As I ponder why I’m writing this post at 3am instead of getting a good night’s sleep I find myself inexorably drawn to one particular news item as my lead for the week. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Monday (Cyber Monday no less) the online retailer had big plans to deliver same day packages via drones. As revealed in a concept video a consumer could order a small item (weighing less than six pounds), opt for “30 Minute Prime Air” delivery and receive the package in a half hour or less. The use of drones for private and commercial purposes is still under review by the FAA and may not be available until 2015 at the earliest. Of course drone delivery raises all kinds of safety, security and feasibility questions. Personally, I find the story fascinating as someone who makes the bulk of her income as a package handler for UPS. As a fan of new technology I’m curious to see if Amazon’s concept will become reality. As a package handler there’s always a small amount of fear about the possibly of having my job threatened by new technology. (UPS does a LOT of business with Amazon.)
Gamers have very few qualms about embracing new technology. Case in point? Less than a month after its release the PlayStation 4 has sold 2.1 million units worldwide. The console received a major boost after launching in Europe and Latin America late last week. Given the system hasn’t even arrived in Japan declaring the PS4’s launch one of the most successful ever isn’t an exaggeration. Interest in the newest iteration of the PlayStation will pick up even further when Gaikai goes live in 2014. The cloud streaming service promises to bring “critically acclaimed” PS3 games to the PS4 and Vita. As of this writing, no games titles have been specifically named but I’d be shocked if God of War, Uncharted, and inFamous didn’t make the list. I’d be ecstatic if a niche game like Valkyria Chronicles made the list, though I’m not even going to imagine that happening for a second.
Atlus is best known for making niche games on Sony systems. The developer had a stellar year for sales, so celebration is in order. Persona 4: Golden has shipped over 700,000 copies worldwide and has won several awards. Not to be outdone, Dragon’s Crown has shipped over 800,000 copies worldwide and has also won awards despite the small amounts of controversy surrounding the game’s character designs. Lamentably, the units shipped for the respective Vita and PS3 titles does not include actual sales.
Nintendo does provide sales figures for the Wii U, among other things. The HD console had a slight uptick in sales in Japan thanks to the release of Super Mario 3D World. In the past week the Wii U sold 7000 units, still well below what the 3DS XL (LL in Japan) is selling. Some good news for the Wii successor is better than more bad news.
If you’re into PC ports of console games Square Enix has your back. Final Fantasy VIII hit Steam on Thursday. The game has new features including 45 Steam Achievements, cloud support and mini-games previously only found on the Japanese version. Thankfully the game is reasonably priced at $11.99.
I’m going to end things with a promo for the upcoming anime, Space Dandy. The series will premier on Toonami on January 4 at a reasonable time of 11:30 PM. The rest of the Toonami lineup is here, along with character info and a list of voice actors for the English dub.