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Wii and DS sales 'under threat from recession'

Screen Digest analyst also predicts slower PS3 sales on price sensitivity; new IP will be impacted

Screen Digest senior analyst Piers Harding-Rolls believes that some sections of the videogames industry are under greater threat from recession than others - particularly those which deal with "new, non-enthusiast" gamers that focus their attention on Wii and DS titles.

"These new, non-enthusiast and more mainstream console gamers view many Wii and DS games as experimental and discretionary luxuries," he said. "As the recession bites, Wii and DS games are likely to fall from the shopping lists of some of these consumers."

Sony too should be wary, says the analyst, due to the PlayStation 3's premium price point that's made it the most expensive console currently on the market.

"From a hardware perspective, Sony's PS3 console is relatively exposed on price, which may prompt price-sensitive traditional gamers to delay adoption of the platform until we see a substantial price drop."

However, Harding-Rolls was more positive about core gaming audiences, which he said were "relatively resilient to an economic downturn" thanks to "few financial responsibilities" and "a higher disposable income."

But despite that there was likely to be a medium term impact that would see "more risk-averse business practices" and "new and original IP projects" under pressure, leading to a lower level of innovation for consumers.

Echoing that last point Electronic Arts' CEO John Riccitiello recently claimed that while the company's new IP titles this year had reviewed strongly, sales weren't as high as they would have been had they formed part of an existing, well-known franchise.