MediaFile

Kids will be kids, even those of vid game executives

Bobby Kotick — CEO of Activision, “Moneyball” actor --  stopped by the Reuters Global Media Summit on Monday to give us his take on Black Friday (Anecdotally: a success, though Saturday not so much) and to throw some cold water on rival  EA’s upcoming release of “Star Wars.”

But it was what his 9-year-old daughter dressed up as for Halloween that really caught our attention. (Hint: Not Brad Pitt)

If you are betting person, you would likely throw some dough that she donned a costume involving one of Activision’s popular games. Perhaps a character from Skylanders? The game aimed at 6-to-10 year olds involving toy monsters.

Nope.  Kotick let slip that  she dressed up as an Angry Bird.  A Rovio executive must be smiling somewhere.

Tech wrap: Bargain hunting may hurt retailers

Broader bargain hunting driven by budgetary fears may depress overall holiday spending, mitigating any hefty gains retailers reaped from long lines of shoppers snaked around malls across the U.S.

While Black Friday has been the busiest day for years in terms of traffic at stores, it does not always mean that sales will soar for the season. Despite brisk sales right after Thanksgiving, total holiday season sales fell in both 2008 and 2009 when the recession took its hold on America’s wallets.

Shopper-related injuries were popular topics on social networks such as Twitter. A shopper at a Los Angeles-area Walmart used pepper spray on a throng of shoppers and there was a shooting in a Walmart parking lot in the Oakland area.

Tech wrap: Microsoft allowed looks at Yahoo’s books

Microsoft has signed a confidentiality agreement with Yahoo, allowing the software giant to take a closer look at Yahoo’s business, according to a source familiar with the matter. Microsoft joins several private equity firms that are also poring over Yahoo’s books and operations, as they explore various options for striking a deal with the struggling Internet company. Microsoft’s signing of a nondisclosure agreement with Yahoo occurred “recently,” according to the source.

Shares of Groupon fell for a third day , sinking below the company’s initial public offering price of $20 less than three weeks after the daily deal company went public. Groupon raised more than $700 million in an IPO in early November, making it the biggest IPO by a U.S. Internet company since Google raised $1.7 billion in 2004. Analysts have cited concerns about increased competition, a greater availability of the company’s stock for short-selling, and a sharp reversal of market sentiment that is taking down more speculative companies. Groupon shares ended the day down 15.5 percent at $16.96.

Big-Box retailer Best Buy has no regrets about stocking Research In Motion’s PlayBook tablet, despite the product’s poor reception and subsequent sharp discounting. RIM says it has shipped 700,000 PlayBooks since its launch, a figure dwarfed by the millions of iPads Apple sells each quarter. “When a product is less successful, you do what you need to do, and you move to the next thing,” Best Buy’s president for the Americas, Mike Vitelli, told Reuters. “That kind of quick reaction by the suppliers, whether it is BlackBerry or HP with their product, I actually think that is good for consumers too,” Vitelli said.

Black Friday sprint begins for video game industry

Black Friday marks the beginning of the most critical time of the year for video game makers, as customers jam stores on the day after Thanksgiving to pick up games and consoles as gifts.

As a brutal 2009 winds to a close, the gaming industry is hoping that a strong six weeks of sales in the United States, the largest market, could help them salvage something from the year.

Nintendo said Monday its Wii home console — the long-time U.S. champ that has been struggling lately — sold more than 550,000 units in the U.S. during Thanksgiving week. To put that in perspective, the company sold around 500,000 Wiis in all of October, according to industry tracker NPD.

from Shop Talk:

Chicago Tribune treats Cyber Monday shoppers – in stores

The Chicago Tribune is giving the gift of a free issue to Cyber Monday shoppers.  Online, right?  Wrong.  This free newspaper (a 75 cent value) only applies to shoppers who actually venture out to stores today.

chicago-tribune-truckThe bankrupt newspaper appears to understand the discrepancy.  In a statement, the Tribune defines Cyber Monday as the online version of Black Friday, which is the day when millions of shoppers hit stores. 

Today, many of those shoppers are back in the office --- and who knows, maybe they're using their fast Internet connections to shop online.  At least, that's why Cyber Monday grew in popularity a few years ago, when many people still had dial-up or even no Internet connections at home.

Icahn helps himself to some Yahoo

Activist investor Carl Icahn helped himself to some early Thanksgiving turkey, buying more shares in Yahoo on Wednesday.

Here’s Silicon Alley Insider’s Henry Blodget with the basics:

Well, don’t accuse Carl Icahn of cutting and running. After losing $1 billion on his massive Yahoo bet–he bought 69 million shares last spring at about $25–Carl Icahn has (figuratively speaking) doubled down.

In the past three days, the raider has bought another 6.7 million shares of Yahoo for about $65 million, bringing his total to 75.6 million shares. At today’s closing price of $10.58, Carl’s stake is worth $800 million, about $900 million less than he paid for his original position. The 76 million shares amount to 5.4% of the company.

Sony offers big PS3 price cut, if you can get the credit

With Black Friday only a few days away and projections for the holiday shopping season bleak, it’s not surprising that Sony is making a price cut move on its PlayStation 3 video game console to lure cash-strapped shoppers.

Now, you can get a hearty $150 price cut on the PlayStation 3 console. The caveat: you’ve got to sign up for a shiny new PlayStation credit card first.

There’s two ways to take advantage of the deal, it just depends how badly you want the PS3.

Sony Exec: Don’t worry, buy happy

Give the “Glass is Half Full” award to Stan Glasgow, Sony’s top U.S. electronics executive, ahead of what could be the most crucial (and potential painful) “Black Friday” shopping weekend in many years. It’s normally a happy time of year, filled with family gathering, gifts, etc.

This year its different. Read the papers, or a blog. Things look pretty gloomy.

Perhaps, just perhaps, things aren’t as bad as they seem, Glasgow told a gathering of journalists on Thursday, suggesting that there are great bargains to be had on cool gadgets and big TVs, if consumers can overcome their apprehension.

Glasgow, a passionate engineer-by-trade, whose casual briefings with the tech press are usually chock full of geek-y chatter about flat screen TVs, Digital SLR Cameras and OLED displays, took on the economy, such as it is.