Category Archives: Entertainment

A PlayStation 3 Price Cut Looming!?! Who Could Have Foreseen This?

You heard it here first, ladies and gentleman! My previous post on March 31st of this year, Despite Sony’s Denial, PS3 Price Cut Inevitable, says it all. Here’s a quick recap:

March 30th: Sony executives cut the price of the PS2 but adamantly denied that they would even think about cutting the price of the PS3, despite economic conditions.

In response, I said that unemployment would keep rising. As a result, more parents would be home with their kids, Nintendo Wii would become even more popular – it’s already the most popular of the 3 consoles due to its social and family oriented platform and games – which would continue to put pressure on Sony and PS3. As such, a price cut for the PS3 would be announced by Christmas time at the absolute the latest.

Mario gets a new life

Fast forward to the NPD report released late yesterday evening regarding video-game sales for the month of April. Now, sales of just about everything got hit, especially hardware and console sales, but just take a look at the numbers. According to the report, Nintendo Wii sold roughly 340,000 units, which is just under twice as many as the 175,000 Xbox 360’s that sold in April. But it’s almost 3 times as many units sold as the 127,000 PlayStation 3’s! So what do Sony execs announce today? Price cuts may be coming.

Oh how quick Sony changes its tune when sentiment about this economic “rally” we’ve been having turns just a bit sour. Keep in mind, on March 31st, the markets, stocks, and economic indicators had all been moving in the right direction, (finally!) for 3 weeks straight. And the stock price – my goodness! – Sony (NYSE: SNE) had gone from as low as $15.64 on March 9th to as high as $21.35 on March 30th, the day they made their emphatic denial regarding a price cut. I mean I get it, you know, regaining 36% in your stock in 3 weeks, that’ll make you feel a little arrogant, a little powerful. I get it. But now that rally is flattening out, and today’s reversal by the electronics powerhouse is quite possibly the purest lesson anyone in business can learn about the hubris of success.

When you’re on top, plan for the dips and don’t get cocky! When things look dismal, keep your head because that’s when fortunes are made. Looks like Sony had a problem with the former, while Nintendo’s been focused on the latter. Despite, the 43% drop in sales on a month-over-month basis, Nintendo Wii was still the number one selling system, and the top four selling games in April…all made by Nintendo. Seems as though their strategy of focusing on the social and personal aspects of usage that a player can get out of the Nintendo Wii console is working in bringing Nintendo out of eternal adolescence and into adulthood, as Nintendo products and games have been widely known to be void of extreme and graphic violence, and catering mostly to the younger generation of gamers.

The new Nintendo, all growed up, certainly doesn’t seem shy anymore when it comes to blood, guts, and gore, just take a look at the recently released MadWorld. Just to give you a sense of it, you have to enter your birthdate into this GameStop website link before you can watch a video of or even about the game. (I love it!) I have to admit, I was and still am a diehard PS3 fan, or “fanboy,” or whatever you want to call it, but even I broke down a few weeks ago, and added to Nintendo’s sales numbers when I got my own Wii along with MadWorld, and a few other games and accessories. I know, I know, for hardcore PS3 players and advocates, this is akin to joining the Dead Rabbits” while living in the Five Points, but I have a pre-teen little brother that I look after often, and a girlfriend that used to complain about video games, but couldn’t stop playing Mario Galaxy at Best Buy, even after we were done with our purchases.

Nintendo Wii + games and accessories = $400.

Playing Mario Kart with your girlfriend and little brother for hours while reminiscing about your childhood – when you looked like you were having a seizure, jumping and moving with the 64-bit characters of the original NES or Sega Genesis (when it certainly didn’t help move the characters the way it does with a Wii) = priceless!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love and play games on my PS3. But right now, Wii definitely has the “1-Up” in my household. However, for those that want and don’t have a PlayStation 3 due to its high price, it’s certainly looking more like a price cut of at least $100 could be here by Summer’s end. Maybe even Sony will try to create some of its own “fireworks” for the Fourth of July…

Mario hits a homerun!

