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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

ESA Provides Software Stats, Downplays Mature Titles 24

Thanks to the Entertainment Software Association for its press release revealing a multitude of statistics about U.S. videogame sales in 2003. The overview seems to be that "combined sales for computer and video games exceeded $7 billion for the first time ever, and that a record number of console video games sold more than 500,000 and one million units", and console game players "...most often purchased action (27.1%), sports (17.6 %), and racing titles (15.7%), role-playing games (8.7%), fighting games (6.9%), family entertainment (4.7%), and shooter games (4.6%)." ESA president Doug Lowenstein also downplayed the impact of controversial mature-rated games, noting: "The fact that 44 of the 49 games that sold more than half a million units were rated E [Everyone] or T [Teen] reflects the fact that this industry is producing... content appropriate for people of all ages." Update: 01/26 23:26 GMT by S : The NPD Group, who originated the study, has further information in a press release, noting software sales "remained largely unchanged over the previous year's record-breaking performance", and including the Top 10 PC and console titles for the year.
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ESA Provides Software Stats, Downplays Mature Titles

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  • Numbers Lie (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just because half a million games sold, doesn't mean that they are worth it, I know many people in stores looking at games and say, hmmm, i wonder what this game is, the box looks cool, let me get it, without ever reading reviews or getting recommendations or anything. One main thing i always will remember is sex sells, and so i am a bit skeptical about these numbers and the point of this posting.
    • Re:Numbers Lie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by angst_ridden_hipster ( 23104 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @09:02PM (#8095122) Homepage Journal
      Yes, but to tie this in to the numbers that they're so hot to compare to ...

      Look at movies. Some movies do really, really well, even though they suck.

      Internet discussion boards, email, and SMS reduce this phenomenon through widespread, rapid word-of-mouth. But people who buy games based on the box are probably similar to people who go into movies based on the poster (or maybe even the theatrical trailer).

      So numbers aren't really telling a lie. They're just not telling you what you might think they're telling you.

    • "One main thing i always will remember is sex sells, and so i am a bit skeptical about these numbers and the point of this posting."

      The question isn't "Does sex sell?" It's "Does anything BUT sex sell?" and further "How much of what is sold is sold because of sex?"

      In the eighteenth century and before, you know, people would argue with proverbs. In urging someone to not buy something, someone might say "A penny saved is a penny earned," and then the potential buyer might reply "Penny wise, pound foolish"

  • The M rated games... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Toxygen ( 738180 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:26PM (#8093964) Journal
    ...are the most warezed.
  • by MiceHead ( 723398 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:44PM (#8094159) Homepage
    They left out games that fell under their A0 (Adult Only) rating, which according to their numbers made up about 3.6% of the "games that sold." I'm not sure if this is by units sold (in which case adult games sold 8.6 million units), percentage of titles offered via retail, or by sales (in which case "adult" games sold $252 million last year).
  • Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AzraelKans ( 697974 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:20PM (#8094547) Homepage
    Now this looks like an interesting research instead of hearing the "my console is winning" cries from fanboys this are hard cold numbers who have little to argue about.
    However I wouldnt take those as a forecast of the numbers for this year. (except for the ps2 who most probably will continue to dominate the market) you have to realize they are based on the best selling titles of this year which were E to T rated. (Only ETM and GTA figured on the list as M titles) The most important M rated titles for last year were delayed. Doom 3, Half life 2, DNF (just kidding) Ninja Gaiden, Halo 2. If those titles are actually released this year, the balance might turn. Plus those titles were for the consoles that shown bad numbers for this year (the PC and the Xbox) so the ball is on their side this year.

    They are lessons to be learned from this statistics, but I wouldnt take it as "M rated games wont sell" or the classic "the PC and the XBOX are going down Nintendo is going up" fanboy rant. The messages are on the lines Old but good franchises still sell (a lot), games that are controversial (and good) have a place in the market (weither congressmen like it or not) and making a movie tie in is still a risky business from all the movie games out this year only 1 was an enourmous success. (spite of its quality).
    • Plus those titles were for the consoles that shown bad numbers for this year (the PC and the Xbox)

      Uhh... the PC isn't a console. It's quite different, in many respects. Technically the XBox is a console (you can tell, because the games are poor in quality and have cludgy controls).

      Unfortunately, these numbers do represent the change in the gaming arena... despite the fact that PC games are selling as well as they ever used to, consoles have grown so huge that companies now only see the PC as 10% of th
      • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

        by scot4875 ( 542869 )
        low, buggy standards of console gaming

        Not meaning to flame you or anything, but what are you smoking?

        I've been playing console games since the early 80s and PC games since the late 80s. I've never played a buggy console game. (That's not to say that they don't exist, but for the most part any good title will have no noticable bugs) Until very, very recently, the only buggy games available were on the patch-friendly PC.

  • Hah... Everyone pirates PC games! And those games don't have to get Nintendo's seal of quality or Sony's blessing to make it to market.
  • What type of games fall under the catagories 'family entertainment' and 'shooter games'?
    • Arcade games, like Pac Man and Space Invaders, and 1942. There are still some really lame arcade games being released (with nicer graphics perhaps), but still with the very simplistic gameplay.

      Now that the market has matured, however, and people want GTA and DooM and CounterStrike, the gaming industry has to try and catch up.

      But I have to ask a question here, who would you rather have dominating the future of the gaming industry - the people who wrote NetHack, or the people who wrote PacMan Jr?
      • There are still some really lame arcade games being released (with nicer graphics perhaps), but still with the very simplistic gameplay.

        Pfah. Youngsters. No sense of what makes a game fun.

        I've had more fun with this one [] than with... oh, just about any FPS. And I like FPSes.

  • To compare numbers of games sold to games made. Some of these numbers could be high just because of a greater selection. Knowing how many of each type of game there is would give the numbers some meaning.
  • So what happened to the other 14.7%??


  • It strikes me as odd is that KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic) for the Xbox and the PC wasnt listed as a top seller. After all it won several awards and was a contestant for game of the year in several publications and circles. Same goes for Prince of Persia SOT. Even games that are suposed to be very popular (wrestling,castlevania,THUG) are missing as well.

    This is a proof that game quality has less to do with its sales than we assume.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell