PS5 Is Selling Fewer Games But Making More Money With $70 Price Tag
So far the experiment in jacking up the price of essentially all major games to $70 appears to be…working. While we can’t really look at Microsoft data thanks to so many things appearing on Game Pass (though it too has started to increase prices to $70), thanks to new Sony data we can see two things:
TweakTown has a really interesting deep dive into this phenomenon where they go through all the available data we have from recent earnings reveals. A main point is that while Sony had record $6.367 billion in revenue for software, overall game unit sales year over year dropped dramatically by 39 million, down to 264.2 million.
I’ve seen some people try to spin this as a negative, but I’m not sure how you can. The entire point of the price increase was ultimately to make more money, and that seems to have worked. I’m not sure decreased unit sales matter all that much when revenue is setting records regardless. This will no doubt displease players who have not especially appreciated the price increase, but it doesn’t really matter, once it happened, there was no going back.
I’ve previously argued that the price increase may be hurting individual games, even if as a whole, software sales are going up. A game like Forspoken, perhaps, seems like that in addition to middling reviews, the demand for $70 probably turned a good amount of players of who may have otherwise given it a chance. I’ve seen quite a few other games released recently that give me pause to say “that’s $70?” even if for a game like God of War Ragnarok you’re going to pay whatever it costs regardless and not really bat an eye. So that’s probably where Sony is making up the difference.
There are third party examples of this. Modern Warfare 2’s $1 billion in sales in 10 days did not actually move the total unit sales much during its launch period on PlayStation. Overall, in both first and third party categories, Sony is selling tens of millions fewer games. But making the same or more amount of money.
$70 games are here to stay. After an initial period of pushback, close to everyone is beginning to adopt the price, and they will take the hit on unit sales if it means more revenue overall. That much is clear.
ChatGPT comes to iPad, adds support for Siri and Shortcuts
Less than a month after its release on the App Store, OpenAI’s ChatGPT app is getting its first big update. The new version, out today, brings native iPad support to the AI chatbot app, as well as support for using ChatGPT with Siri and Shortcuts. Drag and drop is also now available, allowing users to drag individual messages from ChatGPT into other apps.
The latter could be useful in iPad’s split-screen mode, for instance, as you could ask ChatGPT for answers in one window and then drag its replies to another.
On iPad, ChatGPT now runs in full-screen mode, optimized for the tablet’s interface. This change, along with drag-and-drop, will likely make it preferable to using the web browser version of the chatbot, which is what many iPad users were still doing ahead of today’s release. The update could also drive incremental new downloads of the ChatGPT app, which had popped to the top of the App Store right out of the gate with half a million installs in less than a week from its debut.
It has since rolled out to other markets outside the U.S., including Albania, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, South Korea and the U.K., and promised an Android version would arrive soon.
Another new feature of interest with today’s release is ChatGPT’s support for Siri and Shortcuts. While that doesn’t mean you can fully swap out Siri for the OpenAI chatbot as your iOS device’s voice interface, it does mean you can create custom ChatGPT Shortcuts that work with Siri. For instance, you could turn your favorite prompts into Shortcuts and then have those perform an additional step after the query is completed, like saving the response to a different app. You can also now ask Siri to open ChatGPT using voice commands.
Like its iPhone counterpart, iPad users can also opt to upgrade to ChatGPT’s paid subscription, ChatGPT Plus, which starts at $20 per month, providing elevated access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements.
The ChatGPT mobile app has proven to have staying power in the App Store in the weeks since its launch. In the U.S., the app is still the No. 4 app on the App Store’s Top Free charts, for example, and has a 4.8-star rating across 421,000 ratings and reviews — a figure that’s hard to achieve for any app. Estimates from third-party app intelligence provider data.ai indicate the app has now seen 7.3 million worldwide installs on iOS, and hasn’t left the top five in the U.S. since its debut. The app is also now No. 1 overall in 31 countries worldwide.
Apple this week updated its App Store rules with a seeming eye on ChatGPT clones, noting that submitting apps that impersonate others is a violation of the Developer Code of Conduct and may result in removal from the Apple Developer Program. The App Store had been overrun with ChatGPT pretenders ahead of the arrival of the official version.
Mark Zuckerberg shares his thoughts on the Apple’s Vision Pro
Meta is Apple’s chief competitor in the VR market, and it launched its premier offering, the Quest 3 just a few days before Apple dropped the Vision Pro.
So it’s interesting to hear what Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks of Apple’s inaugural VR headset.
During a meeting with Meta employees, Zuckerberg addressed Vision Pro in detail. He said that Apple didn’t find “magical solutions” to the constraints of physics that Meta’s teams haven’t already explored.
He notes Apple’s use of higher-resolution displays but adds that it requires more energy to power, a battery and a wire attached to use it, and the fact that it costs seven times more than the Quest 3.
Perhaps most importantly, Zuckerberg talks about the “difference in the values and the vision” between Meta and Apple when it comes to their headsets. He adds that Meta’s vision is “fundamentally social” and that “it’s about people interacting in new ways and feeling closer in new ways”. He continues that Apple’s approach, by contrast, showed “a person sitting on a couch by themself”. He finished off by saying that Apple’s Vision Pro could be “the vision of the future of computing”, “but like, it’s not the one I want”.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is on 2 discs for PS5, just like FF7 Remake
Even for fans of Final Fantasy, the news that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth would ship on two discs was eye-catching. Like, dang, are we actually still doing this?
Well, yes, even if the PlayStation 5 now uses 100 GB Blu-ray discs, compared to the PlayStation 4’s 50 GB discs. It likely means one is a data installation disc and the second is the play disc, meaning it’s the one that is always in the drive when the game is being played. That’s how plus-sized games on the PS4 rolled.
We assume it’s the same because this will seemingly be the first PS5 game on two discs. (It doesn’t appear that Xbox Series X has had any multi-disc games, if you were wondering.) They used to be quite common, but with media capacity ever increasing — and most players shifting to online purchases and downloads of games — they’re now rare enough to remark on.
In fact, Square Enix seemed almost proud that the multi-disc tradition would carry on with Rebirth (calling that out in the final title card). Final Fantasy 7 Remake was two discs when it launched on PlayStation 4 in 2020, and of course the original Final Fantasy 7 was a three-discer back in 1997.
This doesn’t necessarily portend a completely ridiculous download size for those no longer interested in collecting game cases. Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade was 81 GB when that launched in 2021. That’s about half of Cyberpunk 2077, and it’s regularly dwarfed by annual sports titles (to say nothing of Call of Duty’s indulgent sizes). But it does mean that PlayStation 5 fans with unexpanded storage will have to budget their space wisely once Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth arrives in early 2024.
We reached out to Square Enix representatives to see if we could get more of a sense of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s size, and why two discs are still the norm.
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