MediaFile

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 hits stores tonight

One of the biggest video game launches ever is going down tonight at stores all over the U.S.  “Modern Warfare 3″, the eighth game in the “Call of Duty” series is going on sale at midnight While the usual suspects like GameStop and Best Buy will be open late to accommodate the crowds, Wal-Mart is going all out by hosting tournaments centered around the game at more than 2,700 stores starting at 8 p.m..

To give you some idea of how big the market for this game is, last year it took a little over two months for ”Call of Duty: Black Ops”  to generate $1 billion in global sales.

In 2010, the last edition of the Activision military game sold more than 5.6 million copies, or $360 million worth units on its first day on sale. That is more than double Harry Potter’s record-breaking opening weekend box office take in June.

But how much will it make this year?

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said that he expects “Modern Warfare 3″ to outsell its predecessor by 10 percent and for 5.5 million to 6 million units on its first day. The game should sell 18 million units in the December quarter alone, he said.   

Tech wrap: Is Google’s Android operating system safe?

A mobile security expert says he has discovered serious security flaws in Google’s Android operating system.

Riley Hassell, who caused a stir when he called off an appearance at a hacker’s conference last week, told Reuters he and colleague Shane Macaulay decided not to lay out their research at the gathering for fear that criminals would use it attack Android phones.

Felix Salmon explains why the so called porous NYT paywall is working so well, due in large part to their emphasis on the “pay” rather than on the “wall”.

Tech wrap: Amazon impresses

Amazon wowed investors when it reported a 51 percent surge in sales for the second quarter and said revenue for the current quarter would beat expectations. Shares of the e-commerce giant shot up more than 6 percent on the figures in after-hours trade, even though second-quarter net profits fell as the company’s margins continued to be pressured by heavy spending on distribution, technology and digital content.

Netflix shares took another beating on Tuesday after it warned a day earlier it was expecting subscriber growth to stall in the third quarter in response to price hikes announced this month. That didn’t stop several analysts from raising their price targets on the video rental company’s stock, though, as they took the company at its word that the effects of the subscriber slowdown would be temporary. According to one analyst interviewed by Reuters, the gain in average revenue per user in the fourth quarter will “more than offset” the expected cancellations from the higher prices. Another expressed optimism about the company’s plans to expand into Latin America early next year.

Wal-Mart’s answer to Netflix, Vudu, has a new home on the Walmart.com website. The retailer decided to move its video streaming and rental service to its flagship site in a bid to drum up more use as it competes with a host of other similar services. Starting Tuesday, consumers can order a DVD for mail delivery or pickup or rent or buy releases digitally directly from Wal-Mart’s website. The retailer bought the video company last year but had operated it separately until now.

Tech wrap: Facebook, Google mull Skype tie-ups

Facebook and Google are separately considering a tie-up with Skype after the Web video conferencing service delayed its initial public offering, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions told Reuters. A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, the first source said.  The discussions are in early stages, and it is not clear which option the companies favor, the first two sources said.

The Internet vigilante group Anonymous denied responsibility for a cyber-attack on Sony’s networks that exposed the personal data of more than 100 million video gamers. “Let’s be clear, we are legion, but it wasn’t us. You are incompetent Sony,” the group Anonymous said on its blog on Thursday.

Sony said the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, the first PlayStation phone, is not affected by the massive data breach of PlayStation user accounts.

from Shop Talk:

Check Out Line: Duke wins, but there’s another bracket to fill

duke1Check out a different kind of tournament bracket still underway.

The Duke Blue Devils may have won yet another college basketball title Monday night, but consumers can still make their "Sweet 16" picks in Consumerist.com's annual "Worst Company in America"  tournament, which runs through April 26.

In its fifth year, the website, owned by Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, lets consumers vote for their least favorite companies in matchups much like the NCAA tournament. Starting with 32 "teams," the tournament pairs companies in votes in which the "winner" (think about it, in a worst company vote you want to lose) advances to face the next competitor.

In the first round this year, Bank of America beat Citibank, GM beat Toyota and in an "upset" Cash4Gold beat defending "champion" AIG. Other companies that advanced included Walmart, Ticketmaster, United Airlines, Best Buy, Apple and Comcast, which has lost in the title game the last two years.

Best Buy CEO: Don’t forget the gift card

Hey Brian Dunn, CEO of gadget lover’s cathedral top electronics retailer Best Buy, what’s on your short list of five great bang-for-your-buck devices for this holiday season?
(Thanks to the CNN Money reporter for asking this question at a press conference today)

DUNN: My short list?

* (First), on my personal short list — a netbook is definitely on my short list – and by the way it’s a companion device. It’s lightweight, it’s small, it’s great to take on a quick trip.
* (Second) I think the HD Instinct is a very interesting smartphone. [Mediafile: That's Samsung's Instinct HD]
* (Third) I love my Flip HD camcorder. That’s a great piece.
* Four, I really love the Ultra Thin OLED TVs are cool. [Mediafile: Um, cool yes. Bang for Buck? At about $2,000 for an 11-inch screen, let's just leave it at cool and move on. mkay?]
* The fifth one, of course, is a gift card , that I can give to the people I love, so they can get whatever it is they want.

Well played, Brian. Well Played.

Beam me up…Barbie?

Yes, it’s true. Mattel has gone where it has already gone before, but only differently!

Pictures of Mattel’s new Star Trek Barbies were released on Wednesday causing a stir among Trekkies, eagerly anticipating Paramount’s May release of the film, “Star Trek,” chronicling the earliest days of Captain Kirk and Spock.

The toys’ images, released by CBS Consumer Products, which owns the licensing rights for Star Trek consumer products, show the three dolls, which are modeled after the three actors playing Captain Kirk, Spock, and Lieutenant Uhura in the film, which is set to be released in theatres on May 8th!

iPhone comes to Wal-Mart with $2 discount

When rumors started flying around the blogs some weeks ago that Wal-Mart was going to get its margin-squeezing mittens on Apple’s iPhone, many predicted that the retailer might offer consumers a 4GB version priced at the bargain price of $99.

Alas, that’s not true.

Wal-Mart will start selling the black 8GB iPhone on Sunday for $197, just $2 cheaper than you can get it at your local AT&T or Apple store. The 16GB model, in black or white, will be priced at $297, also $2 less than at AT&T or Apple. These prices come with a two-year AT&T contract.

Though not as cheap as some as had hoped, having the iPhone in another 2,500 stores is nothing to be sniffed at.