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Nintendo is still wii-ing over rivals

Computer game revenues in the US last year were eight per cent lower than in 2008, according to a market research company.

Retail sales of portable and console hardware, software and accessories managed to only scrape a measly $19.66 billion (£12bn) in 2009, compared to the $21.4 billion generated the year before.

The Nintendo Wii and DS were the big winners, moving 3.8 million and 3.3 million units, respectively. The DS made up for 17 per cent of total portable hardware sold in 2009.

However things began to look up for the retailers towards the close of the year. In December, the video game industry experienced its biggest sales month ever, beating December 2008 by four per cent.  The top three game titles for December all belonged to Nintendo, and each sold more than 1.5 million copies.

For the year, the only category to see an increase over 2008 was portable hardware, which was mainly up due to a seven per cent increase in average retail price. Most prices were lowered in the year which, researchers NPD say, explain the low revenues.

“Unit sales were down only six percent from last year. Average retail prices were down in all categories except for portable hardware and accessories, which led to the greater dollar sales decline,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

“January and February were both up, and since the decline that began in March, only September experienced growth,” she said. “The big sales this month, particularly on the hardware front, are a positive move for the industry headed into what will hopefully be a recovery year in 2010.”

 “Clearly, 2009 was a tough year for consumers and the national economy. However, the bigger picture is one that underscores the industry’s strength; 2009 and 2008 were the highest grossing years in our industry’s history,” said president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, Michael Gallagher.

PC game software revenues were hit hardest with a 23 per cent drop, generating only $538 million (£329m) all year.

This article appeared on TechEye.net on Jan 18th 2010

Nokia has already outlined its proposals towards the advanced user interfaces (UIs) of Symbian^4 handsets, before the Symbian^3 models have even released.

Simplification is Nokia’s keyword for the Symbian^4 proposals. It promises cutting-edge features and capabilities involving autosave with less user prompts. The proposed UI also claims to have a slicker feel with simplified applications with a more uniform look and a new interface layout, with just contacts, music, photos and applications available.

Nokia has submitted its UI proposal to the Symbian Foundation, and will now undergo open evaluation. However initial thoughts from the Symbian Community Forum critisied the proposals for being too mundane. One poster called Micky commented: “I think we need more WOW factor, and be distinguished from the competition.”

Another commenter, Petteri said: “I understand that these are v0.1 drafts but we should not forget that this change is crucial to the platform success so aiming higher should be encouraged.”

With the Symbian^3, the first open source release due in a couple of weeks, Nokia is hoping to regain ground on the Iphone and Android models that are top of the sector. However the new OS can be used on iPhones, Crackberries and Androids as well.

The Symbian Developer website reckons smartphones with Symbian^4 OS will hit the shelves by 2011.

kia has already outlined its proposals towards the advanced user interfaces (UIs) of Symbian^4 handsets, before the Symbian^3 models have even released.

Simplification is Nokia’s keyword for the Symbian^4 proposals. It promises cutting-edge features and capabilities involving autosave with less user prompts. The proposed UI also claims to have a slicker feel with simplified applications with a more uniform look and a new interface layout, with just contacts, music, photos and applications available.

Nokia has submitted its UI proposal to the Symbian Foundation, and will now undergo open evaluation. However initial thoughts from the Symbian Community Forum critisied the proposals for being too mundane. One poster called Micky commented: “I think we need more WOW factor, and be distinguished from the competition.”

Another commenter, Petteri said: “I understand that these are v0.1 drafts but we should not forget that this change is crucial to the platform success so aiming higher should be encouraged.”

With the Symbian^3, the first open source release due in a couple of weeks, Nokia is hoping to regain ground on the Iphone and Android models that are top of the sector. However the new OS can be used on iPhones, Crackberries and Androids as well.

The Symbian Developer website reckons smartphones with Symbian^4 OS will hit the shelves by 2011.

This article appeared on TechEye.net on Jan 18th 2010

Tuesday poll

Please put all other answers in the comments section.

Funny websites

So in the interests of *ehem* research I asked the good people of Twitter what their favourite funny websites were. This is one of the great things about Twitter, you can ask questions and discover new things in what might be classed as an ‘organic’ way (like asking lots of people at a party rather than cold calling).

Anyway here are the ones that came back and they’re good. They’re very good.

http://www.framleyexaminer.com/
Terrifying insight into a rural paper in a small village.
From www.twitter.com/Nick_At_Velti

http://sexyexecs.blogspot.com/
Meet the silver-foxes and their lovely lady friends who rule our corporate world.
From www.twitter.com/mychemtoilet

http://theweekly.co.uk/
Charged with ‘maintaining Britain’s standards’
From www.twitter.com/liquidindian

http://mymilktoof.blogspot.com/
So cutesy it’ll give you toothache (fnarr fnarr)
From www.twitter.com/alexsheppard

http://graphjam.com/
‘Music and pop culture for people who love graphs’
From www.twitter.com/robboella

