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Analysts: Core Gamers To Keep Spending

IDC and Wedbush analysts say that hardcore gamers "will continue to buy games" and "have no clue we are in a recession," and chart data bears it out - but with Wii sales still surging, is it the 'midcore' gamer which is tightening its belt?
"As long as gamers have a job, they will continue to buy games," IDC analyst Billy Pidgeon tells the Associated Press, discussing the sustainability of the core market. Core market titles -- Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty 5 -- topped the software charts in November; the Grand Theft Auto franchise generated 60 percent of Take-Two's publishing revenue, while World of Warcraft brings in half of Activision Blizzard's operating profit. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter credits half of all game sales to the core market, and tells the AP, "They may be wealthy, they may be poor, but they have no clue we are in a recession." Many analysts have asserted their view that the core market gamer is unlikely to significantly reduce their spending on must-have titles, and software sales over the past couple of months have borne out that view somewhat. EA CEO John Riccitiello recently noted a polarization happening in the market, where the majority of software sales are taking place across the top five blockbuster titles. Meanwhile, many game publishers, including EA and Take-Two, aren't meeting software sales estimates for their mid-level titles, suggesting that indeed, it's the core market must-haves that are selling, while less "hardcore" consumers are reining in spending. At the same time, however, Nintendo's mainstream portfolio doesn't seem to be showing the impact of a recession, either. Wii Fit supply is expected to be unable to meet demand over the holiday season, while Nintendo's Wii Play, decidedly not a core-market title, took the third place slot on November charts just behind Gears 2 and CoD5. This suggests that neither the hardcore nor the casual consumer seems to be scaling back spending in a visible way -- it's the ones in between that appear to be tightening their belts.

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