A report today from Jesse Divnich at the simExchange says Nintendo has turned casual games and gamers into the primary forces driving the videogame industry. Using data from the holiday 2007 shopping season, the firm said that one factor in the industry's growth has been a larger-than-expected next-generation adoption rate among casual gamers. (GameDaily, 01/09/08)
Industry Sales and GameStop:
• GameStop is likely to shatter their own original internal estimate of only a 7% to 9% increase in comparable same store sales for their fiscal fourth quarter.
• Otherwise, retailers in general have had a rough holiday season with most posting dismal holiday figures.
• The catalyst for the industry's explosive growth, casual gamers, has played only a minor role for GameStop stores.
• Typically, casual gamers are the last group to purchase the newest console systems. This generation has broke the trend as casual gamers flocked to purchase the Nintendo Wii and DS.
• The DS selling over 2.9 million units in one month broke the record previously held by the PS2 at 2.6 million units in December 2002.
• This rapid adoption rate among casual gamers is expected to continue in 2008 as advertising campaigns expand to non-conventional media markets.
• The simExchange considers the casual market to be GameStop's biggest opportunity due to their current lack of market penetration into casual/family sector.
American Publishers Struggle with Casual Games:
• American publishers lack understanding of the casual and family market, something Nintendo has clearly mastered.
• Although American publishers will still experience growth as the core gaming market grows, American publishers must venture beyond the status quo and into the casual market to become successful.
Spreading out AAA titles in 2008:
• The cannibalization of sales between competing AAA titles in 2007 likely affected industry decision makers as 2008 is looking to be a more spread out year for blockbuster titles.
Price Points to Stay at a Premium:
• The current $59.99 premium price will remain unchanged.