Consumers’ fears about a recession could actually benefit the video game industry, according to an advance copy of EEDAR’s sales report for September 2008. The reason, says the report, is that consumers may look to video games as a “cheaper form of entertainment, as no other industry offers a better bang for your entertainment buck.”
The report also indicates that the Xbox 360 is picking up sales momentum, while Sony could be in dire straits if it does not drop the price of the PS3.
If September through December can produce positive year-over-year results, it would mark the first time since 2002 that every calendar month showed positive growth. The current estimates for Sept.-Dec. anticipate single-digit increases, with the exception of October, which is expected to “demolish last year’s $514 million” in sales.
According to the report, “currently, October is set to have 31 more SKU releases than last year and current retail channel checks indicate that pre-orders for October releases are up 20% over last year.”
Interestingly, the EEDAR report shows that PC games contributed to the industry’s year-over-year increase in September more than console game sales, perhaps because 2007 saw the release of Halo 3. The news, however, still flies in the face of those who insist PC gaming is dying or dead.
The Electronic Entertainment and Design Research (EEDAR) report, a full copy of which will release Oct. 15, anticipates software sales to total $660 million for Sept. 2008, a one-percent increase over 2007. However, when PC sales are included in the tally, the annual increase goes up to $740 million, or four percent — indicating that PC sales are stronger than they were in 2007 and, perhaps, stronger even than console-game sales.
EEDAR’s report says that September’s sales results are expected to show the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS blowing the other systems out of the water, with 600,000 units expected to ship that month, compared to 320,00 Xbox 360s, 235,000 PSPs and 215,000 PS3s. Retail channel checks indicate a steadier flow in Wii shipments for September, with Nintendo expected to continue increasing shipment levels through the holiday season.
Still, the EEDAR report predicts a slight Wii shortage during the holiday 2008 shopping season, though not as bad as the shortage in 2007.
In light of the Xbox 360’s recent price drop, EEDAR indicates that the Xbox 360 will likely have sold more than 320,000 units during September, the first time this year the Xbox 360 will have surpassed 300,000 units in a single month. For the PS3, meanwhile, EEDAR expects weekly sales to have decreased by seven percent, to 43,000 units per week.
“The recent Xbox 360 price cut played a minute role in hindering PS3 sales,” says the report. “We should note that if Microsoft’s first-party titles perform significantly better in quality and popularity than Sony’s this holiday season, we could begin to see a considerable amount of potential PS3 owners — who may be waiting for a PS3 price cut — to choose the Xbox 360 over the PS3. Currently, we expect Gears of War 2 to be the single-best selling SKU this holiday season.”
While indicating that Sony should still consider a PS3 price cut, EEDAR said “we have no doubts that titles like Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet will drive the core gaming market to purchase a PS3. We do, however, have doubts that either title will lure in casual and mainstream gamers. The $399 price point is simply too steep to entice the casual and mainstream markets, regardless of how great Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet may be.”