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February Game Sales Flop 131

Some financial news from the gaming industry today; NPD Analysts predict that game sales for February will be much lower than hoped-for, down eleven percent from last year. Take-Two Interactive, the publisher for studios Rockstar and Firaxis, posted a loss of $29.1 Million in their first quarter, which ended at the end of January. Not everything was doom and gloom. Newly linked Bioware/Pandemic did great in 2005, with more than 28 million games sold. From that 1up piece: "Neither company has laid out much of their plans for the next-generation consoles, though BioWare's brief showing of their planned Xbox 360 trilogy Mass Effect suggests the companies are poised to be just as ambitious on the coming consoles as ever before. "
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February Game Sales Flop

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  • MMO effect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __aaitqo8496 ( 231556 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:03PM (#14878473) Journal
    I know that console and PC gamers tend to be different breed, but could the huge success of WoW be a contributing factor to declining revenue in the game industry?

    Blizzard's intent is to continue thier current subscription by introducing long-lasting content. With 6 million users, does anyone else think that this could have a definitive effect on other games (both PC and console).

    It's not called Warcrack for nothing.
  • March (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:06PM (#14878497)
    March will be an absolute monster

    Fight Night Round 3, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Burnout, College hoops 2k6 for 360, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:14PM (#14878560)
    I wonder if this has anything to do with cramming every single AAA game title into November's release schedule?

    It's like the other 11 months of the year don't matter.
  • First quarter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rvw14 ( 733613 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:24PM (#14878634)
    in their first quarter, which ended at the end of January.

    How does their first quarter end in January? I don't know of any insustry where the fiscal year begins in November.

  • Re:MMO effect? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by __aaitqo8496 ( 231556 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:32PM (#14878689) Journal
    Even prescribing to your suggestion of 5%, that's still a significant amount amount of revenue a company could lose out one. Let's do a little math:

    WoW active subscriber base: 6 million
    Percent of hardcore players: 5%
    Total active hardcore players: 300,000
    Cost of a game: $40 (this is very conservative)
    Total potential lost revenue: $12 million

    If we increase the cost of a game to $50 (a much more realistic amount), the revenue jumps to $15 million. However, I don't think the cost of a game is really a variable here. I think the real problem lies in the 5% assumption. While this may be accurate for those that are hardcore players (and do not much else), another very large subset of players falls into the "doesn't play much else" category: casuals. Why? Becasue they're casual. They only play an hour or two each night, maybe not every night. This is typically because they have additional real life obligations. This would suggest they don't have time to play yet another video game.

    I think the percentage of World of Warcraft players that don't play other games on a regular basis is much higher than 5%.

    Thoughts? Questions? Comments?
  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:39PM (#14878750) Journal
    I've got too many games from last year (and before) that I haven't got around to playing seriously.

    Why would I buy more now?

    Let me get through those games, or at least get my money's worth from them. Then I'll think about new games. By that time the Revolution will be out anyway, and I'll only have time for games that provide immediate fun.
  • by keltor ( 99721 ) * on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:42PM (#14878770) Homepage
    My guy at EB told me a little story ...

    The reason they aren't getting that many copies of each 360 game ... cause they didn't sell well enough in the first place.
  • Steam (Score:4, Interesting)

    by glenrm ( 640773 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:43PM (#14878776) Homepage Journal
    I bought Half-Life 2 through Steam and paid for a month of City of Heroes. Does NPD track this these kinds of purchases?
  • by snuf23 ( 182335 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:48PM (#14878811)
    Since I started playing MMOs. I played City of Heroes for almost a year, then moved to WoW. Played Wow for close to a year, jumped over to City of Villains for a few months and now I am playing EverQuest 2.
    I still play other games besides the MMOs, but my purchasing frequency has gone down. I probably buy a game every other month now, rather than 1-2 a month two years ago. It also takes me longer to wear out a single player game because of time spent with MMOs. I've barely scratched the surface on Civ 4 and am only about halfway through Quake 4. Both games I've had since Christmas.
  • How about GalCiv II? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by greenreaper ( 205818 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:58PM (#14878890) Homepage Journal
    How about Galactic Civilizations II []? Three editor's choices from GameSpot, GameSpy and IGN. Yes, I work for Stardock, but it's still a cool game []. :-)
  • by AgentDib ( 931969 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:44PM (#14879211)
    A little more on GalCivII from a non-stardock employee. If you've ever played a game of Civilization and then been disappointed when the game ends at the space age... you'll be happy to know that Galactic Civilizations II follows a similar style but starts where the Civ franchise leaves off.

    Highlights of the game include a split production system between social and military, a very interesting futuristic tech tree for research, and the strategic split in damage types (energy/physical/missile) and damage resistances (energy/physical/missle). The ability to create your own ships mixing and matching every part you've researched is also pretty enjoyable, especially the part to design the exterior.

    The best thing about GalCivII, however, is the distribution model. When compared to the other releases of late that use aggressive DRM and highly annoying copy protection schemes that force you to constantly swap CDs, it's amazing that Stardock simply delivers the game. They've already released patches based on customer feedback and they respond to issues posted on their forums very promptly.

    GalCivII is definitely worth purchasing and easily the best game I've played this year.
  • Which sales? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by atomicstrawberry ( 955148 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:06PM (#14879642)
    Are sales in general down, or just sales of the cookie-cutter crap that the big studios have been pushing out? In Australia, February was a great month for games - Ico finally got a re-release, along with We Love Katamari and Shadow of the Colossus. Shadow was the most-sold game on the platform in the week it released, and Shadow and Katamari are sitting at #3 and #4 on the charts this week too. I know that Australian sales are a drop in the ocean overall, but this trend seems to be going on throughout the PAL territory.
  • by Shadarr ( 11622 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:16PM (#14879974) Homepage
    I didn't buy any games because I was still playing through the ones I got for Christmas. The next game I buy will likely be Space Rangers 2 [], when it makes its way to North America later this month.

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.