Today's round-up includes news of a hike in pricing for a popular MMO, as well as more disappointing Christmas sales for U.S. retailers that seem tied to hardware shortages.
- Mythic Entertainment's popular PC MMO Dark Age of Camelot
has raised its basic subscription fee up to the genre-standard $15 per month, the same charged by popular titles such as Everquest II
, World of Warcraft
, City of Heroes
, and Final Fantasy XI
. $14.95 is the precise amount players on a month-by-month basis will now pay, with slight discounts for greater lengths of time purchased. The reasons cited for the rate hike were increased costs and an expanded development team, as well as the title going three years without an increase in subscription costs.
- An unusually severe console shortage over the holiday season may have contributed to sagging sales during 2004, according to GameStop Chairman R. Richard Fontaine. GameStop expected 6 to 9 percent increase in sales during the holidays, but instead, gains were as low as 1 percent, while other retailers also felt the pinch: Toys 'R Us did 1.4 percent less business compared to last year over its entire business, which it attributed partly to the difficulty of selling console systems and the software that goes with them. As already reported
, Circuit City has also experienced a downturn, citing a 5.8 percent drop from last year and attributing much of that to console hardware shortages, making it an overall weak year for retailers.