Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Microsoft sold over 1 million of its new Xbox One game consoles within 24 hours of their hitting store shelves on Friday, on par with Sony’s PlayStation 4 despite launching in far more countries.

The new console, which launched in 13 countries, set a record for first-day Xbox sales and is currently sold out at most retailers, Microsoft said in a statement.

Sony said it sold 1 million PS4 units in 24 hours after launching last Friday in just the United States and Canada. The PS4 expands to other regions, including Europe, Australia and South America, from November 29. It then hits Japan in February.

Microsoft is locked in a console war with Sony this holiday season. The software giant hopes the Xbox One not only entices gamers but attracts a broader consumer base of TV fans and music lovers with its interactive entertainment features and media apps.

“We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy at Xbox.

Robert W Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian has said he expects shipments of 2.5 million to 3 million units for both the Xbox One and PS4 in the fourth quarter.

Both the PS4, priced at $399 in the United States, and the Xbox One, with a price tag of $499, offer improved graphics for realistic effects, processors that allow faster game play and a slew of exclusive video games.

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Move aside Facebook and Skype. Asian social networks, already hugely popular on their continent, have set their sights on Europe where they could prove stiff competition for their US rivals.

China’s WeChat and Japan’s Line, which let users make free calls, send instant messages and post funny short videos and photos, take attributes from Facebook, Skype and messenging application WhatsApp and roll them all together.

This week, Line executives travelled to France and Italy for a public relations offensive aimed at raising awareness of the mobile app, which already counts some 230 million users around the world including 47 million in Japan alone.

The social network has already taken root in other parts of Europe. In Spain, for instance, Line has forged heavyweight partnerships with football clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, brands such as Coca-Cola or tennis star Rafael Nadal.

FC Barcelona, for instance, has a home page on the app where it posts photos that has already drawn more than 8.2 million friends.

Line even has a permanent office in Spain, where it counts some 15 million users already.

A French version of the mobile app, meanwhile, is to be launched before the end of the year.

One of the main selling points for Line, which was launched at the beginning of 2011, is its “stickers” — funny, cartoon-like figures that express emotions in a way deemed far more original and fun than traditional emoticons.

On WeChat, users can post figures that move about dancing, blowing kisses or punching the air. Both social networks also supply a selection of “stickers” that users have to pay for.

“We’re betting a lot on this new form of communication with stickers,” Sunny Kim, assistant director general of Line Europe and America, told AFP on a trip to Paris.

This part of the business represents 30 percent of Line’s overall turnover and in July alone, users bought eight million euros ($10.8 million) worth of stickers.

The company makes the rest of its money on the sale of games integrated in the mobile app (50 percent) and from partnerships and products on the side.

Line’s logo is green with a conversation bubble inside, and looks remarkably similar to the icon of WeChat, which began in January 2011.

Already translated into 19 languages, the social network has 500 million users, including 100 million outside of China, and plans to launch in France towards the end of the year.

While Line has Real Madrid, WeChat has enrolled the help of Argentinian football star Lionel Messi, who has become ambassador of the brand and has filmed a commercial for the social network.

But WeChat — which belongs to China’s web giant Tencent — is also banking on the huge Chinese diaspora to expand.

“The French of Chinese origin or the Canadians of Chinese origin, for instance, are the bridge between China and the rest of the world,” said Renaud Edouard-Baraud, who heads up an Asia consulting branch of the BNP-Paribas bank and advises WeChat.

Many brands keen to tap into the giant China market also have a presence on WeChat.Companies can for instance use geolocalisation to pinpoint the exact location of Chinese users when they are visiting Europe, and send them promotional offers to lure them into their shops.