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Over the years I can’t remember a bigger time to be a gamer than the holidays, because tons of games came out. I’ve noticed over the last few years it seems that the holiday release schedule has stopped happening.
This year we’ve seen the release of the following big titles or products in Q4.
3 pieces of software (one an expansion pack) and 2 pieces of physical hardware.
So What Happened?
My hunch is a few factors all have combined together that has literally ripped seasonality out of the console/pc business.
On the iOS/Android developers can make games for much less. Update more often with new features, sell additional items with micro transactions, but on the PC or Home Consoles this behavior isn’t expected. On the PC and Consoles the developer costs have skyrocketed. A game thats multiple years in the making will see a budget in the 10s of millions of dollars. Take Gran Turismo 5 which as of 2009 had cost nearly 60 million to make!
2. Games Need To Sell
Since the costs have increased so dramatically to make the games while the average selling price has only gone from $49.99 to $59.99 over the last 10 years. pushing something out to subpar reviews to make the holiday schedule is not worth it. You see this often happen where games will be moved to either avoid going against a batch of games all together. If someone has the figure please leave it in the comments, but I believe in the first month a game will sell about 75% of its total lifespan in terms of units. These type of delays lead to games like Killzone 3, Little Big Planet 2 and other titles being pushed out to different calendar months to ensure good sales.
3. Shelf Space is Shrinking
Online or offline retailers are dedicating less and less space for games. Gamestop is moving full force into the used game business in hopes of increasing their margins even further. They sell you a game for 59.99, buy it back from you for 24.99 then resell it for 49.99. ChaChing. Take for example UFC Undisputed 2010. The title came out to great reviews , but did not sell well in its first week. So what did Amazon.com do? Knocked the price from 59.99 to 39.99 in one week! What happens here is a domino effect as other retailers follow.
4. Too Much Competition
As more and more folks pickup an Android Phone, iPad, iPhone or any of the new multifunctional devices the time they have to play PC or Home Console games has shrunk. Its simply easier and cheaper for someone to pay $1.99 for Angry Birds, get hours of enjoyment out of it and never have to turn on the TV to get it.
5. Most Consumers want simplicity
Nintendo got very close with the Wii and Nintendo DS. People wanted an experience that was extremely simple with few buttons. With touch screen devices consumers get an experience that has zero buttons, installs in seconds and is engaging. Titles like Doodle Jump, Angry Birds and Cut The Rope never would’ve been possible on consoles due to cost and distribution issues.
Tonight Facebook rolled out their new profile pages and the sheer number of people upgrading to the opt in page is astounding. The feature has been live since 5pm pacific and in just 40 minutes 23 people in my network have already upgraded.
How is Facebook Getting People to upgrade?
They are putting banners across any profile page you visit announcing the feature and giving you the option of upgrading. They are also publishing to your newsfeed all of your friends who have upgraded. In a few hours I’ll update the post with how many more of the people in my network who have upgraded.
#6 Comcast’s New HD Lineup of Channels
I’ve been complaining for two years about Comcast not offering Pay Per View in High Definition? Spike TV, MTV,(Gotta love Real World/Road Rules Challenge) amongst many other channels (NFL RedZone, NBA TV, MLB TV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Outdoor Channel ) are not in HD in my area. Well by the end of November myself and every other Comcast subscriber will be able to quit complaining.
Currently Comcast is in the process of rolling out a plethora (I believe 56 total) of new High Definition channels in your area, most of you already have the new channels, but San Francisco still remains with the old lineup. Has anyone noticed passed channel 740 a bunch of new channels? I’m eagerly anticipating the High Definition Pay Per View Channel for stuff like this.
To see the other things I’m excited about in November click here.