Mario hits a homerun!

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Despite Sony’s Denial, PS3 Price Cut Inevitable

Slimmer, Sleaker PS2 now $99.99

Slimmer, Sleaker PS2 now $99.99

Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) today announced that starting tomorrow, April 1, Playstation 2 will be available for $99.99. Playstation 2 is not only the best-selling console ever, with over 140 million units sold by mid 2008, but it is also the fastest-selling console as well, reaching 100 million units sold within 5 years and 9 months.

I remember when the word Playstation first started to become a household name. Nintendo and Sega had been the dominant players in the video game industry for decades, and there was a ton of doubt surrounding whether Sony, which had been dominant in overall electronics retail, had the ability to compete with the “big boys” in the video game wars, without having enough industry experience and know how. Aside from the stiff competition, it is well-known that the hardware side of video gaming is typically a losing endeavor for the companies that produce the consoles, as it costs more for the company to produce them than the price they receive at sale. However, large profit margins made on software sales, combined with much more significant volume of game sales, more than makes up for the losses experienced on hardware. But at that time, there was also talk of problems with coding on the software end of Sony’s new venture, which only added to mounting skepticism over the new console’s fate.

Even after the overwhelming success of Playstation, and its variant PSone – which combined, was the first console to ever reach sales of 100 million units, – Sony faced the same skepticism when rumors of their plans for the second generation, Playstation 2 console, hit the press. Launched at the turn of the century in the year 2000, Playstation 2, as mentioned, is now the fastest selling console ever, reaching 100 million units sold in almost half the time it took for the original Playstation to hit that mark.

With todays announcement regarding not just the price cut, but also the deep bench of more than 100+ titles slated to be added to its game arsenal just this year, it’s no surprise that almost 10 years later, Playstation 2 is showing no signs of slowing down in popularity. Aside from that, Director of Hardware Marketing, John Koller, is quoted in this article as having stated, “We don’t intend on discarding the system any time soon.” Meanwhile, direct competitors, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube – both released a year after Playstation 2 – were discontinued in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Based on all that, I’d say Sony has certainly proven the naysayers wrong regarding their ability to enter and dominate the video game industry, or perhaps even any sub-industry within consumer electronics, without having gleamed prior industry experience or know how.

Sony’s newest generation console, Playstation 3, however, has sorely lagged behind its predecessors in terms of sales volume and popularity, mostly due to it having the highest price point of all the newest game systems at $399.99.

Special Edition Gun Metal Grey 40GB PS3 Metal Gear Solid 4 Bundle

Special Edition Gun Metal Grey 40GB PS3 Metal Gear Solid 4 Bundle

With the price of the PS2 being cut today, along with Sony’s recent weaker-than-expected earnings announcement, all in the midst of the current economic recession, some serious pressure has been mounting for a big drop in the price of the PS3. Most argue that a $50-$100 price cut would make the PS3 much more competitive with current console-sales leaders, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. Despite absolute denial of the corporation’s willingness to do so, recent news of technological advances within the industry, like the rumor-heavy OnLive service set to launch soon, as well as rising popularity of the other competing consoles, I’d say a PS3 price cut this year is inevitable. With unemployment looking to continue rising, which means more and more parents staying home with their children, Nintendo Wii, which is the cheapest and is widely accepted as the most family and socially oriented of all the current systems, may have an opportunity to take a significant amount of market share away from Sony during the upcoming summer months, when kids are out school and playing video games more than ever. If Sony remains stubborn on price throughout the summer, I have no doubt that an ’09 Christmas price cut could be the company’s last option in an effort to keep PS3 competitive with Wii and Xbox 360. If that were to happen, I think the war over which console is best, Wii, 360, or PS3, would come to an abrupt end with a nice three-peat for Sony. Power to the Players!

Captain “Shook” and Cruella “Nay-Pill”

Arionna Huffington, as usual, pins the proverbial tail intelligently on these donkeys when she calls them “cartoon characters,” and right now I’m just happy to feel like a kid again, watching “cartoons” all-day. LOL!

