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GamePlan Shows Halo 3: ODST, Final Fantasy XIII Top 'Purchase Intent'

As its game consumer tracking tool GamePlan debuts, OTX has provided Gamasutra with data on the most anticipated games, showing titles from Bungie and Square Enix topping 'purchase
Following the announcement of its gamer behavior and intent tracking tool GamePlan, market research firm OTX has provided Gamasutra with specific data on the most-anticipated upcoming games -- with Bungie's Halo 3: ODST and Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIII topping the "purchase intent" list. In addition to aggregating data provided by partners including game rental firm GameFly and eBay data provider AERS, OTX has operated its own GamePlan Consumer Tracker since October 2008, collecting data on 600 games from a pool of 25,000 gamers. That information is gathered by OTX's "multi-source sampling" method, which polls players in the United States across hundreds of online panels. OTX gaming director Nick Williams headed up development of GamePlan. Previously, he worked at IGN on the company's GamerMetrics service. GamerMetrics has similar end goals to GamePlan -- providing publishers and other game companies with projections of consumer behavior and trends -- but gathers its data from IGN Entertainment's own network of sites. Williams told Gamasutra that that more insular method can lead to misleading information in cases where a particular site's readership are disproportionately interested in a game, such as with PlatinumGames and Sega's violent Wii brawler MadWorld. "GamerMetrics is great, but you run across examples like MadWorld," he said. "If you were basing your information off how MadWorld was doing on IGN, you would think it was going to sell millions in the first couple weeks, whereas in reality it was much more a niche title." The following lists come specifically from OTX's own data, and refer to gamer intent as stated between February 22, 2009 and March 28, 2009.
The above graph shows the games that, in general, gamers report they are most interested in buying. Notably, three of the top four titles are a platform exclusives (with Final Fantasy XIII potentially PS3-only in Japan). Also worth noting is that every title in the top ten is a sequel, a property that persists throughout the following two graphs.
After giving their general list of most-wanted games, players were asked which games they actually intend to preorder -- a metric intended to determine which titles, in an environment of potential consumer uncertainty, players are actually committed to in specific rather than general terms. Interestingly, a number of games not on the prior list appear, including -- BioWare's Mass Effect 2, 2K Marin's BioShock 2, Blizzard's StarCraft 2, Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Maxis' The Sims 3, and Vicarious Visions' Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Fusion. The disparity means that while the games in the first list have a greater level of overall awareness (likely due in part to greater marketing spending so far), the games in this list have a higher level of commitment by the gamers who are aware of them. This is borne out by the genres represented -- while the first list is entirely comprised of action and sports games, the second list expands out to a broader range of genres including strategy, RPG, and simulation, which are less easily marketable but can frequently cultivate very dedicated audiences.
Finally, this third list shows games cited as gamers' "first choice" -- that is, when the rubber hits the road, these are the games that players are most fully committed to purchasing, at the expense of other games. A number of the games that appeared in the second list but not the first moved up in rank -- and StarCraft 2 and The Sims 3 jumped to the top of the list, reflective of the incredibly devoted followings both franchises enjoy.

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