We've heard stories of publisher execs threatened with the sack if a certain game doesn't make the top three. And the amount of marketing cash sloshing around the industry currently is absolutely mind-boggling.
Girls Aloud, Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby combined might sound like an adolescent onanist's fantasy, but for Nintendo and Ubisoft they represent key breakthroughs in their mainstream marketing campaigns – and the list of other big spenders goes on after that.
Konami is forking out over 2 million on PES 2009, and EA's deep pockets will ensure FIFA and its handsome mascot Wayne Rooney will be difficult to miss as Christmas approaches.
MCV understands Microsoft is chucking more cash at promoting Lips than the total spend on the rest of its Christmas line-up. And Sony isn't messing around either. Glowing reviews of LittleBigPlanet have more than made up for the slight delay in its release – and if anything, the recall has garnered even more column inches and anticipation for Media Molcule's opus.
There's no doubt that the stakes are higher than ever. And at retail, things got a little tougher for some this week with HMV's move into pre-owned. While some trade contacts expressed their doubts over how the specialist will handle the new system – Woolies' fumbled crack at the trade-in market is a case in point – the significance of the High Street stalwart's move cannot be underestimated.
It has the scale (and perhaps most importantly) a true desire to make a go of this. With healthy margins on offer, don't be surprised if HMV's main rival Zavvi is eyeing up this market too.
Brace yourselves for a Q4 scrap for sales and supremacy that will easily eclipse any other in the trade's history. And MCV will be there every step of the way, every single week.
Meanwhile... this will mean little to you if you are currently trying to shift a bumper crop of triple-A titles, launching a multi-million pound marketing campaign or putting the finishing touches to a heavily-hyped blockbuster, but anyway: This is my last editorial for MCV.
It's difficult to do this sort of thing without sounding self-indulgent or a little bit twatty in general, so I'll keep it short and to the point: Sincerest thanks to everyone in the trade who has contributed to MCV during my tenure, and many, many more thanks to the outstanding team at Intent Media. That is all.