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Analysts Foresee Another Banner Year For Videogame Industry 205

Posted by Zonk
from the banner-that-says-money-money-money dept.
Analysts observing the videogame industry forsee 2008 being another blockbuster year in sales. Sales during the month of February were considerably up, according to the NPD group. Early in the year is historically a very slow time in the game sales calendar, making the 34% jump for the month highly significant. Grand Theft Auto IV is likely to be an engine for sales throughout the year: "The game, which will be available on the Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, is expected to boost sales of both consoles. Pre-orders have been better than expected, according to its publisher, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan, expects the game to sell about 9 million units during the company's fiscal year, which ends in October. Roughly 6 million of this, he added, will be to Xbox 360 owners."
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Analysts Foresee Another Banner Year For Videogame Industry

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:38PM (#22769386)
    From the article:
    Going strong since its launch in 2000, Sony's PlayStation 2 continued to outpace its successor. The PS2 sold 351,800 units compared with 280,800 for the PS3.

    Somehow, this indicates that the HDTV conversion isn't going according to plan.
    • Could be (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 7Prime (871679) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:43PM (#22769422) Homepage Journal
      Could be... or it could mean the 360 is just hacking into Sony's former mindshare. I think it's probably a combination of both, actually. The continued success of the Wii is probably the #1 indication that HDTV adoption (or should I say, SDTV abandonment) isn't going as planned.
      • by HalAtWork (926717)
        Wii still looks good on an HDTV. Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros Brawl, Metroid Prime 3 Corruption, all these games and more have details that are difficult to make out on an SDTV but that pop off the screen on an HDTV just due to the fact that it's in progressive scan and that the details aren't blurred together due to the use of an RCA connection or similar. The combination of interlacing and blurring really make it difficult to see even the full quality of the Wii's picture. In Mario Galaxy it's the easiest
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      From the article:

      Going strong since its launch in 2000, Sony's PlayStation 2 continued to outpace its successor. The PS2 sold 351,800 units compared with 280,800 for the PS3.

      Somehow, this indicates that the HDTV conversion isn't going according to plan.

      Not necessarily a correct conclusion. Standard def tends to look great on an HD set, probably much better than standard def on a legacy standard def set.

      This is really more about the quality of PS2 games. Lately I have been playing mostly PS2 games on my PS3 in fact. Some of them are simply amazing. For example, Shadow of the Colossus has to be seen to be believed. I only hope that games of that quality start appearing on next-gen consoles, tricked out with next-gen poly counts and physics. Kind of i

      • by Khaed (544779)
        I'm not surprised the PS3 has surpassed it in monthly sales. I'll be surprised, however, when the PS3 surpasses it in total sales. Right now, the PS3 is doing well for a variety of reasons; price drops, more games, and the 360 has really taken a beating over the hardware issues (in my 360-owning opinion). But Microsoft is somewhat of a vast evil empire, and I won't be surprised if they come up with a way to keep second place.
        • by Khaed (544779)
          I should clarify that by "more games" I mean "more available than at launch" not "more available than the 360." I'm not sure of the exact count but I'm pretty sure the 360 is still ahead here.
    • Sony's PlayStation 2 continued to outpace its successor. The PS2 sold 351,800 units compared with 280,800 for the PS3.

      It's the economy (, stupid).

      Retail price of a PlayStation 2: $130
      Retail price of a PlayStation 3: $400 and up

      Is the new console 2-3 times as much fun as the old one?

      And then there's the killer app: Guitar Hero. The game that all my non-gamer friends are addicted to.

      If you want to own the game, you can either spend $400 or more for a bundle that includes a 360 or a PS3, or about $220 for a P
  • by Viceroy Potatohead (954845) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:39PM (#22769394) Homepage
    ..but: "forsee"? Shouldn't the title be "foresee"? Apologies for spelling Nazism, usually, I don't care about that sort of thing, but it's the title, for God's sake, put in a little effort...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by causality (777677)
      By expecting something more than piss-poor quality, you have harmed the Sacred Cow (tm). You wil now be modded into oblivion, despite the fact that you are absolutely right. I'm not sure if they will use "Offtopic" or "Flamebait". Maybe I should flip a coin, although I'm guessing the fact that you are commenting ABOUT THE ARTICLE won't stop them from using "Offtopic".

