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Assassin's Creed series tops 73 million in sales


Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series reached a total of 73 million in sales according to the publisher's corporate website, which lists its "worldwide best-selling franchises." Assassin's Creed, which has featured six releases in the main series since its 2007 debut and eight additional games on browser and portable platforms, leads Ubisoft's second-best-selling property Just Dance (48 million) by 25 million units.

Assassin's Creed will likely continue to sell by the millions given that the next game, Assassin's Creed: Unity, will arrive on PS4, Xbox One and PC this holiday season. Unity was just announced in March and takes place in Paris during the French Revolution of the 18th century, a setting that was vaguely foretold at the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

The next three series in the publisher's top five in sales bear the late Tom Clancy's name: Splinter Cell (30 million), Rainbow Six (26 million) and Ghost Recon (25 million). Head past the break to see the rest of Ubisoft's sales list.

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Nintendo turned down Skylanders exclusivity deal

Nintendo reportedly turned down a deal that would have launched Activision's highly successful toys-come-to-life series Skylanders exclusively for the Wii. A report from Polygon on the Toys for Bob franchise notes that, despite Activision's confidence in the product, it was looking for a partner to spread the risks of the venture.

"[Nintendo] spent a long time looking and looking," Toys for Bob co-founder Paul Reiche said. "They were just like 'we have never seen anything like this before.' I've always wondered about the full meaning of that comment [laughs]." Nintendo opted out of making a full commitment to the project, though the two companies did enter a co-marketing agreement for the series. "Clearly, they have got properties well suited to this world," Reiche added. "Why it is that they didn't rush in here will probably haunt them for the rest of their days."

Activision's Skylander series has since surpassed $2 billion in sales worldwide. The franchise has found its way to ten different platforms, including the recently launched Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Though Nintendo would later experiment with a similar game in the disappointing Pokemon Rumble, it would be Disney that would eventually invest in the genre with its Disney Infinity series, leveraging the company's multitude of popular characters.

"Nintendo could have kicked Disney's ass," Reiche said. "If I was running Nintendo I would have jumped on this."
[Image: Activision]

GameSpy online matchmaking service goes dark on May 31

GameSpy Technologies is shuttering its online matchmaking service on May 31, ending online play for more than 1,000 games that use the company's middleware.

Launched as a Quake server search program in 1996, GameSpy soon branched out to host online play for hundreds of console and PC games. Many recent games with active online communities still employ GameSpy technology, including multiple titles published by Activision, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo. Affected games will need to migrate online play to SteamWorks or other services prior to the shutdown in order to maintain multiplayer functionality.

The service shutdown comes in the wake of GameSpy ceasing editorial content in 2013. Mobile games publisher Glu Mobile purchased GameSpy Technologies in 2012, later shutting down online play for several popular games without notice when developers failed to pay hosting bills.

[Image: GameSpy]

Phoenix Wright creator objected to sequels after Ace Attorney 3

Shu Takumi is not one to pump out game after game in a series just because it's popular. After finishing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials & Tribulations, or Gyakuten Saiban 3 for purists, Takumi firmly told Capcom, "Hold it!"

"I felt that Phoenix's story had been told, and that the series should not continue", Takumi told Official Nintendo Magazine in a recent interview. "Knowing when to end a story is very important and I wanted to avoid dragging it out and having it become a shadow of its former self."

Trials and Tribulations provided a nice cap on the story of Phoenix Wright, a young lawyer with a penchant for bluffing his way into proving clients' innocence, that started on the Game Boy Advance in 2001. That's why when Capcom decided it would push the series forward with or without Takumi, the designer came up with a new ace attorney.

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February NPD: PS4 sells more, Xbox One leads in dollar amount

xbox one
The PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US during February, with the Xbox One selling 90 percent of what the PS4 did, consumer research group NPD reports. The Xbox One costs $100 more than the PS4, meaning it led sales by dollar amount in February.

The Xbox One sold 258,000 units in February, surpassing comparable Xbox 360 launch sales by 61 percent, Microsoft says. Xbox 360 sold 114,000 units in its 100th month on the market, "more than any other seventh generation console." Xbox One owners buy an average of 2.75 games per console, with a total of 772,000 sold in February. Xbox 360, meanwhile, sold 2.46 million games.

