Sony PlayStation Joins Video Game Industry Boycott, Stops Selling Hardware, Software in Russia

Sony Internactive Entertainment, corporate parent behind the PlayStation franchise, joined a growing boycott by video game companies to stop selling hardware and software in Russia due to President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

“Sony Interactive Entertainment is participating in the global community to call for peace in Ukraine,” the company said in statement. “We have stopped shipping software, hardware, launching Gran Turismo 7, and operating the PlayStation Store in Russia.”

The Gran Turismo franchise has generated more than $4 billion in sales since launching in 1997.

Sony Corporation said it has sent $2 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children, an international non-profit to help victims of the tragedy.

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Microsoft on March 4 stopped selling its branded Xbox Series X/S gaming consoles and related software in Russia, a move mirrored by other publishers. Sony joining Microsoft in halting business in Russia has been an objective for Ukraine officials since the hostilities began.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov last month called Microsoft, Sony and the e-sports market to cease operations in Russia.

“In 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers and missiles,” Fedorov wrote in a March 2 tweet.

IMDb TV Expands Distribution With App Bow on PlayStation 5

IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service, Dec. 14 announced that its app is now available on Sony PlayStation 5 consoles in the U.S.

IMDb TV features originals from Amazon Studios, including the recently launched second season of the spy series “Alex Rider,” and the upcoming second season premiere of the sports docuseries “Uninterrupted’s Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers,” premiering Dec. 17. The streaming service also features an extensive library of movies and television shows, including “Chicago Fire,” “All in the Family,” Die Hard and Angel Falls Christmas.

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The expanded distribution follows IMDb TV app launches this year on Roku, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, LG Smart TVs (2018-21 models), Comcast’s Xfinity Flex, Xfinity X1 and PlayStation 4 consoles, as well as Chromecast with Google TV, Nvidia Shield, and other Android TV devices. The app is also available on iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices in the U.S.

IMDb TV is also available as an app on Fire TV, Fire Tablets, and a free Channel within the Prime Video app across hundreds of devices.

NPD: Nintendo Switch Top-Selling Video Game Console in November

While the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X game systems make headlines for in-store shortages and supply issues, the Nintendo Switch has quietly dominated sales.

New data from The NPD Group found the Japanese-based Switch console was the best-selling device in November, with combined sales of Nintendo SwitchNintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch — OLED Model systems topping 1.13 million units.

For the holiday-shopping week of Thanksgiving, which includes Black Friday, Switch was also the top-selling console, with nearly 550,000 systems sold. Switch has now been the top-selling console for 35 out of the last 36 months, according to NPD.

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“As we head into 2022, and the sixth year of Nintendo Switch, the system continues to see strong demand,” Doug Bowser, president of Nintendo of America, said in a statement.

Last month on the fiscal call, Nintendo executives said the Switch was in the ‘middle phase’ of its lifecycle, which promptly ignited scuttlebutt about a possible Switch 2 device on the distant horizon. Nintendo has made no official comment about a second-edition Switch.

In July, Nintendo bowed the Switch OLED console featuring a brighter and more-colorful screen.

NPD: Record October Video Game Revenue Tops $4.39 Billion

Consumer demand for video game hardware, software and accessories continues unabated. The games market saw a 16% revenue uptick in October to a record $4.39 billion, from revenue of $3.78 billion in the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group. That’s the sixth-consecutive month of revenue increases across all market segments.

Through 10 months of the year, consumer spending exceeds $46.7 billion, up 12% from $41.7 billion during the same period last year.

Despite ongoing product shortages, game console sales skyrocketed 82% to $472 million, from $259 million last year. Accessories increased 5% to $158 million, from $150 million. Video game revenue increased 11% to $3.75  billion, from $3.38 billion. Mobile gaming revenue jumped 12% to more than $2 billion, from $1.78 billion last year.

Nintendo Switch regained the monthly hardware sales No. 1 ranking after months of Sony PlayStation 5 domination. Through 10 months, the PS5 leads in revenue while the Switch leads in unit sales. Nintendo recently announced it was considering a next-generation Switch, which was last launched in 2017.

Vudu Service Launches on PlayStation 5

Vudu, the transactional video-on-demand service owned by Fandango, is available on Sony Interactive Entertainment’s next-generation PlayStation 5 game console at launch Nov. 12, the company announced.

Vudu, which was already available on the PS4, offers more than 150,000 movies and TV shows, including thousands of titles in 4K.

“As longtime fans know, PlayStation consoles are not just for playing games; they’re one of the most widely-used media hubs and a popular way to stream entertainment content at home,” read a Fandango press release. “With Vudu on PS5, fans can watch more movies and TV shows from the comfort of their home with no subscription required.”

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“Vudu is focused on delivering fans the latest new-elease and premium event titles, as well as our comprehensive catalog of movies and TV shows, and we’re thrilled to offer all of that content on PS5 at launch,” says Kevin Shepela, EVP, chief commercial officer, Fandango. “It’s a great time for fans to find their favorites to stream on their consoles, as we head toward the holidays and our Thanksgiving week sales.”

New movies coming to Vudu this month include Come Away (Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo), The New Mutants (Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy), The Personal History of David Copperfield (Dev Patel), Dreamland (Margot Robbie), along with thousands of films and TV shows on sale during Thanksgiving week and that are not yet available on subscription services.

Sony Denies PlayStation 5 Production Issues

On the day it is scheduled to reveal pricing and related details on the new PlayStation 5 video game console, Sony Interactive Entertainment is pushing back against media reports suggesting the company scaled back production numbers due to software chip issues.

“While we do not release details related to manufacturing, the information provided by Bloomberg is false,” Sony said in a statement to Gameindustry.biz. “We have not changed the production number for PlayStation 5 since the start of mass production.”

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Bloomberg, citing sources, had reported that due to a 50% drop in system-on-chip production, Sony had dropped PS5 unit production at launch to 11 million from 15 million. Analysts say that even with the unit decline, the PS5 would feature the most product available at launch for any PS gaming system.

New Microsoft Xbox Pricing Revealed; Nov. 10 Launch Date Set

With all eyes in the video game industry awaiting next-generation console launches from Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation this fall, Microsoft has disclosed pricing for the Xbox Series S console at $299 — the smallest-sized Xbox unit ever.

“Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise.” Microsoft wrote on the Xbox Twitter page.

Industry tip sheet Windows Central claims the larger-sized Xbox Series X will launch Nov. 10 and carry a $499 price tag with monthly (“Xbox All Access”) financing options of $25 and $35, respectively, for the Series S and X models. In a first, Microsoft is launching two next-gen consoles targeting separate ends of the market. The Series X console will accommodate discs through an internal 4K Blu-ray Disc drive.

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The Series S and X models will also play existing Xbox One S and X model games, with the latter’s headset adaptable as well on the Series S and X units.

Separately, Sony Interactive Entertainment on the PlayStation blog disclosed pending updates for the PS ecosystem, including a VR-based PS Store promotion — but no pricing or release dates. Online scuttlebutt had suggested Sony would announce PS5 details on Sept. 9 — the 25th anniversary of the PlayStation launch in the United States. A company representative said otherwise.

“To manage expectations, there’ll be no PS5-related news,” Gillen McAllister, senior specialist, content communications with Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement.