Historically something of a dry spell for the games market, the summer period has seen a number of publishers over the past couple of years enjoy sizzling sales thanks to the timely roll-out of key titles during the release drought.
But this summer the temperature has risen further, as triple-A blockbusters continue to bring sunshine to the High Street. Already GTA IV and Wii Fit have seen stellar sales, with EA's Rock Band, Ubisoft's Haze and Eidos' Age of Conan bringing further cheer to games retailers across the UK, meaning that the year to date is up by over 41 per cent by value and almost 19 per cent by units compared to the same period in 2007.
And retailers have praised publishers for switching their release strategies to ensure a spread of key titles arrive throughout the year, rather than hold back for the traditional Q4 bottleneck.
It's certainly great news from a retail perspective to have such phenomenal products launched outside of the peak Christmas selling season,” said GAME CEO Lisa Morgan.
To get products like Wii Fit and GTA IV outside of Christmas gives you the opportunity not only to generate sales outside of the fourth quarter, but also to do the launch justice when there are not so many products in such a short space of time.
We would very much encourage publishers to look at time lines outside the final quarter in which to showcase their titles. And I think both Wii Fit and GTA IV have proven that when the product quality is there that consumers definitely have the demand.”
HMV's Jonathan Hayes, games commercial manager, echoed those views: Right now it appears there is a constant release schedule – which is great as that means new titles are well spread throughout the year. And with so many strong formats on the market at the moment there always seems to be another great title coming around the corner.
The great thing about the current best sellers is that they are not all day one – they will all continue to sell well over the rest of the year.”
THOSE GAMES IN FULL:
Mario Kart Wii – Out now
GTA IV – Out now
Age Of Conan – Out now
Wii Fit – Out now
Haze – Out now
Race Driver: GRID – Out now
Lego Indiana Jones – Out now
Lost Planet Colonies – Out now
Ninja Gaiden II – Out now
Metal Gear Solid 4 – June 12th
The Incredible Hulk – June 13th
Alone In Dark – June 20th
Singstar Vol. II – June 20th
Narnia: Prince Caspian – June 20th
The Bourne Conspiracy – June 27th
Super Smash Bros Brawl – June 27th
Beijing 2008 – June 27th
Pokemon – July 4th
Ferrari Challenge – July
Soul Calibur IV – August 1st
Too Human – August 29th
Spore – September 5th
TNA Impact – September 5th
Star Wars: Unleashed – September 19th
Football Manager Live – Summer TBC