Check out her blog at The Huffington Post. Make a comment and lend to the conversation. I did.

See Captain Shook apologize to Rush Limbaugh

Click here to see "Captain 'Shook's'" "bitch-ass move."

 

An entire page dedicated to the ridiculousness personfied as Sarah Palin aka Cruella Nay-Pill

Click here for the entire page dedicated to the ridiculousness personified as Sarah Palin aka Cruella "Nay-Pill"

Planet Green Provides Solutions

(Vince supports a green planet.)

("Vince" supports a green planet.)

My girlfriend’s mother recently made me aware of a new channel on cable called Planet Green, and I haven’t been able to stop watching! The following information is directly from the planetgreen.com website:

About Planet Green
Planet Green is the first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network with a robust online presence and community. Launched in June 2008, our on-air content reaches 50 million homes, offering more than 250 hours of original green lifestyle programming. Both online and on-air, Planet Green’s content is entertaining, relevant, and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. By representing a broad range of ideas and perspectives, Planet Green is taking an active role in generating conversation and motivating individuals to take action when it comes to improving the environmental status of our planet.

Through Time Warner Cable in NYC, Planet Green is channel 114. This addition to cable television is not just an alternative to much of the mindless “reality” shows, and ‘celebrity gossip” dedicated programming that seems to dominate right now, but it’s also extremely educational. Children of all ages will find a wealth of information and inspiration for things from Science Projects to book reports on the issues that will only become more and more relevant, especially for them. Parents may also gain an arsenal of activities in which to participate that may be available in your own neighborhood, for you and your family to take part in helping make your community or your own personal home more sustainable and energy-efficient. It’s exciting to see how easily and creatively people are coming up with the alternatives and ground-breaking answers that can help solve the biggest problems our planet faces today. Not everyone has to be a so-called “green/sustainability/organic fanatic,” but Planet Green does give you the information you need to know that can help you become more efficient, save money for yourself and your family, and make less of an impact on your environment at the same time. We all need to pitch in at least a little. Gold Star for Discovery Communications, Inc. on this one.

Click here to enjoy some clips from Renovation Nation, and other great shows on Planet Green.

Jon Stewart Conducts the Modern Day “Frost/Nixon” Interview!

Yesterday was truly an amazing day for American history!

First off, Bernie Madoff went to court and tried to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with his sob story of a guilty plea, but the judge wasn’t having it! More on that later.

Last night, Jon Stewart exposed not just Jim Cramer for the Krustonian Clown that he really is, but also CNBC as the Stanford Group/Madoff Securities of the “Financial News” media that they truly are, all in one interview!

Jim Cramer Wants to Make You Money? Yeah Right!

Jim Cramer Wants You for Cramerica!

The scene of Stewart “training all day” for the interview is personally reminiscent of my own time studying for the Series 7 some time ago, so I particularly enjoyed that. Then we see how Doughboy Cramer prepared for the interview – by baking with Martha Stewart and pounding dough with a rolling pin in true Neanderthal fashion, after Martha suggests he think of the dough as Jon Stewart. Stewart responds with the comment, “Mr. Cramer, don’t you destroy enough dough on your own show?”

 

Once Jim Cramer stepped out onto that stage though, it wasn’t exactly war immediately, as Stewart let Jim know that none of his previous comments about CNBC and its coverage of financial news had ever been aimed directly at Jim Cramer. He in fact later informs Cramer that he feels bad that Cramer has become sort of the face of what Jon Stewart has been vehemently and very precisely attacking. Cramer certainly accepted that he understood Stewart’s point and agreed that in the current environment, CNBC and he himself, was “fair game” for criticism. Once all those “courtesies” were taken care of, it was certainly “ON!” and all the fun and games stopped, as Jon Stewart conducted the interview like Jack McCoy trying to squeeze a dirty witness into a deal for more information on the “Big Fish.” And Stewart was out to reel in CNBC and its reputation as a credible financial news media outlet. The war was on!

