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Semiconductor Chip Sales Suffer Fourth Largest Decline in 35 Years

According to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, the semiconductor manufacturing world has just seen one of the largest contractions in the last 35 years. The downturn on produced revenue for manufacturers for the month of March consolidated into a decline of 1.8% compared to February of this year, and a decline of 13% when compared to March 2018 - but quarter-reviewed revenues were even worse. In greenback terms, the semiconductor industry saw a decline from $114.7 billion in the previous quarter to "just" $96.8 billion.

The decline was across all semiconductor product categories, as John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) trade group, said: "Sales in March decreased on a year-to-year basis across all major regional markets and semiconductor product categories, consistent with the cyclical trend the global market has experienced recently." Market analysis firm IC Insights says that the decline was more severe than the WSTS reports, and that it totaled a 17.1% reduction in revenue for the first quarter of this year, making it the fourth biggest decline since 1984. As IC Insights said in a statement, "The first quarter is usually the weakest quarter of the year for the IC market, averaging a sequential decline of 2.1% over the past 36 years, but the severity of the 1Q19/4Q18 IC market drop has started this year off at a very low level."

Anthem Physical Sales Unsurprisingly Worse Than Mass Effect Andromeda

There are news reports going around today about how physical sales of Bioware's Anthem is much worse than their previous title, Mass Effect Andromeda. Nearly all these reports are using the two UK sales metrics, as of February 23, to make this claim, stating that Anthem sold less than 50% the physical copies relative of ME Andromeda. This is a story no doubt, but not big enough to where people are claiming this to be the end of the studio by itself. For one, ME Andromeda had the luxury of being the new entry into the massively popular Mass Effect franchise, which many were desperate for more. Secondly, Anthem is a predominantly online game released in 2019 wherein such games tend to get more digital sales- especially on Origin for PC.

The good news for Anthem (and also EA as well as Bioware) is the game still topped both charts, as seen in the images below courtesy Metro UK. It sold more physical copies compared the other new entries last week- Far Cry: New Dawn and Metro Exodus- in the UK, which tends to be representative of the entire physical sales world too. Indeed, Anthem on the two major consoles were individually also the best sellers too, so there remains hope for the game. Despite mediocre reviews and interest online, perhaps this will be enough for continued support of the game post-release, and for Bioware to get enough momentum to push out more games in the future, and ideally more, better single-player games too.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Has Sold 23 Million Copies In Three Months... Without Help from PC

Stories about single-player gaming's death have been greatly exaggerated, over and over again. Every once in a while, a good, single-player focused game that only looks to tell a great story, in a great setting, comes along to set company's perceptions straight. This has happened over and over again in the market, but the most notable, recent examples must be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Red Dead Redemption 2.

News has just surfaced, courtesy of Take Two, that the game has shipped in excess of 23 million copies since its launch back in October, when it set the entertainment's biggest opening weekend of all time. That means more than 7 million copies have been sold on a monthly basis since then. And this was all done without the help of our own platform of choice: PC. When the game finally does release for our rigs (and there's no sensible reason it wouldn't), we'll see how starved the market actually was for a good, single-player, story-focused game, in the day and age of always-on content.

EA Stocks Dive 13% With Disappointing Battlefield V Sales, Mobile Revenue

EA stocks today have taken a dive of 12.83% (17% at the worst case scenario, with a slight rebound in the meantime), at the moment of writing, compared to their opening hours. The descent, which represents a dip towards a $80.61 valuation per share compared to the $92.52 at the opening market, followed the release of the company's Q3 FY19 Financial Results, caused by lower than expected sales from Battlefield V and lower than expected revenue from EA's mobile efforts. This is capitalism at its finest - the 7.3 million sales of Battlefield V (an impressive number by any metric) fell close to a cool million short of projected sales by this time, and that is enough for the market to correct their expectations.

EA's mobile business saw a YoY fall of 22%, which did little to assuage investors and provide a positive note for the underperforming Battlefield V. It's interesting to note how interesting the markets can be: on the surprise announcement of the new, Respawn-developed Apex Legends, there was no significant change in EA's stock valuation, despite this launch meaning a new, hopefully rich, revenue source for the publisher. Although considering TechPowerUp's overall sentiment regarding that games' launch (not representative of the entire community), it seems that EA won't be banking much on our users.

