Nintendo

Take Five Seconds to Honor Game Boy’s 25th Anniversary

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I’m not much for anniversary retrospectives concerning classic video game systems. Not that there’s zero value in examining history, but the older a console gets, the more it feels like we’re recycling the same factoids every time a gaming system reaches another large, round number.

So it goes with the Nintendo Game Boy, which launched in Japan on April 21, 1989. In case your memory is foggy from the last round of retrospectives five years ago, you’ll find more look-backs around the Internet on today’s 25th anniversary. (Jeremy Parish’s write-up for USGamer is pretty good.)

Personally, I prefer to let the above video do all the talking. That little start screen is all I need to unlock a trove of memories, from stuffing too many cartridges into my carrying case at home to slumping in the corner of a dingy gym next to my best friend, playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan while his mom Jazzercised.

Happy 25th anniversary, Game Boy.

Opinion

Boston Marathon Bombings: Making Sense of the Social Media Blitz

Scribbled notes for the first rough draft of history

When I first heard that two bombs had exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I was sitting on my couch — the afternoon sunlight streaming through from the tall window behind me — cradling my 12-day-old daughter in my arms. While she slept peacefully, I took the opportunity to catch up on my Twitter feed.

I’ll always have that tranquil moment as a reminder of how April 15 began, before the bombs. It is a stark contrast to the feeling that immediately followed, reading a barrage of tweets — information and misinformation — originating from Boylston Street, less than 10 miles south of where we sat.

Of course I found out from Twitter; everybody did, it seemed. After reading the news in my feed, my wife and I turned on the TV to see what was going on, but after a few minutes of watching television reporters spout empty speculation and unverified information, we turned it off again.

The previous week I had returned to work after a short paternity leave; I teach journalism and writing courses at a small college just south of the city. It happened that I was teaching an Introduction to Media Studies course that semester. In the last class before my daughter was born, I asked my students to consider what the most significant revolution brought on by the Internet might be. Just over a week after I returned, we were seeing it in action.

There has been no shortage of handwringing over the role that the Internet played in the events of that day and the tense week that followed. Though there is plenty to praise — the excellent work of some eyewitnesses who truly became amateur reporters, the absolute immediacy of information — there’s also much to worry about: the emotion-fueled speculation, the misinformation, the vigilante journalism.

The Internet made all of these things a reality, and while it’s impossible to try to assign a quantitative “good”or “bad” to these developments, what we can know for sure is that we will never go back. This is how big news is reported now.

In some ways, I’m right there with the hand wringers. I’ll take truth over immediacy any day. But, from the vantage point of a year later, I’m beginning to see a great value to the stream of tweets and status updates that (sometimes inaccurately) reported the news of the Marathon Bombings and the subsequent search for the bombers as it happened. But I wouldn’t be able to see this value if it weren’t for archivists and collectors, curators, scholars, and storytellers who have, in the year that’s passed, begun to make sense of the social media blitz of that week.

If journalism is the first rough draft of history, eyewitness reports captured on mobile phones and broadcast to the world are the first notes — scratchings, written hastily on Post-its, which later become an outline that eventually inform the first draft as well as the drafts that follow. They are hastily scribbled and stuck in the moment, but later, when a skilled storyteller comes along, they begin to take shape into a cohesive narrative. And, particularly in the case of the Marathon Bombings, they take on a life of their own as a kind of meta-narrative — we get a sense of how we respond when tragedy strikes.

It’s not always a pretty picture. The false identification of the perpetrators first on Reddit and then on the front page of The New York Post, the hasty and lazy reporting by cable news networks, the threats against Muslims here in Boston, serve as a perfect example of how instant news culture can do very real harm. But even those mishaps can teach us something valuable.

I’m grateful to those organizations like the NULab at Northeastern University who, in collaboration with WBUR, are creating a digital archive of artifacts from the bombings. And the marathon memorial that will open at the Boston Public Library, which features items such as running shoes, t-shirts, and photos left near the finish line as an instant tribute. And the hand sewn flags, mailed in from around the country and the world, on display at the Museum of Fine Arts as part of its “To Boston With Love” installation.

