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The Divnich Tapes: How New Releases Fared & Game Sales Trends

Continuing simExchange analyst Jesse Divnich's exclusive Gamasutra analysis of January's hardware and software trends, today's piece looks at IGN GamerMetrics and GameTrailers data to see which popular January releases made it to the charts - with new dat
[Throughout this week, simExchange analyst Jesse Divnich is presenting exclusive Gamasutra analysis of January's hardware and software trends, using data from The simExchange, NPD, IGN GamerMetrics and GameTrailers. Today's chart analysis examines year-over-year software-sales increases for the next two months. Previously: is the PS3 catching the Xbox 360?] Something that worth analyzing every month is comparing the most-viewed videos (on GameTrailers) and 'mindshare' elements (on IGN GamerMetrics) to the actual NPD charts, to see which new releases made it a significant way up the charts. In January, Burnout Paradise topped the charts for new releases for all three major elements we're looking at here, NPD sales units at 227,100 units (across both PS3 and Xbox 360 SKUs), IGN GamerMetrics Mindshare at 23.22% and GT Stream Stats Media Views at over 1 million views.

Unfortunately, other than Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for the DS, no other new release was in the top 10 January NPD list for units sold. Here's the NPD list, including exclusive sales data on some of the titles outside the top ten this month:

No More Heroes, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom, Endless Ocean, and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity all had strong metrics in the top ten for new releases on the IGN GamerMetrics and GT Stream Stats charts. But they were no match for the holiday titles, which dominated The NPD Group’s top ten unit sales chart. However, as can be seen, Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin still sold a reasonable 81,000 units in January, but Kingdom Under Fire: Circle Of Doom debuted to 52,000 and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity to just 39,000 units. Another noteworthy observation was EA’s NFL Tour, which brutally underperformed on IGN GamerMetrics and GT Stream Stats chart. Given the underwhelming performance, it is unlikely we will see another release next year, but that does not mean EA won’t go back to the drawing board for another attempt at an “extreme” NFL Football title. Overall Game Software Growth Trends Software sales continue to break double-digit increases year-over-year, and that does not look to change any time soon. In fact, The simExchange’s prediction market expects that trend to continue into February (46%) and March (22%). The below graph shows year over year revenue increases for game sales in the U.S.:

Although the graph may indicate a downward trend in year-over-year software increases, Take-Two’s release of Grand Theft Auto IV in April will likely put year-over-year increases north of 40%, showing how one major release can turn apparent trends around. [Jesse Divnich is the analyst for the simExchange, a prediction market that allows users to buy and sell fake video game stocks in attempts to predict Global Lifetime Sales (GLS), monthly sales based on NPD data(called “future”), and Metacritic scores. Come back tomorrow for an evaluation on January's software disappointments and new releases.]

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