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Analysis: XBLA, PSN, Wii Download Services Seeing Release Slowdown

As part of an in-depth Gamasutra analysis of the state of the console digital download market, research has revealed that all three consoles are debuting reduced amo
As part of an in-depth Gamasutra analysis of the state of the console digital download market, research has revealed that all three consoles are releasing reduced amounts of content for the first half of 2008 compared to previous time periods. According to the Matt Matthews-conducted analysis, which looks PSN, Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare numbers since launch, the PlayStation Network exhibits the most obvious of these trends - at least for PS3-specific titles: "The same number of games was released through the store in both the first half of 2008 and the last half of 2007. However, half of the games released in 2008 have been for the PSP, and therefore cannot be played on the PS3 itself. If we compare just games that can be played on the PS3 itself -- those coded for the PS3 and those for which the PS3 does PS1 emulation -- then there is hardly any contest: PS3 owners got 19 games in 2H07 and only 12 games in 1H08." Moving onto the Xbox 360 and its Xbox Live Arcade/Xbox Originals, there's a subtle, but still telling trend, according to the piece: "Including Xbox Originals, the number of titles published on XBL in the first half of 2008 [34] is higher than in the first half of 2007 [27]. Even with a greater number of Xbox Original titles, the service has received fewer games in the past six months than in the second half of 2007 [46]. Although an imperfect analogy, Microsoft has maintained a robust release schedule in part due to Xbox Originals, much as Sony has padded its store with PSP games." Finally, turning to the Wii, although the launch of WiiWare has boosted numbers significantly in this latest month: "A bi-annual view of digitally distributed software releases on the Wii shows that even WiiWare cannot make up for the slowdown in the service this year... The first and second halves of 2007 each saw around 80 games released through the Wii virtual console. Wii owners will have access to at most 60 new games in the first half of 2008, even with the addition of the WiiWare titles. Just as we have seen for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, there appears to be a slowing of new software releases during the first half of 2008." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including lots more graphs and further analysis both of the digital download trends and of ESRB rating distribution across the console digital download market.

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