Sales of video game hardware in the US were $347 million in February, up 42 percent compared with the same month in 2013. Software sales dropped 9 percent to $318 million, while accessories were up 3 percent, to $221 million.

Next-gen software sales in the consoles' first four months are up 80 percent compared with the combined sales of Xbox 360 and PS3 software in the same time period. The 9 percent decline in overall software sales is attributed to weakening sales for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, which is expected, according to NPD. Call of Duty: Ghosts led software sales in February, followed by The Lego Movie Videogame, NBA 2K14, Thief and Grand Theft Auto 5. See the full list after the break.

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Four in February: Readers triumph over the Joystiq crew

Put down your buzzers, turn off your engines, sheathe your swords: Four in February has come to a close. The great 4iF challenge brought the Joystiq crew to their knees over the past four weeks. Joystiq Community members, on the other hand, rose to the occasion. Our heroes over on the 4iF Facebook page played through literally hundreds of games, and while not all of them went the distance, they played well.

While a few members of the staff managed to dig into their lists, finishing off entries here and there, not one of us managed to complete all four selections. Richard Mitchell, Joystiq Reviews Content Director, toppled two big ones including Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Risk of Rain on the maddening Monsoon difficulty. Danny Cowan completed Virtual Hydlide on Sega Saturn while 4iF founder Mike Suszek conquered Tearaway and Toukiden: Age of Demons (though Toukiden wasn't on his original list.) Xav de Matos, Jess Conditt, Anthony John Agnello, and others? Couldn't beat nary a one.

That's okay, though! In fact, failure is just another form of success in Four in February. The point isn't to beat all four, but to encourage diversity in your game playing palette. We all love video games. That's why we're here. Four in February is an event that reminds us of the vast creative richness waiting in the folds of gaming. It's easy to get caught up in the rush of all that's new. 4iF is a conscious effort to slow down and take in our surroundings, to explore what's out there we may have missed. Just playing the game means you've won, even if you didn't see four sets of credits roll.

Still, special honors go to these players. They came, they saw, they kicked four games in the butt. Then "Like" our Facebook page to get in on the next community event, when you can trounce us all over again.

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Nintendo pulling plug for online play on DS, Wii in May

The Nintendo Wi-Fi connection for Wii and DS ends on May 20, bringing an end to online play for the two systems. What that means is there are a few months left to play Wii and DS games online, be that through multiplayer, sharing in-game content, or leaderboards.

Nintendo notes this is just for the DS and Wii and won't affect Wii U and 3DS games, although Wii Mode won't offer online play on Wii U and similarly DS games when played on the 3DS.

The two systems aren't losing all online functionality. The DSi shop and Wii U Shop Channel are staying open, and users will still be able to access the DS Browser and Wii channels like Neflix, Hulu, and YouTube. The company also published a full list of the affected games.

Nintendo didn't provide an explanation for the discontinued service in its announcement - nor did it ask the last ones out on DS and Wii to remember to turn out the lights - but it did thank its fans for their continued support and enthusiasm for its "legacy systems."
[Image: Nintendo]

Now Playing: February 24 - March 2, 2014


Hide your valuables, Thief is on the loose this week ...

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[Image: Square Enix]

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Nintendo prevails in latest 3DS patent scuffle

The International Trade Commission has found in favor of Nintendo in a case involving three companies claiming the gaming giant infringed on their patents with the creation of the Nintendo DS and 3DS handhelds.

In 2012, Technology Properties Limited LLC, Phoenix Digital Solutions LLC and Patriot Scientific Corporation - three companies specializing in patent licensing - filed suit against Nintendo, claiming that the company had infringed on a high-efficiency processor patent in the creation of its most recent handhelds. After nearly two years in court, Nintendo has emerged victorious.

"We are very pleased with the commission's determination, which confirmed the judge's finding that Nintendo's products do not infringe the asserted patent," said Nintendo of America vice president Richard Medway in a statement trumpeting the company's victory. "Nintendo's track record demonstrates that we vigorously defend patent lawsuits, including cases in the ITC, when we believe we have not infringed another party's patent. Nintendo continues to develop unique and innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others."

