Screen Digest: The golden age for games is now

Screen Digest has told MCV that the games market will hit the mainstream consumer head on” in 2008, with year-end revenues poised to eclipse even last year’s record-breaking performance.

And while Nintendo was the clear winner in the console war in 2007, 2008 is set to be far more closely fought.

Dubbing 2008 a golden year for games retail”, Screen Digest senior games analyst Piers Harding-Rolls said that Nintendo will continue to shine as it seduces non-gamers and Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s aspirations as ‘multimedia hubs’ will become a reality within the next 12 months.

We expect the good trading conditions to continue in 2008 as all three of the latest generation of consoles hit the mainstream consumer head on,” he told MCV.

Screen Digest expects 2008 games sales to eclipse 2007’s value by some margin as the market enters the mass adoption phase.

While the console market in 2007 was convincingly won by Nintendo, Screen Digest expects the 2008 market to be a closer run competition. Whereas in 2007 Nintendo succeeded in expanding the appeal of the Wii to different consumers, Sony’s pipeline of exclusive content combined with the launch of multimedia services may result in a significant uplift for the PlayStation 3 in 2008.

Microsoft’s key battleground for the year ahead remains continental Europe, where sales in 2007 faltered. And although games will remain the key driver for console adoption, one of the market shifts to watch out for in 2008 will be the continued evolution of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 from games consoles to multimedia hubs.

Now that these multimedia services – online video, IPTV, digital terrestrial TV and PVR functionality – are available or poised to come online in different markets, this ‘hub’ strategy is emerging as a key console battlefront for Microsoft and Sony.”

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