The Divnich Tapes: Nintendo, Devil May Cry 4 To Dominate February

simExchange analyst Jesse Divnich's week-long exclusive Gamasutra analysis of monthly sales trends concludes with predictions for February U.S. sales - with Devil May Cry 4 the unanimous choice for top new seller, and hardware again headed by Nin
[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. Our final installment reviews February's hardware and software sales predictions and the outlets providing data for these predictions. Previously in this series: comparing PlayStation 3 to Xbox 360 sales, how new releases fared & game sales trends, and why Mario Galaxy crashed while Call of Duty prospered.] Hardware Sales Predictions Despite the unwelcoming hardware sales in January, The simExchange’s prediction market expects February to rebound to respectable levels - with the Nintendo Wii and DS controlling both home console and portable console markets. As stated earlier, the prediction market expects the PS3 and the Xbox 360 to continue to go toe-to-toe during February and March. This trend will likely continue until one of them either releases a AAA exclusive title or drops the price on their hardware units.

Software Sales Predictions The prediction market expects software sales to top $634 million, a 46% increase over last year. These sales will likely be driven by the continued strong momentum of holiday titles and by newcomers such as Devil May Cry 4, Lost Odyssey, and Turok. It should be noted that Turok was not included in the February new release list as it was leaked in some markets into the January month. The simExchange predictions are listed above. In addition, here are the prediction charts for both IGN GamerMetrics and GameTrailers Stream Stats, based on media accesses of the games:

Unanimously, all three major data outlets rank Devil May Cry 4 (DMC4) as the biggest new release in February. The simExchange’s sales ratio expectation between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 version of DMC4 is 1.40 to 1. This differs greatly from January’s Burnout Paradise sales ratio of 1.73 to 1 and Call of Duty 4’s 2.36 to 1. This could be a strong indication of a high tie-in ratio to new PS3’s sold in February, essentially classifying DMC4 as a “console driver” for the PS3. Lost Odyssey and Turok are both expected to deliver strong sales in February, while Ubisoft’s No More Heroes, is expected to ring in 70,000 units in its second month of sales. The expected sales for No More Heroes arguably comes as a disappointment, as it currently holds the 4th highest Metacritic score for the Wii - but its style of gameplay is not well suited for the majority of the Wii's audience, some observers have suggested. Information on the three data outlets Aside from the standard NPD monthly data from The NPD Group, we are also using data from other credible sources in these monthly features - that not only recap previous months sales but take a look at what to expect in February. IGN GamerMetrics “Mindshare”: IGN GamerMetrics offers a metric called “Mindshare.” For our readers, Mindshare is a proprietary metric designed to help readers instantly understand the relative strength or weakness of a title using both awareness and purchase intent data. It is pretty amazing what accurate conclusions one can come to with this diverse tool. Stream Stats “Media Views" (GT): Number of times a Publisher-produced or GameTrailers-produced video is watched on In Stream Stats, this number is associated with aggregate views of all media for a game, publisher, and individual pieces of media. This is a good metric to use to not only gauge a game's popularity, but also how well a game is marketed. The simExchange (my outlet): The simExchange is 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. Because the market is open 24/7 and has a large user base, we can instantly see the reaction of the public to various events such as news, previews, reviews, new trailers, interviews, etc. on a particular game. [Jesse Divnich is the analyst for the simExchange prediction market - Gamasutra would like to thank him for his in-depth work in compiling this series of articles for us.]

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