Tech Rewind: Gamers Herald New Console Arrivals

This week gamers had another reason to celebrate.

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Sony announced it sold more than one million of its PlayStation 4 consoles in the first twenty-four hours of its unveil. The PS4 is Sony’s first new console in seven years, and it went on sale last Friday in 31 countries worldwide.

On Tuesday, Best Buy announced third-quarter adjusted earnings of 18 cents per share on revenue of $9.36 billion, which compares to year-ago earnings of 3 cents a share on revenue of $9.38 billion. The results topped analyst expectations for 12 cents a share on sales of $9.36 billion, but the stock plunged after the electronics retailer warned that its holiday season could be a disappointment. Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) said it will work to stay competitive on price in a season expected to be full of promotional offers.

Also on Tuesday, Samsung Electronics named its Galaxy Gear smartwatch the “world’s most popular”.  The South Korean electronics-maker said it has sold 800,000 units of the wearable device in the two months since its launch, beating internal expectations.  The company plans to expand sales promotions for the smartwatch during the holiday shopping season.

On Thursday, Amazon said it would start delivering those Black Friday deals a full week earlier this year, offering daily deals every 10 minutes beginning on Sunday, November 24.  Other retailers that are hopping on the “Black Friday Week” bandwagon include Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy and Target (NYSE:TGT). Retailers are competing aggressively on price, partly because consumer holiday spending is widely expected to decrease this year on concerns about the economy and the lasting impact of the government shutdown last month.

Retailers are also attempting to make the most of the shortened holiday shopping season this year; this year there are only 25 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared to the usual 30 days.

Fans of Xbox got their big moment at 12:01 Friday morning on the East Coast when the first Xbox One console went on sale in New York.  The Xbox One is the first new console out of Microsoft in 8 years, and it hit stores just one week after rival PlayStation4 made its debut.

Xbox One is priced at $499, which is $100 more than PlayStation 4, but Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) hails its 22 games at launch and non-gaming features like connectivity to your cable box and Kinect motion-tracking for gesture and voice commands as reason enough to justify the price difference.  It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can echo PlayStation 4’s a million-unit sale record in 24 hours.