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Nintendo Switch reaches 50 million consoles sold faster than PlayStation 4 – VentureBeat

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The Nintendo Switch is one of the fastest-selling consoles ever. As part of the results for its fiscal Q3, the company announced today that it has sold 52.48 million Switch systems as of December 31. That puts its worldwide pace ahead of the PlayStation 4.

PS4 recently surpassed 106 million systems sold since its November 2013 debut. But Switch launched in March 2017. And when you line both consoles up side by side, Nintendo’s hybrid console was faster to reach 50 million systems sold. Switch broke through that threshold with 52.48 million units sold through almost 34 months. PlayStation 4, meanwhile, hit 50 million consoles sold on December 6, 2016. And that’s not quite 37 months after its November 2013 debut. It’s worth noting that Microsoft doesn’t share Xbox hardware numbers, but estimates put it at around 50 million after 74 months.

For reference, PlayStation 2 reached 50 million systems sold worldwide in 34 months. The Nintendo DS hit the same milestone also in 34 months.

Of course, not everything is equal in a comparison between PlayStation 4 and Switch. PS4 was $400 before getting a $300 Slim version and $400 PS4 Pro in late 2016. Switch, however, launched at $300 before getting a $200 Lite version in late 2019. So, on average, the Switch is probably more affordable to more people.

The brisk sales for both PS4 and Switch show that global audience for console gaming is still excited to spend money on gaming hardware. That should benefit all companies as Sony, Microsoft, and possibly Nintendo launch new hardware or revisions this holiday.

But while PS4 and Switch are both proving that new consoles can sell quickly, don’t expect either to finish their lives as the best-selling Sony or Nintendo systems.

Nintendo Switch and PS4 won’t outsell Nintendo DS or PlayStation 2

When you line up the releases of Switch, PS4, Nintendo DS, and PS2, they all follow a pretty similar trajectory through their first three years. They all surpass 50 million consoles sold in that time. So it’s easy to assume that all of their trajectories will continue to mirror one another.

But that’s not the reality.

The PlayStation 2 went on to sell 158 million units. Nintendo DS finished at 154 million. PS4 and Switch, however, are unlikely to get close to those numbers.

More than ever, the console gaming market is a space for enthusiasts. What I mean by this is a lot of people like to spend a lot of money on video games. And PS4 and Switch are succeeding by appealing to that specific audience. For evidence of that, look to Nintendo’s software sales. The company said that Nintendo Switch owners purchased 118 million pieces of software for the device during its last three quarters. That’s a huge number. It’s also an indicator that the people who buy Nintendo Switch also buy a lot of games. A similar audience showed up to buy PlayStation 4 when it launched.

But the reason these current-gen systems won’t outsell their last-gen counterparts is that fewer people are waiting on the sideline for a price drop.

During the era of the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo DS, gaming devices were often purchases that people made late in the generation. The PS2 eventually dropped to $99 in 2009. At that price, a family could jump in and have a huge selection of low-priced, used games. Especially because many people in the enthusiast crowd moved on to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or Wii.

But these days, families aren’t sitting around waiting for price drops on consoles. They aren’t waiting for consoles at all. Instead, they buy iPads and Amazon Fire Tablets. Not only are these devices multifunctional, they also have thousands of free-to-play games. You can even play Fortnite and Call of Duty on them now.

So PS4 won’t have the long tail of PS2. The PS4 audience is likely going to move on quickly to PS5. Switch also likely won’t reach 150 million unless Nintendo plans to keep it around for 10 years with more and more powerful revisions.

Regardless, Nintendo and Sony are likely just fine with its current audience as long as they continue spending a lot on games.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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