Wednesday 17 June 2020

Microsoft Stores remain closed

 Christo [PCD]    18 Jun : 16:00
 None    Misc

Apple and Best Buy continue reopening while Microsoft stores are still closed

MS Store

Microsoft is being a little warier than other companies when it comes to welcoming consumers back to its retail stores. Just today, Apple announced it will offer curbside pickup or appointment-based service at over 70 more stores in the United States this week, including the Fifth Ave “cube” and other New York City locations. 9to5Mac has the full list. Best Buy has also continued bringing more stores back online as cities relax the guidelines put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

But Microsoft is still taking a wait-and-see approach, according to a statement provided to The Verge by email. Its stores remain closed until further notice. “Our approach for re-opening Microsoft Store locations is measured and cautious, guided by monitoring global data, listening to public health and safety experts, and tracking local government restrictions,” a spokesperson said. “We are prioritizing the health and safety of our employees and customers and have no new updates on store re-openings to share at this time.”

After closing the doors at its physical locations, Microsoft continued selling devices online and shifted the focus of retail employees to remote assistance for enterprise, small business, and education customers. And it has continued to offer virtual workshops for customers.

Some of the company’s latest products, like the Surface Headphones 2, Surface Go 2, and Surface Book 3, have been in high demand at authorized resellers. Microsoft Store locations have been closed since before the launch of this batch of products in May.

Microsoft operates over 100 retail stores; the vast majority are in the United States, with a handful of stores in Canada and others in Australia, Puerto Rico, and the UK. The company’s retail chain isn’t quite as vital to its business as Apple’s, but Microsoft Store locations still serve as an important showcase for all things Surface, Xbox, and Windows.

With COVID-19 still a very real threat to public health, retailers have implemented various safety measures as they reopen to help protect customers. These include social distancing, shortened operating hours, and requiring the use of face coverings for anyone who visits a store.

PS5 Digital Edition sets up a next-gen price war

 Christo [PCD]    17 Jun : 20:28
 None    Hardware

PS5 Digital Edition


Sony finally revealed its PlayStation 5 console hardware this week, and while the console design will undoubtedly be labeled divisive, the real surprise was Sony’s plans for two PS5 models. There’s a PS5 Digital Edition that will ship with the same hardware specs as the main model, without the 4K Blu-ray drive. Sony didn’t mention pricing for either variant, but the PS5 Digital Edition will obviously be priced below the model with the optical drive. It sets Sony up for an interesting price war against Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

Microsoft has long been rumored to be preparing to launch two next-gen Xbox models. The Xbox maker has already revealed the Xbox Series X, but a second, cheaper Xbox (codename Lockhart) has also been in the works. Like Sony’s PS5 Digital Edition, the Lockhart model is likely to ship without an optical drive, but it’s also expected to include changes to at least the memory configuration and GPU inside that make it less powerful than the Series X.

Sony’s PS5 Digital Edition doesn’t directly counter Microsoft’s rumored plans, but it does offer the company some leverage around pricing for the PlayStation 5. Even though a 4K Blu-ray drive doesn’t make up a huge amount of the cost of next-gen consoles, it should equate to roughly a $50 price cut, thanks to the drive costs and associated licensing charges. Price is a huge factor in this next-gen console phase, particularly as it’s clear we’re about to enter one of the worst recessions for decades. Any small price savings could be key, especially if Sony and Microsoft are willing to stretch their usual losses on hardware to aggressively chase after game sales and subscriptions.

The PS5 Digital Edition eliminates the optical disc. But it also means Sony takes its cut on every game someone buys through its digital store. Sony hasn’t addressed whether it plans to allow people to loan games to friends digitally or even resell digital games, both of which could drive digital sales of games if they’re not supported.

Microsoft has already been experimenting with digital Xbox editions and even the idea of sharing games digitally. The software giant introduced a disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition for $249 last year, shaving $50 off the Xbox One S retail price. It’s been a popular choice, especially as so many games now require large updates and need to be installed to a drive. Microsoft even originally planned to let Xbox One users share any games digitally, but a backlash over the used games policies and online check forced the company to reverse most of its more promising plans.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Nintendo Lost $457M During Fiscal 2013, Marking Third Straight Year of Losses

 Christo [PCD]    14 May : 08:40
 None    Hardware

The Wii U continues to disappoint

The Wii U continues to disappoint

It looks as though Nintendo just can’t catch a break this decade, having just reported its third straight full year of losses. For fiscal 2013, Nintendo had an operating loss of $457 million and net loss of $228 million as sales of its Wii U continue to sputter in the marketplace.

Even more disappointing is that the operating loss figure is actually worse than the already reduced forecast that Nintendo gave back in January. At the time, Nintendo forecast fiscal year operating losses of $394 million.

Since its lukewarm introduction in late 2012, Nintendo has only managed to sell 6.17 million Wii U consoles. Nintendo was only able to sell 2.72 million Wii U consoles during fiscal 2013.

For comparison’s sake, Sony managed to sell 6 million of its pricier PlayStation 4 consoles in just four months.

Nintendo acknowledges that it “still faces a challenging sales situation?" and that it “will focus on efforts that seek to stimulate the platform?"

Looking forward, Nintendo is banking on the success of the two upcoming titles to reinvigorate the platform: Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Mario Kart 8 alone should be enough to delight existing Wii U owners, but it remains to be seen how many fresh Wii U customers it can bring in with the title.

But while Wii U numbers were definitely disappointing, Nintendo was definitely more upbeat about the performance of the 3DS. Nintendo was able to move 12.24 million units of the popular handheld console and 67.89 million 3DS games during the fiscal year.

Source: Nintendo [PDF]

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1400048846 Ninten

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