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Q3 release analysis

Q3 release analysis
Releases based on big selling franchises
* Gaming IPs that have generated substantial historical games sales and will see new iterations in Q3 include James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace (Activision Blizzard), Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Madden NFL 09, SimCity Creator (all EA), Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (Konami), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (LucasArts) and WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 (THQ).

* Unsurprisingly, given the need to maximise sales of proven games IP, these titles are all multi-platform across two or more current generation consoles, except for Red Alert 3 which is for Xbox 360 and PC, and SimCity Creator, which is a tailored version of SimCity for DS and Wii.

Q3 release volumes by publisher
* Electronic Arts will release 21 packaged games in Q3, including the roll out of a number of its annual sports titles, such as proven sellers Madden, Tiger Woods, NHL and NCAA Football.

* EA will also be releasing new multi-platform sports IPs NFL Head Coach and FaceBreaker.

* While most publishers wait for the final calendar quarter of the year to ramp up release volume, EA and Activision Blizzard are both escalating their releases in calendar Q3, delivering around 20 games apiece in both Q3 and Q4, which more than doubles release volumes seen in Q1 and Q2.

* Between them, Activision Blizzard and EA will generate around forty per cent of all Q4 and around seventy five per cent of all Q3 packaged releases for Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Q3 2008 highlights

* Around forty games based on new IP will be released in Q3, over half of which are for Nintendo’s Wii.

* EA is the busiest publisher in the quarter as it releases its extensive range of annual sports games with around 21 releases in the quarter, while Activision Blizzard is close behind with 19:

– Between them, Activision Blizzard and EA will generate around forty per cent of all Q4 and around seventy five per cent of all Q3 packaged releases for Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3.

– While most publishers appear to ramp up release volume in the key Christmas quarter, EA and Activision Blizzard appear to be ramping up release volumes to similar levels in both calendar Q3 and the fourth quarter­.

Release volumes by platform analysis
* Total games releases are slightly up year-on-year with over 120 releases, compared with just over 100 releases in Q3 2007.

* Xbox 360 and Wii release volumes are both slightly up on static levels year-on-year, while PlayStation 3’s release volume remains flat with around 30 games scheduled for release in the period.

* In what is looking increasingly like a generation-long trend, Nintendo’s Wii continues to offer the largest library of packaged releases, and this gap is likely to widen further in Q3 and Q4:

– Wii is more likely than the HD platforms to be cross-platform with handheld and PlayStation 2 games.

– The unique Wii controller, Wii owners’ games tastes and relatively cheap development costs makes exclusives far more likely than on the HD platforms.

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