      Mediocrity has become the norm, and the many people who don't understand that excellence is its own reward, or that doing something at a
      • If something is worth doing then it is worth doing correctly. Sadly that fact is lost on most of the unwashed masses that populate the Internet.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Divebus (860563)

          If something is worth doing then it is worth doing correctly.
          Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess. That's my motto and I'm sticking with it.
      • Is the article the topic or does the article discuss the topic?

        I would rather see more spelling errors and less people complaining. It hurts my brain a little to see a spelling error, but once I have seen it no amount of complaining is going to save me from it. If complaining in the forums was effective, the problem would have been solved many times over. So how about complaining to the people who can directly fix the problem? Email the editor, who can fix the problem now and hopefully do better in the futu
      • by feepness (543479)

        Mwa hahaha, that'll teach you.
        Mwahahaha does not have a space.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        People hate nitpickers like you for a very good reason. You divert the discussion away from the significant (the meat and substance of the argument) to the trivial (the incidentals of language use, spelling, trivial and often debatable grammatical points, etc.). People like you waste time and effort MUCH better spent on debating the actual content of a post. You're an annoying distraction, with little if anything to contribute to the actual discussion.
  • I'll buy that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7Prime (871679) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:40PM (#22769404) Homepage Journal
    However, GTA4 won't do it alone. I'm not sure why the article hinges on GTA4s success. GTA is a huge franchise, I'm not going to argue that, but no GTA game has outsold the Halo or Smash Bros franchises (which produced the #1 and #2 best selling games of last generation). Halo 3 saw release last year to enormous success, and so far Smash has been exceeding sales expectations this year. Combine Smash Brawl with GTA4, Mario Kart Wii, MGS4, and the remote possibility of a 2008 Final Fantasy US release (unlikely, but possible), and you have a good solid framework for 2008 sales. 2007 saw many huge things though, so I'm not sure it's as cut and dry as the article suggests, but there's a good possibility. And I'm not even going to dig into the huge Nintendo DS sales that simply defy all conventional explanation.
    • Re:I'll buy that... (Score:4, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac (639075) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:20PM (#22769924)

      I'm not sure where you're getting your numbers from, but they don't jive with what VGChartz has [vgchartz.com]. The top series from the last generation:

      - Grand Theft Auto: 41.16m units (SA: 15.36, VC: 14.20, GTA3:11.60)

      - Gran Turismo: 23.75m units(GT3:14.87, GT4:8.88)

      - Halo: 14.88m units (H1: 6.43, H2: 8.45)

      - Super Smash Bros Melee: 7.08mil

      And the list goes on and on and on. GTA was huge, followed by Gran Turismo, and then finally you get Halo. A lot of this has to do with the PS2 being the top selling console of the generation, but when a GTA game was the biggest selling game of a whole generation and the series by far the biggest of the generation, it's pretty rational to expect a ton of sales based on the name alone.

      • Just point out that Halo was released on a single console, while GTA3 and derivitives were released on at least three (PS2, Xbox, PC).

    • by p0tat03 (985078)
      Actually... I think the top franchise of the last generation is still The Sims... sadly. This is also somewhat hilarious, given how badly the *rest* of the PC gaming industry is doing...
      • by 7Prime (871679)
        Maybe all combined, but I was talking single games. Halo 2 and Smash Bros Mele were the best selling games of last generation.
    • no GTA game has outsold the Halo or Smash Bros franchises

      Except for GTA:San Andreas (15.36M), GTA:Vice City (14.20M) and GTA:III (11.60M) of course, which ALL sold better than either Halo I (6.43M), Halo II(8.45M), Halo III (7.41M), Super Smash Brothers (5.55M) or Smash Brothers Melee (7.08M) Smash Brothers Brawl (1.50M so far). Unless you're comparing single GTA games to whole franchises in which case GTA:SA and GTA:VC beat every smash brothers game put together.

