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ESA Provides Software Stats, Downplays Mature Titles

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the games-games-games dept.

The Almighty Buck 24

Thanks to the Entertainment Software Association for its press release revealing a multitude of statistics about U.S. videogame sales in 2003. The overview seems to be that "combined sales for computer and video games exceeded $7 billion for the first time ever, and that a record number of console video games sold more than 500,000 and one million units", and console game players "...most often purchased action (27.1%), sports (17.6 %), and racing titles (15.7%), role-playing games (8.7%), fighting games (6.9%), family entertainment (4.7%), and shooter games (4.6%)." ESA president Doug Lowenstein also downplayed the impact of controversial mature-rated games, noting: "The fact that 44 of the 49 games that sold more than half a million units were rated E [Everyone] or T [Teen] reflects the fact that this industry is producing... content appropriate for people of all ages." Update: 01/26 23:26 GMT by S : The NPD Group, who originated the study, has further information in a press release, noting software sales "remained largely unchanged over the previous year's record-breaking performance", and including the Top 10 PC and console titles for the year.

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ESA Provides 10000 digits of pi (-1)

users.pl (689022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8093944)

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Numbers Lie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8093945)

Just because half a million games sold, doesn't mean that they are worth it, I know many people in stores looking at games and say, hmmm, i wonder what this game is, the box looks cool, let me get it, without ever reading reviews or getting recommendations or anything. One main thing i always will remember is sex sells, and so i am a bit skeptical about these numbers and the point of this posting.

Re:Numbers Lie (4, Insightful)

angst_ridden_hipster (23104) | more than 10 years ago | (#8095122)

Yes, but to tie this in to the numbers that they're so hot to compare to ...

Look at movies. Some movies do really, really well, even though they suck.

Internet discussion boards, email, and SMS reduce this phenomenon through widespread, rapid word-of-mouth. But people who buy games based on the box are probably similar to people who go into movies based on the poster (or maybe even the theatrical trailer).

So numbers aren't really telling a lie. They're just not telling you what you might think they're telling you.

Proverbs deceive (1)

AllenChristopher (679129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8111458)

"One main thing i always will remember is sex sells, and so i am a bit skeptical about these numbers and the point of this posting."

The question isn't "Does sex sell?" It's "Does anything BUT sex sell?" and further "How much of what is sold is sold because of sex?"

In the eighteenth century and before, you know, people would argue with proverbs. In urging someone to not buy something, someone might say "A penny saved is a penny earned," and then the potential buyer might reply "Penny wise, pound foolish" to suggest that the purchase actually saves money or is otherwise important in the long run.

This method of argument was discredited, and by the end eighteenth century you find authors excusing themselves for even mentioning a proverb.

Why do I bring this up? "Sex sells," is a proverb. It's even alliterative, so points there, but it can't reasonably refute good numbers. It only suggests ways in which to look at them. In this case, you'd say "I KNOW sex sells, but apparently a great number of things aren't sold based on sex. When people do buy for sex, they buy about the same number of titles that are bought by fans of realistic racing or any other reasonably narrow subject. So perhaps sex is, in itself, a narrow subject, and not just a spice that can be added to any other title for extra success?" I wouldn't necessarily defend that. It's just how you use a proverb for inspiration.

The M rated games... (3, Interesting)

Toxygen (738180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8093964)

...are the most warezed.

Adult Only-Rating Sales? (3, Interesting)

MiceHead (723398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8094159)

They left out games that fell under their A0 (Adult Only) rating, which according to their numbers made up about 3.6% of the "games that sold." I'm not sure if this is by units sold (in which case adult games sold 8.6 million units), percentage of titles offered via retail, or by sales (in which case "adult" games sold $252 million last year).

Re:Adult Only-Rating Sales? (3, Interesting)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8094230)

There were AO games released last year!

Holy crap! I thought that that rating was only a myth!