What all of these have in common is that they are collections of natural and emotional reactions in the immediate wake of tragedy, and though they may not mean much individually, when collected and curated, they tell a story of their own; they truly become a memorial. This is how I choose to think of those tweets and status updates. Even with their misleading and sometimes flat-out wrong information, even if they are a testament to the ways in which the cult of now has reshaped our news consumption, taken together they are a monument to a city that experienced tremendous grief on an otherwise beautiful day in April, and they tell the story of how we continue to cope with that tragedy today.

Jonathan D. Fitzgerald is the author of Not Your Mother’s Morals: How the New Sincerity Is Changing Pop Culture for the Better and the editor of Patrolmag.com.

Internet

4 Reasons to Be Bullish About Netflix

A new survey of web users' entertainment habits finds Netflix has surpassed YouTube as the top online video site but as the company publicizes its first-quarter earnings, analysts are eager to see how much its original content is helping to bring in more subscribers

Few companies are better positioned to capitalize on the Internet video boom than Netflix, the erstwhile DVD rental business turned online streaming powerhouse.

That’s part of the reason why investors have pushed Netflix shares up more than 100% over the last year, although the stock is down about 20% over the last month amid broader weakness in the tech sector. A new study by Experian shows that Netflix is playing an important role in the still-nascent “cord-cutting” trend, in which users eschew cable TV service in favor of services like Netflix and Aereo.

On Monday, Netflix will report earnings results for the first three months of 2014, and Wall Street analysts are eager to see the extent to which the company’s original content—House of Cards, in particular—is helping to attract new subscribers.

“We believe the company should benefit from the launch and awareness around season 2 of House of Cards and continued improvements in content, as well as positive seasonality driven by more Internet-connected devices and colder weather,” Morgan Stanley technology analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a note to clients.

Netflix’s stock price has historically been very volatile, and if the company fails to meet expectations Monday—analysts expect the company to announce that it has added 2.25 million new subscribers—its shares could take a tumble. But over the long term, there are several reasons to be optimistic about Netflix’s prospects, according to a recent study by investment bank RBC Capital Markets. Here are four of them:

1. For the first time, Netflix has surpassed YouTube to become the leading online video site, according to the RBC Capital Markets survey, which asked 1,033 Internet users about their entertainment habits. (This is the 10th such survey conducted by RBC technology analyst Mark S. Mahaney since May 2011). Some 44% of respondents said they use Netflix to watch movies or TV shows—up from up from 37% one year ago—edging out YouTube, which came in at 43%.

2. Most Netflix customers are happy with the service, according to the survey. Overall Netflix satisfaction levels are now at record levels, with 66% of current subscribers responding that they are either “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their service, up from 62% one year ago.

3. Netflix subscribers are increasingly less likely to leave the service, the survey found, with 69% of current subscribers “not at all likely” to cancel their subscriptions in the next three months, up from 66% one year ago. “We note that this is the highest level we have tracked in more than two years,” Mahaney wrote.

4. There is increasing evidence that Netflix’s original content is keeping customers subscribed to the service by acting as “an anticipatory anti-churn factor,” as Mahaney describes it. Some 47% of Netflix subscribers said that original content was “extremely important,” “quite important,” or “moderately important,” when deciding about whether to remain a subscriber, up from 42% in November 2013.

Taken together, these trends provide a reason to be optimistic about Netflix’s prospects. And despite the dramatic increase in the Netflix’s stock price over the last year, Mahaney argues that the company remains undervalued. “We continue to believe that Netflix has achieved a level of sustainable scale, growth, and profitability that isn’t currently factored into its stock price,” he wrote in a recent note to clients.

Wall Street analysts will also be eager to hear more details from Netflix executives about the company’s controversial agreement to pay Comcast for a direct connection to the nation’s largest broadband provider. Although Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has expressed his displeasure about the deal, there is clear evidence that the interconnection pact is substantially boosting Netflix performance for Comcast subscribers, which should improve customer satisfaction even further.

“We believe it is likely that Netflix is having similar conversations concerning interconnection agreements with other broadband providers,” Mahaney wrote, “and we view the Comcast deal as incrementally positive for Netflix in the long term, as it should provide a better user experience for the company’s streaming subs.”

