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Friday, May 16, 2008

Myanmar Raises Cyclone Toll to 78,000 - New York Times

BANGKOK — Myanmar’s government almost doubled the official death toll on Friday to 78,000, two weeks after a huge cyclone ravaged much of the Irrawaddy Delta and the main city, Yangon. It also nearly doubled the number of missing to 55,917, and raised the number of injured steeply to 19,359, up from 1,403.

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Survivors of the cyclone Nargis in Thetkala on the outskirts of Yangon on Friday.

The revised toll began to approach an estimate by the United Nations of more than 100,000 dead. On Wednesday the Red Cross said the death toll could be as high as 128,000.

The United Nations estimates that 1.6 million to 2.5 million survivors are in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medicine.

The official death toll has been rising steadily. On Monday, it was 28,458; on Tuesday, 31,938; on Wednesday, 38,491; and on Thursday, 43,318. State radio gave no reason for the sudden spike in the number on Friday.

Relief officials believe that the toll is much higher than the government acknowledges, but they also say their own figures can be only rough estimates, given the scattering of bodies by towering waves, the chaos as people have sought food and shelter and the exclusion of most foreigners from the hardest hit areas. In addition, there is no recent census to rely on for a starting population point.

Major relief agencies have been frustrated by the government’s refusal to let them put in place a large-scale relief operation or to send in their own disaster recovery experts.

The junta’s closed door to most outside help contrasts with China’s acceptance of relief teams from Russia, Taiwan and Japan after the enormous earthquake in Sichuan Province on Monday.

A modest amount of aid from a number of nations and relief groups is reaching Myanmar, but aid workers say it is only a small portion of what is needed to address a major disaster. They say that if emergency supplies do not reach survivors soon, many more could die through starvation and epidemic.

The cyclone, which struck early on May 3, devastated much of the fertile Irrawaddy River delta and ravaged parts of the country’s main city, Yangon. The government said deaths in the city were far lower than in the low-lying countryside where most homes were of thatch and bamboo.

The country’s military junta insists that it can handle relief operations on its own. Its propaganda mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar, has printed pages of reports and photographs each day showing military officers busy handing out supplies and comforting victims.

Myanmar Raises Cyclone Toll to 78,000 - New York Times
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EA records $454 million loss, despite sales of $3.6 billion in fiscal 2008 - savage loss, oh well, not as large as GM haahaha

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EA announced today that sales were way up this past fiscal year. Still, all those billions didn't stop the company from losing $454 million. While the publisher's revenues increased an amazing 19% to $3.7 billion, and EA saw its fiscal Q4 2008 bring in $1.1 billion, the overall loss was a far cry from the company's $76 million in profit during fiscal 2007.

EA CEO John Riccitiello said that the company has felt "aggressive change" over the last year and that he's pleased with the revenue numbers (far more than Activision made last fiscal year). He'd like to see some profit, though, and hopes that will be the case this fiscal year. The company, in giving guidance for fiscal 2009, predicts revenues between $4.9 and $5.15 billion.

[Via GameDaily]
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Nintendo sells 6 million Wii units in Japan

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We're getting pretty sick of the money-printing jokes so we're just going to avoid it. Famitsu owner (and trusted sales data tracker) Enterbrain reports (via IGN) that Nintendo has sold six million Wii units in Japan, bringing the worldwide total to 25 million. Other fun statistics (assume exactly 6 million as of the start of May 13):

  • With a population of 127.4 million, that's approximately 4.71 percent of all the people in Japan.

  • The Wii launched midnight on December 2, 2006, exactly 527 days ago. That amounts to 11,385 per day, 474 per hour, and 7.9 per minute (in Japan).

  • Nintendo passed the 5 million mark as of January 20, or 113 days ago. So specifically, the 5 million went at an average of 503 per hour, with the latest million going at about 369 per hour (again, in Japan). That doesn't mean the Wii is slowing down, given the higher rate includes a launch and two holiday seasons.

In terms of software, Mario Kart Wii has become the sixth game to pass the one million mark, while Wii Fit has passed the two million mark as of May 13. Only two other games have gone double platinum: Wii Sports (not bundled with console in Japan) and Wii Play.
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Microsoft: 10m Xbox 360s sold in US, the 'first this generation'

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Microsoft has announced that Xbox 360 has become "the first current-generation gaming console" to break the 10 million threshold for units sold in the US. According to NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier (via CNET), the Wii stands at 8.8 million and the PlayStation 3 at 4.1 million units sold.

Much as we did yesterday with Nintendo's announcement of having sold 6 million Wiis in Japan, let's break this number down. Assume the Xbox 360 hit 10 million as of midnight May 14, or 903 days since its November 22, 2005 launch.

  • At a population of 301.4million, that's approximately 3.32% of all people in the US.

  • Using the 903 metric, the Xbox 360 has therefore sold 11,074 per day, 461 per hour and 7.7 units per minute.

Microsoft also announced 12 million global members of Xbox Live and 19 million Xbox 360 units sold worldwide.
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Sony sells 9 million PS3s, sets bar (slightly) higher for '08

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GameDaily brings news that the house Ken Kutaragi built - and Kazuo "Kaz" Hirai currently holds the lease to - has dropped farm factory-fresh PS3 sales data in parent Sony Corp's latest earnings report. The bottom line: 9.24 million PS3s were sold world-wide during FY08, and SCE projects bettering that by 8% for the current period ending March 2009, expecting its FY09 unit sales to number at least 10 million.