German Retailer Mindfactory.de Shows AMD Outselling Intel 2 to 1 in November

AMD seems to be picking up steam over Intel's previous sky-high dominance of the desktop CPU market (Intel still dominates aplenty, really; but AMD has been clawing back market percentage monthly). The latest figures from the German retailer show shoppers taking advantage of AMD's newfound competitiveness in the CPU space, with increasing sales momentum starting on June 2018 up to a staggering 69% total AMD units sold against Intel's 31% during the month of November.

Valeroa Anti-Tamper Tech Tries To Protect Initial Sales, "Cannot Be Cracked Within Reasonable Time"

The launch period of a game is the most important from the sales perspective, and piracy can seriously damage those initial earnings. Several anti-tamper systems have been launched to avoid this, but none seems to be really effective. Denuvo is well know on this front, but its protection has been defeated over and over (and over) again, for example. There's a new anti-tamper technology called Valeroa to fight these issues, and its approach is somewhat different.

As the developers explain, Valeroa "is not a DRM" and it doesn't affect the performance of games because "only a handful of functions are protected by Valeroa". This technique doesn't even require an internet connection, it doesn't read or write the hard drive continuously and "does not limit the number of daily installations or changes of hardware". The most interesting bit comes with its approach to the actual protection, which according to their developers Valeroa "is extremely difficult to crack before and closely after the game release date. The protection becomes a lot easier to crack after a predefined period".

PC Shipments Were Flat in Q3 2018, and That's Good News. Also: Microsoft Surpasses Acer in the US

According to preliminary data published by Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 67.2 million units in the third quarter of 2018, which marks a 0.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2017. The study shows how the global market "has shown modest stability for two consecutive quarters" something quite impressive given that for some time now PC shipments have relentlessly decreased. Lenovo has surpassed HP and has secured the top spot driven by its joing venture with Fujitsu, says Gartner. Only those companies and Dell have managed to grow compared to the same quarter last year, while Acer, Asus, and Apple have reduced their shipments in this quarter.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at gartner, mentioned the possible impact of Intel problems in the short term: "the Intel CPU shortage could influence the PC market moving forward with price increases and changes to the vendor landscape. While this shortage will have some short-term impacts, Gartner does not see any lasting impact on overall PC demand." In fact, this analyst points out how Intel will prioritize high-end CPUs and business PCs CPUs, with AMD picking up if Intel cannot supply enough CPUs.

Valve Reportedly Bringing Flash Sales Back from the Dead

It's been two years since Valve decided to take away the excitement of their flash sales out of the equation. The thought-process was that by having sales go uninterrupted from the beginning through to the end of each sale period would maximize chances of users being able to find it in their budgets - and in their time - more chances to purchase said games. However, one thing is for sure: that means that for users who see the sale in the first day, they've really seen it all.

Valve News Network's Tyler McVicker says the flash sales are returning in a different way now. This time, developers will be able to choose how long they want each game's flash sale to last: 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours, meaning Steam's front page will likely be updated every hour. This is both good and bad, as we've seen; however, it seems that Valve is erring towards the side of excitement and daily viewing of flash sales as being quantifiably better than the alternative. For one, I can see that users that see a flash sale are much more likely to do some impulse buys than if they know a sale will last for a long time. It's basic psychology here.

Microsoft Xbox One X Falls Short of Expectations in Japan - Again

Cracking Japan's console market has always been a tough - read: almost impossible - feat for Microsoft. For generations now, Microsoft has failed to achieve any kind of market penetration in that country. To put things in perspective, Xbox One's sales in japan have been so low that retailers in Japan started marketing and selling the consoles as Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray readers, not as gaming consoles. For Microsoft, that would have been fine - a sale is a sale is a sale, and the Xbox One never was sold at a loss like previous hardware generations - but it just goes to show that the Japanese market doesn't really care much for the typical games Microsoft offers with its console. The relative abundance of JRPGs and other typical games for which the Japanese crowds usually lean towards the most are relatively absent from Microsoft's staples of exclusives, which probably justifies this cold stance towards Microsoft's console. But to be fair, japan is one of the foremost mobile gaming countries in the world, so that definitely has something to do with it as well.