Internet security

Healthcare.gov Users Urged to Change Passwords Over Heartbleed Fears

No security breach has been detected but online healthcare enrollees are warned to change their passwords as a precaution against the programming flaw. The government is reportedly carrying out a review into the Heartbleed bug

People who used the Obama administration’s healthcare.gov website to enroll in insurance plans under the government’s healthcare reform law are being warned to change their passwords in defense against the notorious Heartbleed internet security flaw.

“While there’s no indication that any personal information has ever been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers’ passwords out of an abundance of caution,” said a post on the website. The government is reportedly carrying out a review into the Heartbleed bug, according to the Associated Press.

The Heartbleed programming flaw has affected widely used encryption technology, and major internet services have recommended users change their website passwords. Critics have said the healthcare online enrollment presents myriad opportunities for hackers to exploit security flaws. The IRS has already said it was not affected by Heartbleed.

Obama announced this week that about 8 million people have enrolled in the insurance plans, exceeding forecasts.

Technologizer

The History of Technology, as Told in Wacky British Pathé Newsreels

How computers--gigantic, noisy ones--changed practically everything

In an inventive, generous act, British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 pieces of footage from vintage newsreels to YouTube. If you stop by to check it out, you might have trouble pulling yourself away. It’s a fascinating survey of what happened to the world from 1896-1976, told in bite-sized chunks.

The collection is searchable, so I pulled up some choice bits relating to computers–especially how they got used to automate practically everything in the 1960s. This stuff was amazing at the time–especially, it seems, if you were a British newsreel announcer.

1949: An engineer teaches a machine to play noughts and crosses, better known to you and me as tic-tac-toe

1962: Pan Am and IBM sign a deal to computerize airplane reservations (watching this, it hit me: how the heck did they do them before computers?)

1966: Rowland Emett, the Rube Goldberg of the U.K., demonstrates his homemade computer

1967: During an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease, horse-racing fans settle for a computerized simulation

1967: The latest in automation–from the Auto-Typist to a pocket-sized dictation machine–gets demonstrated at the Business Efficiency Exhibition

1968: Honeywell demonstrates its “girl robot,” Miss Honeywell, who, I regret to say, I suspect of being an elaborate hoax

1968: A report on the Univac-powered Tinder of its day, complete with a Beatles soundtrack

1968: A Putney man composes music with his home computer, which happens to be a PDP-8 minicomputer

One thing I learned from watching all of these: Unless British Pathé sweetened its soundtracks, computers used to be noisy. I’m just as glad we no longer have to listen to that incessant clackety, clackety, clackety, clacking.

Technologizer

Bye-Bye FuelBand: Nike Won’t Be the Last Company to Get Out of Wearable Hardware

Nike FuelBand
Nike

A pioneer in fitness trackers decides they don't have a future--at least as a Nike product line

Nick Statt of Cnet has a scoop: He’s reporting that Nike is laying off most of the people on its team responsible for the FuelBand fitness tracker. Instead of making its own hardware, the company will focus on fitness-related software henceforth.

It’s impossible to hear this news without bringing up the fact that Apple CEO Tim Cook is on Nike’s board and wondering whether it relates in any way to any plans Apple might have in the smart watch/fitness category. There, I just did. But that’s all I’m going to say, because who knows?

This I do know: I’m sorry to see the FuelBand go away. Though it didn’t do anywhere near as much as a Fitbit or Jawbone Up, I loved Nike’s hardware design, with its straightforward display and a clasp that locked securely and doubled as a USB connector. (It’s one of the few wearables that doesn’t make you keep track of a stupid little charging dongle.) I was hoping to see it evolve further; Statt says an upcoming model was canceled, though the current FuelBand SE will stay on the market.

Still, I think it’s possible that Nike’s move is a smart one, strategically. There are just gazillions and gazillions of fitness trackers on the market now–a little like there were once gazillions of e-readers, and before that, gazillions of MP3 players. And now phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S5 are adding enough fitness-related features–it even has a heart-rate monitor–to render a wristband superfluous for some folks. (The evidence suggests that Apple plans to turn the iPhone into a health aid, too. )

Bottom line: Whether or not Nike has any specific knowledge of anything Apple might be planning to unveil, it has a good idea which way the wind is blowing. I’ll bet it won’t be the last player to exit this category.

Security

Chromebooks Could Let You Skip the Login Screen When Your Phone’s Nearby

Google

A non-working feature in Chrome OS hints at a way to sign in without a password.

