is taking off at this point for PCs and PC gaming.
The usual perception that the West has [is that the Asian market is primarily subscription-based] but it’s more like what Battlefield Heroes is going to be. Its more either pay-to-play, time-on-wire or micro- transactionsgaming where the game client itself is free but in order to advance and level up you need the assistance of certain in-game merchandise that you have to acquire. It’s the acquire vs. accumulate business model. Accumulating takes a lot longer, so most gamers will go for the acquire model.
A lot of these games are finding their way to the U.S. as well. I think the first AAA U.S. title will be the Battlefield Heroes game. Of course there’s Maple Story that’s already here as well as several other similar titles. I think Battlefield Heroes will blow it out for us in the West.
GP: So, will packaged games go away in favor of online distribution and browser-based games?
RS: I don’t think the PCGA is in a position to predict [whether the packaged titles will go away] necessarily, because there are those in the PCGA who rely on packaged goods as their primary source of revenue… I think it’s an important trend and one that several analysts are predicting that the consoles will follow shortly in terms of more content being distributed through the online stores for Nintendo, and Microsoft and Sony, direct to the hard drive of the console. (Hit the jump for more with PCGA's Randy Stude)
In the current environment, game publishers seem perfectly willing to push their customers around, especially when it comes to gaming on the PC.
That's why - as a long time PC gamer - the more I hear about the PC Gaming Alliance, the more enthusiastic I become.
While publishers like Electronic Arts need a lawsuit or three, along with a wave of bad publicity, to clue them into the fact that computer gamers don't want restrictive DRM on their games, the people at the PCGA are studying the piracy issue with an eye toward balancing the needs of publishers to turn a profit and consumers to enjoy a positive gaming experience on their PC.
Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica interviews outspoken PCGA head Randy Stude:
I don't think [piracy is] getting worse, as much as it's getting easier. As broadband has gotten more prolific the issue has been exacerbated... The PCGA will take up the challenge of piracy, not to assume the responsibility that [game publishers lobby] the ESA has taken on... rather the PCGA would like to address the methodology that publishers might be able to take to solve, or to do a better job trying to solve, the piracy challenge for their substantial investments in content.
I think [in the Spore DRM revolt] gamers wanted to make their voices known; it was the equivalent of the Boston tea party... [PC Gamers] don't buy one machine, stick it in the corner, hook it up to the TV, and play it forever. We play on multitudes of machines, and we want the same rights an Xbox 360 purchaser has, to move the game to whatever machine we want to play on.
We [at PCGA] are the guardians of the PC as a platform for gaming. We need to make sure there is an environment where publishers are not afraid to invest tens of millions of dollars in developing great gaming experiences.
PCGA members include hardware types like Dell, INtel, nvidea, AMD, Acer and Antec, as well as Microsoft and Activision.
PHX Corp: I'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew Eisen: Yes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew Eisen: Cool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew Eisen: Still a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew Eisen: Interesting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelante: It certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew Eisen: I imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelante: I wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
ZippyDSMlee: Wouldn't they be able to afford and get done in a timely manner a general gba emluator for the 3DS? It seems to me if they want to make money off sales they need to do it.07/31/2014 - 7:25am
Sora-Chan: Ambassador program, that's what I was looking for. Anyway the other games that have been made no longer exclusive to the early adopters got updates in their software. It'll only be a matter of time more than likely for the GBA to get the same treatment.07/31/2014 - 5:35am
Sora-Chan: I might be naming it incorrectly when I say "founder" i mean the program for earlier adopters.07/31/2014 - 5:34am
Sora-Chan: the 3DS's GBA emulator was a rush job due to the founder program. No other GBA titles have been released on the 3DS yet. If/When they do get around to it, they'll more than likely update the emulation software.07/31/2014 - 5:32am
Zen: emulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
Zen: Matthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
MaskedPixelante: Once again, the 3DS already HAS a GBA emulator, it just can't run at the same time as the 3DS OS.07/30/2014 - 4:54pm
Matthew Wilson: you cant street pass in ds mode ether, and if moders can make a gba emulator that runs very well on the psp as I understand it. you are telling me that Nintendo devs are not as good as moders?07/30/2014 - 4:49pm
Zen: performance. Halo 1 and 2 worked great because they actually did custom work on each of them...just like Nintendo does now lol07/30/2014 - 4:08pm
Zen: existing hardware while the GBA has to be emulated completely. Same reason the 360 couldn't run most Original Xbox games correctly, or had issues because they just did "blanket approach" for their emulation which led to game killing bugs or horrible07/30/2014 - 4:07pm
Zen: Sora/Matthew: It's not just Miiverse, but the whole idea of streetpass and things like that would be affected if the OS is not running. And just because a 3DS game can be downloaded and run does not mean that GBA can as easily. Those 3DS games use the07/30/2014 - 4:06pm