That track record Medway mentions does indeed demonstrate that Nintendo is an ardent defender of its intellectual property rights, though the company's history in the courtroom is far from spotless. Less than a year ago, Nintendo was ordered to pay $30.2 million for infringing on a 3D display patent held by Seijiro Tomita.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Now Playing: February 17-23, 2014


Use lightning-fast moves to mow down enemies this week with Strider...

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[Image: Capcom]

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Now Playing: February 10-16, 2014


Find out the beginning of Ellie's story this week with The Last of Us - Left Behind...

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Skylanders series sells $2 billion worldwide

Activision announced today as part of its quarterly financial report that the Skylanders series has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide across all available platforms, as of December 31 last year.

To date, Activision has sold approximately 175 million Skylanders toys, which players can collect and summon in-game as playable characters. The latest series entry, Skylanders Swap Force, debuted in October.

Activision revealed in August last year that the Skylanders series passed $1.5 billion in retail sales since the franchise's launch in 2011. Over 100 million toys were sold by the end of 2012.
[Image: Activision]

New Nintendo eShop releases: Bravely Default, Retro City Rampage DX


New games! Yes, it would be nice to have a few more exciting eShop-only types, but at least we can start sending that tumbleweed on its way.

Bravely Default headlines the also-at-retail games, and we'd recommend checking it out. In our four star review, we lauded the 3DS JRPG for mixing Final Fantasy sensibilities with modern design. Whether a new promo trailer really conveys that ... well, it doesn't, but it made us chuckle so we're throwing it in here.

On the downloadable-only front, felonious indie Retro City Rampage comes to 3DS with lots of major tweaks, and it's another we had plenty nice to say about. Also, bike-former/plat-biker Urban Trial Freestyle is down to $3.50, starting later today and ending February 20. Oh, and don't forget the Super Indie Connection sale runs until February 13.

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Nintendo buys $1.1 billion of its own shares, Yamauchi family contributes

Nintendo has bought back 9.5 million shares of its own stock, valued at 114.2 billion yen ($1.1 billion), in its first step to stabilize the company's changing financial situation. The family of Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo's late (and great) CEO, sold back a portion of its shares during this buyback, according to the acquisition document. We got wind of the Yamauchi family's involvement yesterday.

Nintendo's year-on net profit fell by 30 percent in the final nine months of 2013, pulled down mainly by poor Wii U sales, the company reported. Net profit during this time was 10.2 billion yen ($99 million). Nintendo expects to post a net loss of 25 billion yen ($242 million) for its fiscal year ending in March.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and his board members are taking temporary pay cuts, French news outlet AFP reported. Iwata will take half of his salary for five months, and board members will see cuts of 20 percent to 30 percent. Iwata took a similar pay cut in 2011, that time to offset poor 3DS sales.
[Image: Nintendo]

Now Playing: February 3-9, 2014


Get in touch with your inner wolf this week with The Wolf Among Us - Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors...

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2DS sells 2.1 million, Animal Crossing: New Leaf gets 7.38 million

The Nintendo 2DS has made it into the tiny hands of 2.1 million customers worldwide since its launch on October 12, according to Nintendo's financial highlights (PDF link). The 3DS, which launched in February 2011, has shipped 42.7 million units, while the DS family has shipped 154 million units in total.

Nintendo has sold 7.38 million copies of Animal Crossing: New Leaf worldwide since its initial Japan release in November 2012. New Leaf launched in North America, Europe and Australia in June 2013: From April 2013 to December 2013, the game sold 2.79 million units outside of Japan, and 730,000 copies in the country.

Nintendo posted a year-over-year net profit decline of 30 percent in the nine months leading to December 2013, with numbers dragged down by weaker-than-expected Wii U sales and console price cuts. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and board members are taking smaller salaries for a temporary period, French news outlet AFP reported.

Now Playing: January 27 - February 2, 2014


Let the kill streaks pile up this week in Call of Duty: Ghosts - Onslaught...

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Now Playing: January 20-26, 2014


Join the Special Ops against the undead this week in Dead Rising 3 - Operation Broken Eagle...

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Now Playing: January 13-19, 2013


Cut your way through the Louisiana bayou this week with the fully remastered Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD...

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Now Playing: January 6-12, 2014


Welcome to the New Year, now Don't Starve on the PlayStation 4...

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