      My references of course are here [vgchartz.com]. I kno

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pthor1231 (885423)
      They already have had a Final Fantasy release, it's just not called Final Fantasy, its Lost Odyssey. It's created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the same one who made the original Final Fantasy and every single one since, plus a boatload of other awesome games (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hironobu_Sakaguchi). It even has Nobuo Uematsu doing the music as well. Frickin awesome is all I can say.
      • Seconded; Lost Odyssey really is a Final Fantasy game. It's done in the 7/8/9 style; random battles, materia links, and so on, but with more modern sensabilities; no level grinding, for example.

        Also, not to spoil anything, as you figure it out pretty damn quickly, as in the opening cutscene, but the main character is Immortal. And he's lost quite a bit of his memory. So, as you go through the game, he recalls memories, in the form of dreams.

        If you choose to view the dream that he's just remembered (o

  • Not shocking.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879)
    The only time the gaming industry doesn't have a "banner" year is usually right before the new platforms launch. Right now there are 3 "current-gen" platforms selling big, with big games coming out, that charge big bucks. Wii will keep being a mega-hit, Xbox360 will continue to dominate PS3 because of Xbox Live, and sony will keep its share with PSP/Blu-Ray(/PS3). PS2's hugest edge over orginal Xbox was game selection, with that gone Xbox is showing some of its strenghts.
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)
      Well, in recent years (or perhaps in your lifetime, if you're under 30). But a few of us geezers remember not only the lack of banner years in video gaming, but outright crashes of the market. I'm being pedantic, though, I suppose. I'll presume you implied "in recent years"...

      You're correct, though. It's likely we may see a downturn as near the end of this generation's lifetime, as gamers are less enthusiastic about investing in last-generation's games. However, we shouldn't have to worry about this fo
      • by Zeussy (868062)
        The thing that I find a lot of people don't seem to see with the console wars (which you do seem to see), is that Microsoft is in it for the long haul to crush Sony and have the pockets to do so. Even though Sony are a massive firm, with a huge revenue their profits are not all the much. Sony of course are not going anywhere anytime soon, and have the home Japanese market that is almost impenetrable to outside companies. Microsoft wants a firm grip on NA and EU and they currently have a pretty strong one.
        Wi
        • by Belial6 (794905)
          I don't remember the 82/83 crash. All I remember was that everybody was shifting platforms from the Atari to the C64. If there is a game crash, it my be far worse than what you saw in 82/83, as it is unlikely to just be a platform switch for gaming. Maybe people would go back to the PC, but I think that would be recognized as a platform shift this time around.
      • "I think it's actually healthier to keep the three-way competition going strong"

        In video games market economics does not necessarily apply. Consider some of the best era's of video gaming were the NES and SNES era, and the snes era in terms of quality games, when PS1 came around with the CD rom, the library just moved between platforms (what was previous on Nintendo now was on playstation), if you follow the long standing game series on different systems the library and franchises just move from platform t
        • by Dutch Gun (899105)
          I think you're contradicting yourself. You claim that "in video games market economics does not necessarily apply", yet you then claim that with the PS1, the library just moved between platforms. Nintendo didn't go away. So... exactly *why* did the games jump ship? Answer: the Sony PlayStation offered a more attractive platform to developers. How exactly is that not competition?

          I may have a slightly different perspective on this, as I'm a developer in the games industry. Consumers don't necessarily se
          • Sony usurped nintendo because nintendo made a dire mistake (didn't understand technology), in this "competition" it was quite artificial. I should have qualified the comment "Market economics does not necessarily apply", with 'it is more complex then 'simple' economics'.