Stewart hits him with the evidence: clips from a December 22, 2006 interview that was obviously never meant for TV, as Jim Cramer clearly states in the interview that he is making statements and revealing things about his own activity as a former Hedge Fund Manager that he cannot say on television!

 

The Statements: I can’t even say that Cramer all but admit to futures trading manipulation – which is just as simple and illegal as manipulating the trading of a low-volume stock (see the movie Boiler Room) – but that’s exactly what he admitted to doing. That’s why he can’t say it on TV! “Welcome to Mad Money. The show where I tell you what will make you do what we CEO’s need you to do in order for stocks to move in the direction we want it to move in, and yes sometimes that direction is down.” That just wouldn’t work as a marketing scheme, and Cramer, stumbling and stammering like a lion on ice skates, readily tried to use marketing as an excuse for why he acts the way he does and does the “crazy Bull(Bleep)  I see [him] do every night” as Jon Stewart so rightfully and eloquently put it.

 

 

The Meeting (And the Proverbial “Nail in the Coffin: Stewart had Cramer so off-guard from the beginning of the interview with those video clips, that it was a side of Jim Cramer that I’m sure too many Americans were not used to seeing, and were probably pretty worried to see –and we should all be worried! Jim was stuttering and stammering like Jimmy, from South Park, trying to defend himself and his Network, CNBC,  just like the guys on Law & Order that try to hold out on McCoy – like we don’t know they’re gonna get broken down to where they end up revealing every element of the crime. Feeling the heat from Stewart’s poignant, targeted, incriminating questions, Cramer readily admit that he as well as others could have all done a “better job” – spotting the oncoming crisis, calling out the mistakes that were made, and doing their own due diligence on the information they received from corporations (and they frequently receive “insider information”– “Absolutely, I truly wish we had done more.”

Then he goes into this spiel about how he tries to be “truthful” on his show, and expose “these guys” as much as possible, still oblivious to the fact that he admitted to being one of “these guys” during those clips at the beginning of the interview.

 

But then he surprised me and everyone else with enough financial knowledge to know that there’s a reason why you don’t say certain things on TV or anywhere that you can be recorded saying it for that matter. It’s the same reason why you take the 5th on the stand. But Cramer – I guess because he, like Madoff and most other people who have been running scam-like enterprises, got drunk off the illusionary power that enterprise (his show) created, that he felt as if he was a made of Teflon – didn’t plead the 5th! He continued trying to play this investor advocate role, talking about how he readily bad-mouths CEO’s and companies that make mistakes and don’t do well for their investors, as he proceeds to implicate himself in a grand scheme of manipulation of insider information using his show as a vehicle!

 

Thinking he’s in line for the Academy Award for this performance, he opens up and goes into a story about a meeting he had with one such CEO, whom he had previously admonished on his show. Without going into the details of the meeting, Cramer – in true Blagojevich fashion – tells a lot more than he probably should have and seems to be realizing it as he’s telling Jon Stewart how this meeting basically compelled him to refrain from talking down that CEO on subsequent shows. Now you don’t need to be a lawyer, a DA, or a Law & Order fanatic like myself to know that Jim Cramer must have gotten something to have readily gone against his own previous rebuke of a stock or CEO. Obviously, Cramer wouldn’t want you to think he received money in exchange for his silence and cooperation, and he’s probably smart enough not to accept any “money” so as not to leave himself open to easy interrogation. So, Cramer’s implication, what he wants you to believe, is that the CEO of that company gave him some “information” about the company that put him “at ease” about whatever it is that caused him to rant negatively in the first place. And therein lies the rub, because chances are, it wasn’t information, it was “money,” or “gifts,” or “favors,” whatever you want to call it.

 

Let’s say it was information though. Most likely, that “information” was inside information, which is info that only company officers, directors, and other high level employees or partners would be privy to, as it is non-public information. If that is the case, then my belief is that a strong case can be made against Cramer, and possibly CNBC, for stock manipulation and a form of insider trading, at least manipulation of insider information. Jim Cramer already provided all of the evidence!