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/
The Escapist aims to capture and celebrate the contemporary video gaming lifestyle and the diverse global video game culture. Yes really. But apparently the Zero Punctuation videos are very very good.
From www.twitter.com/wonky_donkey

UPDATE: But wait there’s more…

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/
Name says it all really…
From www.twitter.com/nkleiner

http://www.iccm-1.org/
Literally amazing, who knew that religion could be, well, so flashy.
From www.twitter.com/rupinjapan

http://www.gothsinhotweather.com/
A celebration of goths in the sunshine. Pictures are judged of gothiness and sweatiness. Nice.
From www.twitter.com/laura_scott

http://www.latfh.com/
‘Look at this f*cking hipster’, like looking at the Vice site, without the aspiration.
From www.twitter.com/rich_kirk

http://alienlovespredator.com
Cartoon strip where we all get to witness the greatest love story never told.
From www.twitter.com/rich_kirk

http://watchwithmothers.net/
TV commentary site with wicked wit.
From www.twitter.com/rich_kirk

This morning, in front of everyone, the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Tom Watson MP engaged in a bit of pushy-shovey (albeit virtually).

That conversation in full:

arusbridger: Daily Mail obssessed with idea of Guardian “putsch” (in collusion with BBC?). A question of media ethics, apparently. http://tiny.cc/7Wp3M

tom_watson: @arusbridger The Daily Mail are not the only people concerned. Many colleagues think you should report the news not make it.

arusbridger: @tom_watson er, so newspapers should stop writing editorials? Hmmm

tom_watson: @arusbridger Of course not but you have a unique status on the centre left. Why irritate your loyalists without allowing all sides a say?

arusbridger: @tom_watson so you didnt read Freedland or Milne or Bunting or McDonnell or Blunkett – all saying (in the Guardian) Brown should stay?

tom_watson: @arusbridger The only thing you haven’t done is publish his obituary. Be under no illusion that Labour readers think you have gone OTT.

arusbridger: @tom_watson love the thought of “labour readers” – as if they all think the same!

tom_watson: @arusbridger I know all of them in West Bromwich and they agree with me ;-) Love what you’ve done to paper but last week was too much.

arusbridger: @tom_watson Come into Guardian conference and debate it! :-)

tom_watson: @arusbridger *gulps* Head into lion’s mouth. I gladly accept. Thank you.

After Watson accepted the invitation to the Guardian morning conference, which is a meeting of Guardian editors and journalists to discuss news  for the day, there has been increasing call for a live feed from the meeting. This has not yet been confirmed by the Guardian, but, thinking of the publicity, I can’t see that they won’t at least tweet it.

So Michael Martin is the first speaker of the House of Commons to be forced out of office in 300 years. Should the Queen be worried about her ability to wear hats (well we beheaded the last one just after we got rid of the Speaker…)? Or now that he has stepped down will the focus be brought back to the MPs who shamelessly embezzled public money for their own ends?

But in the meantime we need a speaker and most people are wondering who will replace him. Now it is a truth universally acknowledged that we the public can only be interested in panel shows that involve raw emotion, unlikable, cartoonish characters and public humiliation. Followed by a public vote. Why, it’s the very essence of democracy, Solon, Cleisthenes and all those other toga wearers would be proud.

So I have created Britain’s Next Speaker, to be aired on BBC Four (because it’s classy). It’s Britain’s hunt to find the next HoC Speaker.

But who to be on the judging panel? You need just the right blend of smarm, familiar face, scathing put down, the one who no one is sure what their relevance is (even to reality itself, let alone reality TV), and  one who’s likely to cry at everything… It’s very tricky.

So I put it to Twitter, and below in a poll; find me judges and tell me who you want (after all as I just mentioned democracy is at the very heart of this exercise). And the results are in:

  • Phil Collins (Former speech writer to Tony Blair)          21%
  • Simon Cowell          13%
  • Armando Iannucci          13%
  • Thatcher          4%
  • Alistair Campbell          4%
  • Alan Duncan          4%

But the most popular category was:

  • Other         45% 

Including nominations for:

  • Alexandra Pullin (thanks)
  • Lily Allen
  • Clarkson
  • Rick Parfitt
  • David Mitchell
  • Kent Ertugrul
  • Daniel Hannan MEP
  • Tina Fey
  • Rick Astley
  • Noel Edmonds

So thanks for all your votes, I’ll let you know when BBC Four comes calling.

In the spirit of Hannah Betts’ excellent ‘Things you only know if you’re single’ column in The Times I intend to have a series of posts on things you only know if you work from home.

This will accommodate both the people who always work from home and those who usually work in an office. Obviously there is an important difference. Home workers and office workers view things from different angles but it gives me more to talk about and it’s also more interesting to see both sides.

If you would like to nominate an aspect of working from home or if you don’t work from home and would like to sound off on people who do, either email me or leave a comment below. All good ideas I will write about as well as a few of my own thoughts on a weekly basis. Every Tuesday.

I look forward to hearing your views.

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