In today's Gamasutra feature
, we quiz top analysts from Wedbush Morgan, Creative Strategies, Strategy Analytics, Lazard Capital Market, and Screen Digest about their thoughts on the game market in 2006, including recent product launches, game sales, and notable predictions for 2007.
Though the most common thread that tied all of the analysts' comments together was the surprising continued strength of the PS2, expected to reach well into the coming year, Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, had especially direct words for Microsoft and sales of the Xbox 360, which continue to come behind his expectations:
"I'm pretty disappointed in the Xbox 360. I think Microsoft is doing everything right: Games are good; Xbox Live is amazing; and the console is not prohibitively expensive. Yet people are just not buying. The console is lagging behind my initial expectations by at least 200,000 units per month in the U.S., and I don't know why. It could be that publishers continue to support the PS2, so most consumers don't perceive a need to switch yet.
I think Microsoft over-promised on the 360, led a lot of consumers to believe that there would be millions at launch, and these consumers stopped buying anything (through March) while waiting for their Xbox 360s to arrive. Sony promised nothing (yes, they screwed up the quantities, but did not suggest that retailers advertise or take [PS3] pre-orders); consumers expected nothing, and [PS2] software sales were fine all year. It appears that as long as consumers have current generation titles to choose from, they will buy that software. I think that future declines in current generation software sales will continue to be more gradual than in past transitions."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic
to hear more from all the analysts looking back at 2006, and how the console transition will play into 2007 (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).