            Human beings have a tendency to see their ideas in everything and backwards rationalize it, any perceived called 'improvement' as a 'force of the market', rather then 1) Supply being available from amount of time worked, oversight, error, e
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Sony usurped nintendo because nintendo made a dire mistake (didn't understand technology), in this "competition" it was quite artificial. I should have qualified the comment "Market economics does not necessarily apply", with 'it is more complex then 'simple' economics'.

              No. Sony usurped Nintendo for exactly one reason: they remembered how the market and the business model works.

              To make a long story short, the Nintendo model had these main points:

              1. Games come on cartridges
              2. We, Nintendo, make the cartridg
  • by NuclearError (1256172) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:50PM (#22769468)
    It's interesting how high sales are despite a stalled economy. Maybe it's cheaper to sit at home and play video games instead of going out, given the price of gas.
    • by 7Prime (871679) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:57PM (#22769500) Homepage Journal
      interesting point. Watch as movie theater revenues plummit and game sales sky rocket. Average movie length: 2 hours. Average game length: 30-50 hours. Which is the more ecconomical entertainment medium? Games, by a long shot. Less trips to Blockbuster or the Cinemaplex means less money wasted on gas.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I always find the cost-per-unit-time argument somewhat curious. You can pick up a copy of Ulysses from a used book store for something around $2. It will keep you occupied for 40-50 hours. Yet more people will probably play GTA4 or see Indiana Jones this year than the total number of Americans who have ever read Ulysses in their lives. U. p. up. What kind of perfume does your wife use.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mobby_6kl (668092)
        > Watch as movie theater revenues plummit and game sales sky rocket.

        You mean, like this [slashdot.org]?
      • by grumbel (592662)

        Average game length: 30-50 hours.
        More like 10-20 hours, sometimes even less. The only thing that goes into the 30h are RPGs, everything with a bit of action can be happy to make it past the 10h mark.
        • by 7Prime (871679)
          You're kidding right? Most adventure games (which is the vast majority of action games these days, even most FPSs) are into the 40-60 hour mark. Hell, even the last Zelda was around 60 hours in length. Even Smash Bros single player mode took me 12 hours to complete on easy, and that's by-in-large a game centered around multiplayer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I used to spend like £80 on a night out about 3 times a week here in the UK a few years back. Then I went back to playing Ultima Online followed by Dark Age of Camelot and suddenly my entertainment costs dropped to like £9.95 a month or whatever it was for subs, life certainly got a whole lot cheaper that's for sure ;)

      £900+ a month down to £9.95 was quite the jump and I didn't even have to lose friends because I got them hooked too! ;)

      Expenditure has gone back up for me nowadays as I
    • Going out all the time isn't cheap. One of my friends got hooked on World of Warcraft and commented about how much money it had saved him. Why? Well prior to that, his normal weekend was occupied by going out to things like a movie, a bar and so on. Real easy for a single weekend to add up to $50 without doing anything extravagant. However when he started playing WoW, his typical weekend was holed up at home playing games. Despite the monthly charge, he was saving money, and not a small amount.
      • by MaWeiTao (908546)
        Maybe so, but I'd argue the quality of his entertainment has suffered. World of Warcraft is a fun game but it's nothing compared to having a good time with friends, in person.
    • Or maybe it's even simpler than that. Remember that we're talking only February sales here, not year long.

      Traditionally almost all games were released for Christmas or Easter, with almost nothing released in between. February was probably the worst hit, because anything that couldn't make it for a Christmas release (meaning usually it couldn't even make it to the main menu, because otherwise it would have been released anyway for that all-important Christmas buying season) was delayed all the way until East
    • by vertinox (846076)
      It's interesting how high sales are despite a stalled economy. Maybe it's cheaper to sit at home and play video games instead of going out, given the price of gas.