According to Japanese Famitsu, the Xbox One X managed to move... 1,639 units at launch. This means that the Xbox One X was outsold by virtually all consoles - The PS4 (23,613 units), PS4 Pro (6,028 units), Nintendo Switch (84,593 units), and was even outsold by the PS Vita, 3DS, and 2DS XL. It only snagged wins against previous-generation hardware (like the PS3 and Wii U) or Microsoft's own other console - The Xbox One S. A bittersweet victory, to say the least. The fact that the Xbox One X did get sold-out in Japan is telling - but that did happen because of the low orders Japanese retailers put in for the new console. Some 4 consoles later, they know that barring a black swan, Microsoft isn't setting a foothold in Japanese gamers' living rooms.

Upcoming Steam Halloween, Black Friday, Winter Sales Dates Leaked

It's been a while since the last Steam sale, which took place during Summer. You may have a backlog with a size as big as the depths of Mariana's Trench, but Steam knows you won't lose out on an opportunity to increase that backlog. The company's plans and surprise announcements for these annual sales, however, have been cut short by some leaks.

Namely, it was originally leaked (and since removed) by Reddit by user DarkMio that the dates for the aforementioned Steam sales are as follows: the Steam Halloween Sale is running from Thursday 26th October to Wednesday 1st November; the Steam Black Friday Sale runs through Wednesday 22nd November to Tuesday 28th; and the Steam Winter Sale will run from Thursday 21st December to Thursday 4th January 2018. These dates have, in the meantime, been independently confirmed by EuroGamer. A bummer for Steam, but this unfortunate event for the company should allow us poor consumers to better plan out our 3D entertainment budgets accordingly.

Intel Pentium G4560 Cannibalizing Core i3 Sales, Company Effectively Kills it

Intel Pentium G4560 dual-core socket LGA1151 processor is too good for Intel's comfort. For the past two generations, Intel has enabled HyperThreading on Pentium dual-core chips, and expanded L3 cache amount from 2 MB to 3 MB; which had been the two key differentiators for the company's Core i3 desktop lineup from Pentium. HyperThreading was warranted by an increasing number of games and applications which wouldn't work without at least 4 logical CPUs. The G4560 is a formidable part at its USD $64 price - 2 cores, 4 threads, the latest "Kaby Lake" micro-architecture, 3 MB L3 cache, and 3.50 GHz clock speeds. On the flip side, it makes buying Core i3 dual-core parts close to double its price a dumb option. Intel's solution? Effectively kill it.

According to a DigiWorthy report, Intel has decided to scale down production of the Pentium G4560 in a bid to cripple its availability, and force consumers to opt for pricier 7th generation Core i3 parts. The cheapest part, the Core i3-7100, is priced almost double that of the G4560, at $117. You get the same two "Kaby Lake" cores, 4 threads enabled by HyperThreading, the same 3 MB L3 cache, but slightly higher clock speeds of 3.90 GHz, and a faster integrated graphics core, if you use one. Does the extra 400 MHz warrant double the price? Not even in the case of Intel's priciest Core i7 SKUs. All prices are Intel's "recommended customer price" for 1000-unit tray quantities.

AMD Increases Its Market Share on the Back of Strong Ryzen Sales

There have been some reports that Intel's CPU division has gotten a sales decline of about $150 million, and that AMD has, conversely, seen its processor sales increase by around the same amount. This would seem to beget a straight, logic leap - that AMD was calling to itself sales that would have belonged to Intel. With Ryzen, AMD did make a great product that consumers are looking to buy, and if recent Passmark statistics are anything to go by, it would seem that yes, AMD achieved its sales increase on the back of Intel sales.

Digital Purchases Make Up Majority of US Video Game Sales, and Other ESA Stats

In the latest edition of "RTB's Obvious News," I present you with an alarming statistic:

Digital purchases make up most video game sales in the United states at around 74% of purchases, according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

I know, I can hear it now: "Obvious news is obvious, R-T-B. Why'd you post this? Your news sucks!" etc etc. Believe it or not, I have a reason for bringing this seemingly lame study to your attention, and that's because despite the headline being lame, the study actually contains some interesting tidbits about the gaming market in general.

