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The Divnich Tapes: WWE, CoD, and GoW2 To Dominate November

Continuing his analysis of the U.S. game biz, EEDAR's Jesse Divnich predicts that WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 can join Call of Duty: World at War, and Gears of War 2 as some of November's top sellers -- and explains why.
[Following last week's release of NPD's October North American sales figures, EEDAR's director of analytical services Jesse Divnich presents his Gamasutra-exclusive study of October's hardware and software trends. In this analysis, Divnich predicts that WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009, Call of Duty: World at War, and Gears of War 2 will be November's top performers in game sales for several reasons.. Previously: October still crowded with top releases, and how Sony's consoles could be more affected by current economic conditions than Microsoft or Nintendo's systems.] For today's analysis, we'll refer to IGN's GamerMetrics and GameTrailers's Stream Stats services -- both data providers, which show user interest in particular games, yield some interesting results of what is to come in November. THQ's WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 currently has the largest Mindshare on IGN’s GamerMetrics. While we do not expect WWE to outsell Call of Duty: World at War or Gears of War 2, it is interesting to see that the WWE franchise still carries a very large and loyal market base. In fact, the WWE wrestling series is one of the few brands in our industry that has shown series-over-series revenue growth over the last four years. Following WWE 2009 on the GamerMetrics chart is Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2. Both data outlets indicate that Activision's Call of Duty: World at War has greater interest than -- and could therefore in theory outsell -- Microsoft Games Studios' Gears of War 2 in November. While the data makes it too close to call, we wouldn’t be surprised if Call of Duty outsold Gears of War 2, as Call of Duty has six platform releases compared to Gears' one. We still maintain that Gears of War 2 will be the single best-selling SKU this holiday season, but when combined with all the platforms, we will likely see a few releases outsell Gears of War 2, Those will likely be Call of Duty: World at War and Guitar Hero: World Tour, both from Activision. It will be interesting to see how major titles like Mirror’s Edge, Need for Speed, Mortal Kombat, and Quantum of Solace hold up in November, as all four titles received slightly to extremely depressed review scores. I have hypothesized in previous analyses that quality scores will likely play a bigger role in driving sales this holiday season. Consumers, who now have less discretionary income, will likely take fewer risks with their purchase and stick to games that they know will deliver on quality. [Jesse Divnich currently serves as the director of analytical services at Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR). The preceding is the views and opinions of one person and not of EEDAR, The simExchange, GamerMetrics, or Gametrailers.]

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