      I think Buffet said when there is a recession is to pick recession proof stocks like food and alcohol companies. Perhaps video games are also a recession proof industry due to the fact unemployed people tend to scrounge up enough to buy them since they are sitting at home anyways.
  • generally speaking, I don't like banner years. This [mozilla.org] may be helpful...
  • by boomka (599257) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:45PM (#22769788) Homepage Journal
    It is very likely that economy is sliding into depression. No record sales in such environment, sorry. Wall Street has been convulsing in a crisis for 6 month now, and things are getting worse by the day. We just had one of the largest investment banks collapse on Friday [blogspot.com]. Events of such significance have not happened since the Great Depression, and don't for a second assume this will not pull the broader economy down.
    • Yet the Republican party (especially Bush himself) is running around claiming the economy is "Fundamentally Sound." Sorry, we've heard that song and dance before, Herbert Hoover spouted the same bullshit after Black Thursday, and for the next several years http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5063/ [gmu.edu].

      It is astonishing just how fast Laissez-Faire and deregulation causes unrestrained capitalism to self destruct. We'll have gone from reasonably well-regulated, stable Social democracy with an acceptably egalitar

    • Except that games are cheap. People need entertainment, even in recessions. If money is tight, expect high prices entertainment like trips to a movie theater to go down, and spending on games where you can get hundreds of hours of entertainment for your purchase to go up.
      • Well that and the analysts predicting the good game year are probably using some real forecasting, rather than doomsday crap. I'm sure you've noticed by now that Slashdot, like many web forums, is inhabited by a bunch of people who are real "The world is coming to and end!" types. They look for and believe news that everything is going downhill in whatever their chosen doomsday scenario is, and the economy is not surprisingly one of them.

        I'm going to guess the industry analysts are a little more grounded in
    • Entertainment always does well in a recession/depression. Perhaps a little historical revision is due. People stop putting gas in their cars, stop paying their mortgages/rents/credit cards, stop buying clothes, but yet they still manage to find a few dollars for "escapism". It used to be Hollywood films - the box offices did quite well in the "Great Depression", but now I think you could add computer games to that category.

      And yes, I'm a day trader, I follow the news, I know about the 25 basis point cut and
  • The sales figures surpassed what many analysts were expecting. Game hardware sales rose 19 percent during the month to $480 million, NPD said late Thursday. Of this, the portable Nintendo DS was the best-seller with 587,600 units, followed by the Wii at 432,000. The Xbox 360 sold 254,600 units even amid supply constraints.

    Going strong since its launch in 2000, Sony's PlayStation 2 continued to outpace its successor. The PS2 sold 351,800 units compared with 280,800 for the PS3.

    It's so funny to read the comments on here sometimes. How do so many people miss that the two best selling platforms, by far, are the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii? Even the Playstation 2 is outselling the XBox 360 and PS3!

    I'm sure the next GTA will be a popular game, as will Metal Gear. But c'mon, the 360 and PS3 aren't driving this train - and it's not even close.

    • by bendodge (998616)
      Why are consoles the only thing that count? I don't even have a console, but I dropped $40 for CNC3. Red Alert 3 is supposed to be coming out this year, and it looks awesome. Won't that generate a lot of sales? Are PC games really such a minority?
      • by Zelos (1050172)
        I can't find any exact figures now, but the console market is many times the size of the PC market these days. I've seen interviews with people from companies like Epic saying "the PC market is basically World of Warcraft and the Sims", hence their increased focus on console platforms.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by denton420 (1235028)
      What you have said is true. I feel that it is important to note that this signals an important shift in the gaming industry that is happening faster than ever. These numbers support the fact that gaming is heading more towards the mainstream market (As it has been doing since its inception, has it not?) where price is king and most video game purchases are made at wal-mart by people who dont know what a polygon is or what quality textures add to a game. It is nice to see the masses making video games a l
  • I originally wanted an XBox360 over a PS3, GTA IV is coming out for both. But with Blu-Ray winning and the PS3's backward compatability with PS2 games (well the 60GB and 20GB anyway), I picked up a 60GB PS3 on eBay for a decent price. I'm very happy with it overall, except it won't play all my video files. Wireless controllers and HD rule. Motorstorm is a blast. Pieced together a Rock Band set for about $50, drums, mic, game. Will get a guitar later, I mostly wanted to drum.

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