Personal Finance

Sales of Microsoft’s Xbox One neck and neck with those of Sony’s PlayStation 4

Neck and neck

Microsoft said sales of the new $499 Xbox One video game console reached more than 2 million in its first 18 days on the market. That about matches Sony’s early results for its $399 PlayStation 4. Sony said Dec. 3 that it had sold 2.1 million of its machines since they went on sale Nov. 15 in North America. Microsoft and Sony are trying to attract gamers against a backdrop of declining console sales. From 2008 to 2012, the market shrank 32 percent to $13.3 billion, according to researcher NPD Group.

Ikea lamp recall

Ikea is recalling millions of children’s lamps following the death of a child who choked on the lamp’s cord. Another child was injured. The Smila series of wall-mounted children’s lamps were sold at Ikea from 1999 through May 2013 for $10 to $13. To determine if their lamp was involved in the recall, consumers can find the model name printed on a label on the inside back of the lamp near the light bulb.

Speaking of sales

National Public Radio’s Planet Money program found that video game sales topped movie ticket revenues in 2012 but that movies keep making money — lots more money — after their initial runs. So although Grand Theft Auto V

was the fastest-selling entertainment product of all time, with sales of $1 billion in three days, movies overall take in a lot more money considering ticket sales, DVD releases, streaming fees and other revenue streams. The 2012 totals, according to PWC Research, were about $22 billion for movies and $12 billion for video games.

Thumbs down

Nearly half of Americans, 48 percent, oppose allowing cellphones to be used for voice calls during commercial flights, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Just 19 percent are in favor, with the rest neutral or undecided. Among those who have taken more than one flight in the past year, 59 percent are against allowing calls on planes. The Federal Communications Commission will officially start its debate today on whether to remove the agency’s 22-year-old ban on in-flight calls.

Deliveries by the Bay’s AmazonFresh grocery delivery service is rolling into San Francisco, apparently passing its test in Los Angeles and Seattle. The service provides same-day and early-morning delivery of more than 500,000 Amazon products, including fresh groceries and local items. Other companies have been expanding their online grocery delivery services for customers who want to avoid the supermarket. Competitors include FreshDirect, Instacart, Peapod and Safeway. AmazonFresh shipping is free for orders over $35, but users have to pay $299 a year for the service. Amazon is giving customers in San Francisco a free 30-day trial.