For a while, Google has been talking about killing the password with help from some physical object, whether it’s a phone, a ring, a tattoo or even a pill that you swallow.

The latest developer version of Chrome OS suggests that Google is putting those plans in motion.

Android Police has discovered a hidden setting, called “Easy Unlock,” that claims to let users sign into their Chromebooks without a password. As long as users have their phones nearby — and presumably paired via Bluetooth — they’d be able to skip the usual login screen.

Unfortunately, the feature isn’t actually working right now. Enabling it in the chrome://flags menu causes a notification to appear, and you can click on that notification for a basic explanation of what Easy Unlock does, but that’s as far as you can go. On my Chromebook, clicking the “Find your phone” button only caused the browser to crash and restart.

We’ve seen some similar approaches to device-based sign-ins before. Motorola’s Moto X, for instance, allows you to skip the PIN lock screen when the phone is connected to a Bluetooth device of your choosing. (When I reviewed the Moto X, I loved using this feature in conjunction with my Pebble smartwatch.)

But if Google adds device-based authentication for Chromebooks, it’d be the first time that such a feature was baked directly into a major computing platform. Neither Apple nor Microsoft have built anything similar into their operating systems, though Apple’s iPhone 5s does have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone without a PIN.

Easy Unlock wouldn’t kill the password entirely, but it could encourage users to set stronger, more complex passwords that wouldn’t need to be entered as often.

There are also a lot of other directions that device-based logins could go. Instead of replacing the password, a paired phone could be the second step in two-factor authentication, eliminating the usual hassle of entering a code sent to the phone via text message. The paired device could also become a way to automatically sign into websites that are tied to your Google login.

Beyond the smartphone, it’s not hard to imagine Google adding other Easy Unlock devices, starting with Android Wear smartwatches, and maybe some day moving on to those crazy tattoos and authentication pills. The early work spotted in Chrome OS brings us a small step closer.

deals

RadioShack Selling iPhone 5s for $100, or Free with iPhone 4S Trade

Starting today, the electronics retailer will let customers with an iPhone 4S trade in their phones for the newer model free of charge, while customers who don't own an iPhone 4s can purchase the 5S for just $100

On your marks, get set, save $100 on a 16GB iPhone 5s if you buy one from RadioShack, starting today.

The deal gets a mite sweeter if you have an iPhone 4S, in which case RadioShack will hand you an iPhone 5s for nada, crediting you $100 toward the existing $100 deal, which of course equals nothing. Well, the sort of nothing that involves a two-year contract, anyway, since both the $100 standalone and $0 for trade-in deals are limited to contract-arians AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

As noted, the promotion starts today, April 18, and runs until take-your-best-guess. MacRumors quotes a supposed Radio Shack source as saying “the promotion does not currently have an end date.”

[9to5Mac]

5 Fundamental Truths for Tech Companies

Google
Justin Lane—EPA

Maybe that correction in technology stocks wasn’t such a bad thing after all. As tech companies have started the quarterly ritual of reporting earnings, the early indications are that, while many are still growing, they aren’t growing enough to meet the outsize expectations the market had built up.

So far, the flagship tech companies that have posted earnings bore few big surprises or disappointments. While several companies posted solid results, it wasn’t enough for the more hyped, overvalued stocks like Google. Others, like Intel, that were left out of last year’s tech rally performed much better.

It’s almost enough to make a fundamental investor believe the market hasn’t quite lost its head. There are several more weeks to earnings season to come, but if this week is any indication of what’s ahead, there are several trends emerging.

Internet companies are growing fast, just not fast enough. At Google, revenue excluding traffic acquisitions costs rose 23%. That’s a far cry from Facebook’s recent 63% growth but it’s still pretty impressive. According to RBC Capital, only two other large companies have maintained growth above 20% for 16 straight quarters: Amazon and Priceline. Being as big as Google and growing that fast is a tough act to keep up.

But for investors who have strongly associated Internet giants with growth, Google’s feat doesn’t impress much. The stock slid 4% Thursday after Google fell short of revenue and profit expectations. The growth simply wasn’t good enough to justify the stock’s lofty price. Even after its recent slump, Google shares are up 36% in the past year, pricing it at 29 times revenue.

