A report today from analysts at theSimExchange says Nintendo has turned casual games and gamers into the primary forces driving the videogame industry. Using data from the holiday 2007 shopping season, the firm said that one factor in the industry’s growth has been a larger-than-expected next-generation adoption rate among casual gamers.
Interestingly enough, theSimExchange also notes that “this same catalyst has played only a minor role for GameStop stores,” the largest “core” game retailer. In its report, the analysts said “[t]ypically, casual gamers are the last group to purchase the next generation console systems as they prefer to wait for lower hardware prices before making an entry. This generation has broken the trend, as casual gamers flocked to purchase the Nintendo Wii and DS, which have positioned themselves in the market as the systems of choice among families, parents, seniors and the other demographic groups that do not consider themselves avid gamers.
The growth hasn’t just been attributed to Nintendo products, though. The report from theSimExchange also states that “[t]his influx in casual gamers can also be observed by the recent greater-than-expected performance of casual titles such as Guitar Hero 3, Brain Age 2 and Wii Play, all of which are expected to exceed 9 million units in global lifetime sales (GLS), according to the prediction market.” (The simExchange is an online virtual stock market in which gamers, developers and investors trade stock to predict how games will sell.)
The report continues: “Even the upcoming Wii Fit is expected to achieve 8.73 million in GLS, putting it in same category as mega blockbusters as Halo 3 and PS3’s Final Fantasy XIII, which are expected to achieve 9.1 and 7.8 million units in GLS, respectively.
While the firm expects this rapid adoption rate to continue well through 2008, it indicates that American game publishers may in fact have problems capitalizing on the casual-game market. “Although publishers such as Nintendo have had tremendous success with this genre, it is a different story for the American publishers…. What has made it difficult is their lack of understanding of the casual and family market, something Nintendo has clearly mastered. The prediction market supports this, as the top five titles for both the Wii and the DS consist of nine Nintendo-published titles and no American-published titles.”
You can read the full report by clicking here.