Talking as part of a new 'Analyze This' Gamasutra feature
examining the recession and gaming, OTX and simExchange analysts have suggested that - in the event of a market slowdown for games - casual and particularly Wii game buyers may be some of the first affected.
In his comments as part of the feature examining the recession, OTX analyst Nick Williams commented:
"The video game business has shown remarkable resiliency to the economic downturn in recent months. However, it would be presumptuous to say that any entertainment industry is 100% recession-proof.
That said, the outlook for 2008 remains strong. There is no sign of the market slowing down in the next couple of months.
Thanks in large part to Nintendo's ambitious mass-market strategy, the traditional gamer boundaries have officially been broken. While the expansion of the market beyond hardcore gamers has undoubtedly contributed to the record growth in 2008, these new gamers will likely be the first ones to stop buying games if they need to cut their entertainment budget.
There is a risk that Wii titles could struggle in 2008, especially if the economy continues to slide towards a recession."
Agreeing broadly with Williams' commentary, but adding that perhaps the absolute most 'core' gamers might also cut back marginally, The simExchange's Jesse Divnich added:
"Movies, music, theme parks, vacations and restaurants are some of the activities consumers will likely scale back on, before they cut out their video game budget, especially in the core video game sector. (Note that the "core video game market" is not the same as the "hardcore" video game market.)
Of course, there are going to be those who do scale back on their video game budget.
Fortunately, those that do either contribute their entire entertainment budget to video games or contribute the least amount. Those two groups likely represent maybe 20% of the market; the other 80% will not [scale back]."
The full Gamasutra feature on the subject
is now available, including additional commentary from the above analysts and Screen Digest's Ed Barton on the state of the industry going into any potential recession.