Choose R9 290 Series for its 512-bit Memory Bus: AMD

In one of the first interviews post GeForce GTX 900 series, AMD maintained that its Radeon R9 290 series products are still competitive. Speaking in an interview with TweakTown, Corporate Vice President of Global Channel Sales, Roy Taylor, said that gamers should choose the Radeon R9 290X "with its 512-bit memory bus" at its current price of US $370. He stated that the current low pricing with R9 290 series is due to "ongoing promotions within the channel," and that AMD didn't make an official price adjustment on its end. Taylor dodged questions on when AMD plans to launch its next high-end graphics products, whether they'll level up to the GTX 900 series, and on whether AMD is working with DICE on "Battlefield 5." You can find the full interview in the source link, below.

AMD Radeon R9 Series Prices Cool Down

AMD stabilized end-user pricing of its Radeon R9 series graphics cards, restoring them to their original launch prices in most cases, and even lower in some. Pricing of most AMD Graphics CoreNext architecture-based GPUs inflated over the past 6 months, due to the frenzy created by Cryptocoin currency miners, who leveraged the chips' GPGPU performance to 'mine' currencies such as Litecoin. Sensing that high prices are driving gamers away from Radeon, AMD swung into action by dealing with the problem at two levels. First, VP Global Channel Sales, Roy Taylor micro-managed the supply chain in China, and next, the company dealt with distributors and retailers.

At the time of preparing this article, most Radeon R9 series-based graphics cards, including high-end ones such as the R9 290X, and non-reference cards, are back to their original price-points on US retailer Newegg.com. The R9 290X can now be had for as low as US $519.99 (launch-price $549.99, was inflated to $750), the R9 290 for $379.99 (launched at $399.99, was inflated to $600), the R9 280X as low as $279.99 (launched at $299.99, was inflated to $400); the R9 280 as low as $229.99 (launched at $249.99, was inflated to $280); and the R9 270X at $199.99 (was inflated as high as $250).

Logitech Q4 FY 2014 Sales, Profit and Cash from Operations Exceed Expectations

Logitech International (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of Fiscal Year 2014. Q4 FY 2014 sales were $485 million, up 3 percent over the prior year. "Our Q4 performance was strong, with sales, profit and cash generation better than expected," said Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and chief executive officer. "Q4 sales in our Growth category - PC Gaming, Tablet and Other Accessories, and Mobile Speakers - were up nearly 50 percent. "At the start of our fiscal year we said we would deliver strong sales in our Growth category, reduce operating expenses and improve profitability. We delivered on our commitments across the board, concluding FY 2014 ahead of our turnaround plan."

Global PC Gaming Hardware Sales Shrug off PC Market Decline: JPR

In a challenged PC market one user group is standing firm against the winds of change blowing many casual computer users to the "good enough" mindset behind sales of tablets and cloud computing devices-PC gamers. PC gamers continue to buy and build with a fervency that could be compared to motorcycle, 4X4, and sports car enthusiasts, always looking for more speed, power, utility, and handling.

Jon Peddie, President of JPR said, "Not only is gaming becoming an even more important purchasing influence of PC sales due to the offloading of more basic functionality to smart devices, but we are forecasting growth in the most expensive discrete graphics products. We are also impressed with the embedded graphics offerings this generation and going forward."

DisplayLink to Demonstrate WiGig and USB Docking Expansion

DisplayLink, the leading provider of USB Graphics technology, today announced plans to show the latest solutions for Wireless and USB Docking at Interop 2013. Targeting Ultrabook and Tablet expansion and connectivity for business users, DisplayLink will feature wireless WiGig Docking, Enterprise Class USB Docking, and the latest Mac drivers, with demonstrations to be held at the Interop Expo.

Introducing the latest solutions, John Cummins, VP Sales and Marketing for DisplayLink said, "IT Managers are struggling with BYOD. At Interop 2013, DisplayLink will showcase our customer's products, including monitor-docks for tablets with touch screen and integrated Webcams, WiGig Docks for wireless graphics and peripheral expansion, and Enterprise-Class USB Docks with multiple display connections for both Windows and Mac. These products solve problems and enhance productivity."

ASRock Misses Motherboard Sales Target for 2012, Ships 7.5 Million

ASRock joined the likes of ASUS, Gigabyte, and others, in missing its motherboard sales target for 2012. According to the latest figures with DigiTimes, the company shipped 7.5 million motherboards in 2012, which is quite a bit short of its modest target of 9 million, given its 2011 shipments of 8 million.

