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More questions over EA, THQ performance this Christmas

Dead Space has only "niche" appeal, Saints Row 2 crucial to THQ's financial year

Research firm Cowen has issued a note to investors questioning the expected performance of Electronic Arts and THQ products ahead of the busy Christmas sales season.

Despite favourable press, EA's new IP Dead Space has limited sales potential, according to the firm.

"Although recent press reviews have been positive, we question the degree to which the new owned-IP horror-suspense title will be a hit due to what we view as niche appeal," wrote Doug Creutz.

"The performance of the game will be one of the keys to EA's ability to revive its flagging reputation among core gamers," he added.

Creutz also believes that rival Activision has the upper hand when it comes to the music genre, backing the latest Guitar Hero title over EA's Rock Band sequel.

"We believe that Activision's Guitar Hero World Tour constitutes a superior offering to Viacom/EA's Rock Band 2," he said.

The views echo that of analyst Todd Greenwald at Signal Hill, who yesterday issued a note stating that consumers are unlikely to buy titles they are not familiar with this Christmas due to tough economic conditions. Greenwald also singled out EA titles along with products from THQ.

On THQ's portfolio, Creutz pointed out that the publisher needs the Volition-developed Saints Row 2 to perform well in order to meet financial expectations for the second half of the year.

"We predict that Saints Row 2 will sell 2.25 million lifetime units in the US across the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

"We believe that THQ will be dependent on the performance of several key owned-IP titles including Saints Row 2 in 2H:F09 to meet financial expectations."

Cowen also noted that it expects Take-Two's Midnight Club: Los Angeles to sell 3.25 million units in US and 500,000 copies of BioShock for the PS3.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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