 

If I was meeting with CEO’s and buying stock in their companies, and a good majority of investors out there watched my show, hell yeah I’d use it to manipulate perceptions as much as I could to my benefit, the same way I’d take a bag of money out of an open unguarded safe.  What Jim Cramer does however, is equivalent to putting on a guard’s uniform and telling people that the open safe is secure because he’s guarding it for you, more people come and put their money in the safe, and when it’s packed nice and tight, he slams the door shut and makes off with the money, in search of another area or arena where he will be able to pull off the same scheme over and over and over again. It’s criminal how he’s able to get away with it, and he and all that help these “shadow government” wheels go ‘round should be held responsible for their actions.

 

Now I know most likely, that this will not happen, and that’s because the Wall Street “Back Room” that Jon Stewart alludes to is real and is in power, running this whole game. The American Financial markets (and the Healthcare and Social Security Systems for that matter) is nothing but a nationwide Ponzi scheme authorized and run from the highest levels. We invest our hard earned money in these companies, whether we want to or not. Just working at a company that trades publicly means that your 401K is invested in the market through them, on your behalf. Individual and Online Investors, can only purchase a handful of all financial products. The rest, especially the “sophisticated” ones, you have to buy or sell through a financial institution aka a brokerage firm. Then, with our 401K, IRA, and pension accounts financing the whole show, these institutions trade with each other as much as possible, constantly turning over (churning and burning) our accounts – which now combine to be lump sums of billions, even trillions of dollars – for them to take bets as risky as possible, and then manipulate and control the markets so that those ridiculously risky (no risk, no reward!), overleveraged bets actually do end up working out through their own magical “invisible hands,” – thier hands in our accounts/pockets! Then you have CNBC and guys like Cramer, Kudlow, and the whole CNBC crew, who all think of themselves as modern day Ruggedo‘s, feeding us the information that fuels the very rumors these company CEO’s and Directors want to use to perpetuate this “Oz-ian Fantasy Land,” where we can all make “Fast Money,” to manipulate any and everyone involved if it will lead to more profits.

This type of manipulation of the American public is 100% legal. It’s the American Way!

 

*Watch the uncensored version of the interview here.

 

The only good thing that may have come about as a result of the Bush Administration is that he and his posse made the abuses perpetrated on the poor and middle class by the American Upper class so blatant, flagrant, and out in the open that he may just end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back. As more and more information about what went on during his “Animal House” of an administration, hopefully we as Americans will continue to wake up from our greed/profit-induced slumber, and will continue to awaken to the presence of the modern-day financial “matrix” where the few control the behavior of the masses. Just like our current banking system, we are the living dead, afforded just enough to keep trucking along in this zombie-like state, as our pensions, 401K’s, and nest eggs are raped and pilaged, traded hundreds of times over for sport. Just like Morpheus says in The Matrix, it is hard to tell how people will react to finding out that the world that have become used to is nothing like what it seems. No one enjoys finding out that they are being manipulated, taken advantage of, and ultimately “you are a slave.” Jon Stewart should be commended for his targeted, well publicized assassination of Jim Cramer “the financial guru”, and for revealing Cramer as a bozo-the-clown like, wild and crazy financial version of Pee-Wee Herman that he is – going nuts in his “Cramerican Play House” during the day, while meeting with shady characters to conduct underhanded, devilish, back-alley deals behind the scenes. Cramer, your hands are just as dirty as those of Dick Fuld, Henry Paulson, and all these brokers and managers at these financial institutions that when they knew their assets weren’t worth anything, used the guise of international investments to spread this garbage around the globe. To pretend as if you are an advocate of the “ordinary American” is not just “disingenuous,” it is criminal, and one way or another, your chickens will hopefully come back to roost. Only time will tell.

“I Know Grimace, and Hamburglar…”

A friend of mine sent this link to me, and I was laughing so hard, I literally couldn’t breathe.

Poor Rick Ross, but he should have known not to go at 50 Cent. This is what 50 came into the game doing, and it’s what has allowed him to last so long. Hate him or love him, you can’t say he ain’t funny.