Mobile is driving down ad prices, and it’s starting to be a problem. If there was one worrisome part of Google’s report, it was the decline in cost per clicks, the price charged for ads. CPC’s fell 9% at Google, a decline that has been accelerating for the past few quarters. In fact, Google’s CPC’s have been negative for a couple of years, around the time mobile ads began supplanting ads on the desktop Web.

Mobile is an opportunity and a problem for Google. It’s where the users are going, but it’s also, according to Google, a key reason why CPCs are in decline. Google may also be seeing lower CPCs from emerging markets and ads outside its own sites. The company plans to offer more detailed data on CPCs in coming quarters. Facebook has had better rates with its targeted ads in mobile feeds, but most other companies are struggling to see mobile ads pay.

The market is getting competitive for IT services. IBM’s stock dropped 3% after it said revenue fell 4% last quarter to $22.5 billion. For years, IBM was a stalwart leader in the market for managing IT services for other companies. But rivals like HP and Dell are getting aggressive on costs, and cloud computing is cutting IT costs in general, and it’s all taking its toll on IBM.

Revenue at IBM’s IT and outsourcing business fell 3%, its consulting division was flat and its server and storage business declined 23%. Software was a bright spot, rising 2%. IBM is still vowing to reach $20 in earnings per share next year, although some analysts noted earnings growth is coming from a lower tax rate and an aggressive buyback program.

Old school tech still has the ability to impress. Intel shares reached their highest level Thursday in nearly two years as it delivered earnings slightly above Wall Street estimates, but showed the company is making a slow but sure move into chips powering tablets and mobile devices. That makes for a 23% rebound in Intel’s stock since last September.

Bulls and bears have been arguing over whether Intel can make the transition without eating into costs, which have been weighing on margins in recent quarters. Intel’s manufacturing prowess may be able to lower costs in the long run, while also pushing into new markets like sensor chips for the Internet of Things. So while Intel is still struggling in its legacy market for PC chips, it fighting for footing in growing markets.

Growth in Asian giants is outpacing US peers. For all of Marissa Mayer’s attempts to turn around Yahoo’s core business, investors still scour its earnings announcements for information on another company: Alibaba. Yahoo’s earnings from equity interests in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan rose to $301 million last quarter from $218 million a year ago.

China-based Alibaba was by far the big contributor to Yahoo’s equity earnings. Alibaba’s operating income rose 66% in its most recently reported quarter. Yahoo’s operating profit, by contrast fell 84%. And yet Yahoo’s stock has risen 6% since reporting earnings. Wags have joked that investors like Yahoo as a hedge fund better than an Internet company, and numbers like that show the truth behind the humor.

Video Games

5 Reasons the Latest PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Sales Figures Don’t Mean What You Think They Do

Sony's PlayStation 4 (upper-left) and Microsoft's Xbox One (lower-right). Sony, Microsoft

It's not as simple as 7 million PS4 units minus 5 million Xbox One units equals a 2-million sales shortfall.

Two million. That’s the global gully, valley or chasm — you pick — dividing Sony’s PlayStation 4 from Microsoft’s Xbox One in unit sales as we round the bend from March to April. That’s a lot of units in the short term, or it’s a drop in the bucket thinking longer-term, where bestselling platforms like Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo’s Wii went on to push more than 100 million and 155 million units, respectively. [Update: Sony's 7 million units are sold-through, or to consumers, while Microsoft's 5 million are sold-in, or to retailers -- not a distinction of consequence to my points below.]

It’s vogue to say console sales don’t matter, but those who do are just telegraphing fatigue with the irrational (and unintelligible, and often downright cruel) conversations that erupt on message boards like so much digital effluvium. (Fandom is as fandom does.) But there’s a very sound, perfectly rational reason to care who’s luring hearts and wallets in the monthly numbers, especially if it’s by wide margins. And it’s this: they determine where the games go.

Wii U owners are struggling with this unfortunate reality as we speak (and will increasingly as we roll forward), unable to play multi-platform games like Battlefield 4, Madden NFL 25, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid V, Destiny, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Assassin’s Creed Unity. It’s not necessarily because the Wii U isn’t capable of running downscaled versions of some or all of those games, but because the sales base isn’t there (and doesn’t seem likely to get there soon) to justify spending time and money on ports.

