Video-game makers bet on core audience for recovery

While the video-game industry has strived the last couple of years to broaden its market, game makers are hoping that their core customers can help them out of a rut over the next few months.

The March quarter in particular is shaping up to be a strong one for the sector, which took a drubbing in 2009 as game sales declined from the prior year. Much of the weakness came in the categories of casual games and previously hot music titles such as "Guitar Hero."

Publishers are now hoping that their traditional audience of core gamers will break open their wallets over the next two months for big releases heavy on the sort of action, shooting and mayhem that has made past blockbusters.

"What the industry has learned here is that you are going to make money off your best customers," said Doug Creutz, Cowen & Co. analyst.

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