According to industry analysts, the Pegatron subsidiary is expected to see a flat performance at best, in 2013, despite the fact that Intel is launching a brand new socket (LGA1150), prompting higher motherboard sales. In 2012, Intel retained its LGA1155 socket from the 2011-launched "Sandy Brige" platform, and inter-compatibility between its 2nd and 3rd generation Core processors may have stunted sales of its 7-series chipset products.

Global Semiconductor Sales Up Slightly in September

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, today announced that worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $24.79 billion for the month of September 2012, a 2 percent increase from the prior month when sales were $24.30 billion. Sales from the third quarter of 2012 totaled $74.4 billion - a 1.8 percent jump compared to the previous quarter - but total 2012 sales were down 4.7 percent compared to the same time last year. All monthly sales numbers represent a three-month moving average.

Diablo 3 Tops Sales Charts for May

The games market went to Hell in May. Diablo III topping retail software sales for the month, according to the latest sales figures from NPD, and helped fuel a resurgence in the PC games space. Other top performers included Max Payne 3, which launched the same day as Diablo III, as well as Sniper Elite V2 and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
While action titles continued their dominance of the top 10, 2K Sports' NBA 2K12 held the fifth spot for the second straight week. Blizzard continued to show its impact in the PC market with Diablo III at number 1, the first time since July 2010 that a PC-only title has accomplished that feat. The game that did it in 2010? StarCraft 2, another Blizzard mainstay.

Total video game sales continued to shrink, down 28 percent from last year. However, the PC market jumped 230 percent from the same time last year to $80 million, fueled by Diablo III sales. The overall spend in May, including digital sales and microtransactions was estimated to be $1.17 billion.

Cisco Helps Partners Accelerate Growth With Mid-Sized Customers

Today at its annual partner conference, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced Partner Plus, a new global channel program targeting mid-sized customers. Partners who participate in the program will receive increased preference, investment and support in the form of business accelerators such as incremental incentives, engineering support, marketing and demand generation, sales enablement, and customer intelligence.

Partner Plus is a key pillar of Cisco's Partner Led strategy, which is designed to empower and reward channel partners to lead the sale with small and mid-sized customers. This approach combines the power of the partner sales force and Cisco's sales force in an innovative way to go after these market segments. This is part of the $75 million investment that Cisco announced in 2011 for enablement, systems, and support capabilities.

Patriot Memory VP, Mai Kosla to take on Global Sales Operations

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash, storage, and enthusiast computer products is pleased to announce the company has named Mai Kosla as the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales Operations. Ms. Kosla will serve a key role in strategic planning and improving sales productivity and operational efficiencies.

"Mai has a proven track record of developing and executing Patriot Memory's ongoing sales initiatives," said Doug Diggs, CFO of Patriot Memory. "Her strong skillset and experience will be vital to our executive management team in developing sales strategies."

Global Semiconductor Sales Decline 2.7 Percent in January

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, today announced that worldwide semiconductor sales were $23.1 billion in January 2012, a 2.7 percent decrease from the month prior when sales were $23.8 billion. All monthly sales numbers represent a 3-month moving average.

"The month over month revenue decline for January is in line with seasonal patterns," said Brian Toohey, president, Semiconductor Industry Association. "A weakened global economy amidst inflation concerns and the European debt crisis continued to affect sales at the start of the year, but there are strong signs pointing to recovery and growth as 2012 progresses."

Semiconductor sales are expected to improve due to positive demand drivers, an improved U.S. economic outlook and the resolution to the floods in Thailand.

AMD Realizes That Bulldozer Has 800 Million LESS Transistors Than It Thought!

AMD's new flagship Bulldozer "FX" series of processors have turned out to be mediocre performers in almost every review and benchmark going, sometimes even getting bested by the existing Phenom II and certainly no match for their Intel competition. To add to this tale of fail, it now turns out that AMD didn't even know how many transistors they have! Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech received an email from AMD's PR department and this is the revelation he had to share with us:
This is a bit unusual. I got an email from AMD PR this week asking me to correct the Bulldozer transistor count in our Sandy Bridge E review. The incorrect number, provided to me (and other reviewers) by AMD PR around 3 months ago was 2 billion transistors. The actual transistor count for Bulldozer is apparently 1.2 billion transistors. I don't have an explanation as to why the original number was wrong, just that the new number has been triple checked by my contact and is indeed right. The total die area for a 4-module/8-core Bulldozer remains correct at 315 mm².
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