But let’s focus on the PS4 and Xbox One, in view of the latest sales claims, and delve beneath the surface of reductive analyses like “7 million minus 5 million equals 2 million!” That’s an oversimplification, of course, for at least the following five reasons.

You can buy the PlayStation 4 in 72 “countries and regions.” You can buy the Xbox One in 13.

Everyone misses this, and it’s easy to see why, since you have to scour the fine print to find it. It’s not clear what the nature of Microsoft’s problem is, exactly — whether it’s manufacturing or regulatory or who knows — but the Xbox One was originally supposed to launch in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland alongside the 13 countries in this list back in November. Microsoft scrapped those plans at the last minute, and so to date, the Xbox One exists in just 13.

Not all “countries and regions” are equal when you’re talking about potential audience size, of course, and Microsoft’s going to have its biggest bases covered by the time fall 2014 rolls around, raising its total markets figure to 39. In other words, the gulf between 72 and 13 is huge, but 72 and 39 — because we’re talking most of the key remaining ingredients added in that 39 — not so much.

Still, the clock’s ticking. If you’re a game developer, you want to be, as lyricist Howard Ashman put it, “where the people are.” Microsoft’s challenge at this point is as much (or more) about ramping up Xbox One availability as it is landing crucial third-party exclusives or thinking about price drops.

$100 is $100 (even when it’s not $100).

Show me a significantly more expensive game platform that trounced its competition in the long run. Don’t say Sony’s PlayStation 3, because a few million ahead at the end of the marathon’s hardly trouncing. Don’t say the PC because it’s a wildly different animal, and as gaming platforms go, it’s certainly seen better days. Of course, the PS3 had to drop in price dramatically to catch back up to the Xbox 360, and it did, managing to catch and just barely inch past Microsoft’s console in global sales toward the end.

Nintendo’s Wii left everything in the dust during its prime sales years, I’d argue as much, if not chiefly, because of its lower price tag. Microsoft’s Xbox One is $100 more expensive than Sony’s PlayStation 4, and all the shell-game price discounts and bundles and temporary retailer price overrides in the world won’t change the “much more expensive” public perception until Microsoft makes an Xbox One price drop official (perhaps by offering a version without Kinect). Forget all the blather about which platform’s more technically capable (answer: both!), if the Xbox One had launched at $400, we’d be having a very different sales conversation right now.

The point being this: Price is a big deal, and it’s almost surely hurting the Xbox One, as we knew it would. But you could also argue Microsoft selling 5 million Xbox One units at that higher price point is as much an achievement as Sony selling 7 million PS4 units at its lower one.

It’s impossible (for us) to know whether production constraints are impacting these numbers.

All we have are vague claims from Sony and Microsoft and anecdotal evidence provided by retailers, but production constraints could be masking demand (and almost certainly are if we factor regional availability, as noted above).

Sony knows precisely how impacted it is. So does Microsoft. But all they’re sharing are unverifiable vagaries about production issues. And so we’re left to speculate. Maybe Sony’s PlayStation 4 would’ve sold thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions more. Maybe that’s just marketing spin. But the possibility alone means we should be wary of reading these numbers as reflective of actual consumer demand.

Both the PS4 and Xbox One are performing sales feats of derring-do.

Both the PS4 and Xbox One are selling at unprecedented levels. As NPD noted in its March 2014 sales rundown last night, if you add both systems together through their preliminary five months of availability, you’re talking twice the sales of the PS3 and Xbox 360 for the same period. What’s more, if you run the same figure for retail software sales, combined PS4 and Xbox One software is up some 60 percent. You’d be mad to read those kinds of generation-on-generation numbers as bad in any way for either company.

Titanfall wasn’t supposed to change March 2014′s sales figures, but it did anyway.

Anyone paying attention to point number one (as well as Sony’s and Microsoft’s prior global sales figures) knew Titanfall wasn’t going to eliminate the Xbox One’s sales deficit. Imagine Microsoft selling 2 million consoles over the course of 30 days — that’s just wishful thinking unless you’re the Wii and it’s 2007 (or 2008) again. Titanfall‘s a core online-only game for a very specific sort of player. That it took the number one software sales spot for March 2014 despite the PS4′s unit sales lead speaks volumes in an industry where hardware paves the roads and sets up the shipping lines, but where it’s software that ultimately carries the lion’s share of your profits.

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