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EA and Activision Blizzard dominate Q3 releases

Screen Digest analyst also identifies long list of new IP for Wii - but questions quality

Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard titles are taking up around 75 per cent of the entire Q3, 2008 release schedule according to a new report from Screen Digest, and they'll also account for around 40 per cent of Q4 as well.

And it's the Nintendo Wii console that is offering the largest library of titles at retail - something which analyst Ed Barton believes is likely to increase across both quarters.

Additionally Barton has told that the highest number of new IP titles will be released for the Wii, "because of the differences in graphical prowess between it and the HD consoles, Wii's unique controller interface and a recognition by publishers that they have to be a little cuter in which games they use to target the Wii userbase."

However, that - and the fact that the Wii is cheaper to develop for - will lead to greater competition for shelf space, meaning that effective marketing of those products is crucial, he said.

Barton also added that while existing franchises are far more likely to generate higher revenues than new IP will, a few releases stand a decent chance of making money - but also that new IP is crucial for the industry.

"In terms of potential for revenue generation, one's eye is always drawn towards recognisable licenses when assessing release lists of new IP's," he said. "Ubisoft's Hell's Kitchen and Sega's Beijing title might ride current waves of popular interest while I personally hope THQ's de Blob achieves some measure of success because it looks like a quirky and fun title, exactly the kind of innovative and refreshing gameplay I want on Wii.

"However even the most charitable observer would be hard pressed not to wonder at the quality of some of the new IP's set for Wii this quarter," he added, noting titles such as Order Up! From Zoo Digital, Table Football from 505 Games, Space Chimps from Brash Entertainment and Defendin' De Penguin from Crave Entertainment.

"It begs the question as to why publishers don't solely focus on their established IP - games publishing, not unlike the music business, is a hits-driven business," he explained. "Publishers use established sellers to keep the accountants happy while they take risks on new IP's and development strategies one hopes will work but naturally some will invariably fail.

"In the longer term new IP generation is essential for the ongoing health of a publisher because consumers can become jaded with even the hottest properties (not to mention development teams) while a constantly growing catalogue of proven, internally owned IP broadens a publisher's strategic options (principally making less risky sequels)."

Screen Digest's Console Games Bulletin, focusing on Q3, 2008 releases is available now.

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