Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Battle Royale For The Holiday

It's shaping up to be one of the most competitive holiday seasons ever for the game business. The aging Xbox 360 and PS3 have been seeing fading sales numbers for the past several years, and at this point only price cuts are likely to make a big difference in their sales picture. Complicating this is the new Wii U, which will be coming this fall (though the date and price are still unknown as of this writing). Microsoft and Sony will probably try to undercut the Wii U pricing, and certainly bundle in extra value in software and other items.

Meanwhile, the flank assault of the mobile market is adding some serious firepower. Google's Nexus 7 tablet is a hit at $200, and Amazon will probably introduce a new, spiffier Kindle Fire next week at the same price point. Apple is rumored to be introducing an iPad Mini at around the same form factor in the $250 price range. So, powerful gaming tablets will be available for around $250 this holiday, with extensive marketing budgets to make sure everybody knows it. Those will be aiming squarely at the dollars parents might otherwise spend on consoles.

Don't forget there's a new iPhone coming out next month, which will likely suck a lot of money out of market for gadgets. Plus some dedicated gaming tablets (Android based) that may have wide distribution. Oh, and Nintendo is still selling the 3DS and Sony is still trying to move the PS Vita. And all of these things are hovering in the same price range.

They're not all going to succeed in having a terrific sales season. I think Sony and Microsoft could take a real beating if they don't lower their prices substantially. Nintendo could be in for a rough time if the price the Wii U at $299 or even $279. I'm sure Apple and Google and Amazon will do fine, though.

Just to make matters worse, many high-profile software titles will be competing for consumer dollars, too. And like last year, they will be competing against each other for ever-scarcer consumer dollars. Nobody is going to buy all of the hot games all at once, even if they want them; they can only really play one game thoroughly at a time. Somebody's gonna be disappointed in their sales picture.

Overall I expect the year will finish down over last year's sales, once again in the double digits despite the Wii U and PS Vita.

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