COMMENT: Believe the hype

One Guardian commentator said that it would be ‘an act of cultural irresponsibility’ not to play GTA IV.

Another in The Times termed it ‘the cultural event of the week’. While some media outlets still fall back on the tired old ‘outrage’ headlines, it is genuinely refreshing to see this kind of intelligent comment on our industry.

GTA IV is not just inspiring phenomenal praise and fuelling trade, Hollywood is also fearful of these big name games. GTA IV’s release attracted the same kind of coverage – and very probably more – than any movie blockbuster this week, and it has been suggested that it will significantly dent box office takings for Iron Man.

Smashed sales records are an inevitability; indeed, another mark of the power of the Rockstar phenomenon is that almost every other publisher has avoided going up against the GTA juggernaut.

However, there’s one company that hasn’t cowered away from it.

The release of Nintendo’s Wii Fit just a few days earlier further cements the diversity of the modern gaming audience. Its success shows that the market can easily support two high profile titles simultaneously, and each can thrive.

Casual gaming has been one of the buzzwords of the last few years, galvanised by Nintendo and a huge online PC following. It appears that for every PS3 or 360 owner there’s a substantial number more who dabble in these casual games.

And that, of course, is where MCV’s new sister site

comes in. For too long there’s been no dedicated trade destination for people making, selling and distributing casual games; now there is, and just like the market it serves, is a truly exciting prospect.

There’s no doubt that the good times are rolling in the industry, and it certainly bodes well for the end-of-year peak.

And to think we have E3, Leipzig, Tokyo Games Show and a further slew of quality titles to look forward to in between. The more pessimistic among you may think it’s a further little too good to be true; but this is one of those rare weeks in which games retail can sit back and watch the cash roll in.

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