PS3 sales for FY08 were up a whopping 156% over FY07, which saw only 3.61 million systems leave the warehouse. Despite the impressive upturn, Sony's current-gen box continues to trail behind PSP and last-gen's champ, PS2, which sold 13.39m and 13.73m units during the same period, respectively. Still, Next-Gen reports that SCE has managed to make a significant dent in its losses over FY07 (¥124.5 billion [US$1.18b], down from ¥232.3b [US$2.21b]) and predicts that it will finally be back in the black by this time next year.
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PS3 firmware 2.35 released, 'improves stability of some PS3 titles'

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PlayStation 3 firmware update 2.35 is now available. According to the US PlayStation Blog, v2.35 is "a relatively minor update to improve stability of some PS3 titles." We're willing to wager a handful of stolen cars that "some PS3 titles" is a better way of saying Grand Theft Auto IV, whose compatibility with older PS3 models has become a topic of discussion and a sore spot for early adopters of Sony's console. An alleged Take-Two email yesterday hinted at a Sony firmware update.

Download now and let us know if the game's technical hiccups (for those that had them) have been eradicated.
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CBS to buy GameSpot, rest of CNet for $1.8b in cash

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CBS will pay $1.8 billion in cash to become the proud parent of CNet and its spawn GameSpot in a deal that's expected to close in the third quarter pending shareholder and regulatory approval. The acquisition values the company at $11.50 per share, a 45% premium over CNet's closing stock price on Wednesday, reports the Associated Press. Sheesh! Well, CBS, you've just been robbed "welcome to the internets" ... but as The Washington Post puts it, you've certainly got your work cut out for you not to become known as "CNet Buy Sunk."
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Analyst: Don't expect a PS3 price cut this year

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Lazard Capital analyst Colin Sebastian believes a price cut for the PS3 is unlikely this year. He states that Sony management is focused on achieving profitability in the PlayStation division and that a PS3 price cut won't happen in the near term.

Sony expects to sell 10 million PS3s this year, doubling the global number of systems stationed on our little big planet. With the HD movie war in the bag and an increase in HD television adoption, it's not unreasonable to assume the PS3 being people's go-to movie player. As this blogger's mother put it, "Why would I @$%&ing pay for a basic Blu-ray player when I can get a PS3 for the same price? I want to play my Final Fantasy. When is my Final Fantasy coming out?"
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DualShock 3 shakes down US for $10.9 million in April

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Apparently, rumble does matter to a lot of Americans. According to SCEA, the feedback giving DualShock 3 had $10.9 million in sales during the month of April, meaning that about 200,000 Americans were ready to put down $55 for some vibration from their PS3 controller.

As we learned from our initial impression of the DualShock 3: Yes, it's worth it. We do know that the Sixaxis is on its way out, but at this point only the MGS bundles come with the DS3, so we're still waiting for the "official" changeover to occur with regular PS3 consoles.

Gallery: DualShock 3

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Mario Kart Wii Has A Golden Week [Simple 2000: The Japanese Software Chart]

Surprise! For the fifth week in a row, Mario Kart Wii finishes first on Media Create's weekly software sales chart. Japanese gamers snapped up another 107K copies of the kart racer as new releases were put on hold for the week. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G continues to settle for second place, with Wii Fit officially passing the 2 million mark overseas. While we've seen a healthy mix of platforms on the charts over the past few months, for the week of May 5 to 11, it's simply saturated with Wii and Nintendo DS titles.

Bear down for even more sales fun throughout the day as the NPD Group releases U.S. sales data for the number starved masses. The list continues after the break.

1. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - 107,000 / 1,227,000

2. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP) - 82,000 / 1,992,000

3. Wii Fit (Wii) - 53,000 / 2,039,000

4. Link's Crossbow Training (Wii) - 49,000 / 141,000

5. Meccha! Taiko Drum Master DS: 7-tsu no Shima no Daibouken (DS) - 34,000 / 133,000

6. Pokémon Ranger Batonage! (DS) - 27,000 / 535,000

7. Deca Sports (Wii) - 22,000 / 207,000

8. Wii Sports (Wii) - 21,000 / 2,979,000

9. Boura wa Kaseki Holder (DS) - 17,000 / 102,000

10. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) - 16,000 / 1,620,000

11. Wii Play (Wii)

12. Mario Kart DS (DS)

13. DS Bimoji Training (DS)

14. Tottado! Yowiko no Mujintou Seikatsu (DS)

15. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)

16. Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin (PS2)

17. Katekyoo Hitman Reborn! Fate of Heat (DS)

18. Mario Party DS (DS)

19. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)

20. Naruto Shippuuden Shinobi Retsuden 2 (DS)

21. Yattaman DS: Bikkuridokkiri Daisakusen da Koron (DS)

22. Emblem of Gundam (DS)

23. Pro Yakyuu Spirits 5 (PS2)

24. Crayon Shinchan Arashi wo Yobu Cinema Land (DS)

25. Zaidan Houjin Nippon Kanji Nouryoku Kentei Kyoukai Koushiki Soft: 250-Mannin no KanKen (DS)

26. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS)

27. SimCity DS 2: Kodaikara Mirai e Tsudzukumachi (DS)

28. Brain Age 2 (DS)

29. Taiko Drum Master DS (DS)

30. Animal Crossing Wild World (DS)

Media Create Weekly Software Sales [Inside Games]

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