Excuse me gentlemen...I'm off to find the Yeti!

Re:Adult Only-Rating Sales? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8097332)

3.6%? There are only a handful of AO titles in production, I believe most of them being JAST or Peach Princess hentai titles. As much as they might have a niche market in the otaku types, I hardly doubt they account for 3.6% of a $7+billion industry...

Re:Adult Only-Rating Sales? (1)

strech (167037) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099440)

They also left out "Early Childhood" (i.e. the real young edutainment stuff).

I imagine most of the 3.6% left out was them.

I think it's by units sold, but they never make it particularly clear.

Interesting (4, Insightful)

AzraelKans (697974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8094547)

Now this looks like an interesting research instead of hearing the "my console is winning" cries from fanboys this are hard cold numbers who have little to argue about.
However I wouldnt take those as a forecast of the numbers for this year. (except for the ps2 who most probably will continue to dominate the market) you have to realize they are based on the best selling titles of this year which were E to T rated. (Only ETM and GTA figured on the list as M titles) The most important M rated titles for last year were delayed. Doom 3, Half life 2, DNF (just kidding) Ninja Gaiden, Halo 2. If those titles are actually released this year, the balance might turn. Plus those titles were for the consoles that shown bad numbers for this year (the PC and the Xbox) so the ball is on their side this year.

They are lessons to be learned from this statistics, but I wouldnt take it as "M rated games wont sell" or the classic "the PC and the XBOX are going down Nintendo is going up" fanboy rant. The messages are on the lines Old but good franchises still sell (a lot), games that are controversial (and good) have a place in the market (weither congressmen like it or not) and making a movie tie in is still a risky business from all the movie games out this year only 1 was an enourmous success. (spite of its quality).

Re:Interesting (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8096782)

Plus those titles were for the consoles that shown bad numbers for this year (the PC and the Xbox)

Uhh... the PC isn't a console. It's quite different, in many respects. Technically the XBox is a console (you can tell, because the games are poor in quality and have cludgy controls).

Unfortunately, these numbers do represent the change in the gaming arena... despite the fact that PC games are selling as well as they ever used to, consoles have grown so huge that companies now only see the PC as 10% of the gaming market.

The other problem is that so many of the game developers who used to code solely for consoles are now trying to code for PC as well (instead of exclusively).

Thus the quality of PC games on average is in decline as the low, buggy standards of console gaming engulf everything. Arcade games have never sold well on PC. It's not what the PC is for. People who want arcade games on a PC will just use MAME. People who don't own a PC and who want arcade games will buy a console. Now, for some reason, the industry sees the PC as "another console" and is trying desperately to shove the same poor quality arcade games at the much more mature PC gaming audience. It's not working, but instead of taking the PC gamers and their more sophisticated requirements into account, the games industry is just writing off the PC as a dead gaming environment, and ignoring the long rich history of great PC games.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097734)

low, buggy standards of console gaming

Not meaning to flame you or anything, but what are you smoking?

I've been playing console games since the early 80s and PC games since the late 80s. I've never played a buggy console game. (That's not to say that they don't exist, but for the most part any good title will have no noticable bugs) Until very, very recently, the only buggy games available were on the patch-friendly PC.

--Jeremy

Re:Interesting (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8100906)

You must of not played the last Tomb Raider game...

Statistics (0, Funny)

evilmuffins (631482) | more than 10 years ago | (#8094892)

Remember, 87% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Re:Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8098517)

What an original joke!

Re:Statistics (1)

ooby (729259) | more than 10 years ago | (#8099000)

76% of all people know that!

I know why so few top games have M ratings... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8095578)

Hah... Everyone pirates PC games! And those games don't have to get Nintendo's seal of quality or Sony's blessing to make it to market.

Serious question (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#8096352)

What type of games fall under the catagories 'family entertainment' and 'shooter games'?

Re:Serious question (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8096819)

Arcade games, like Pac Man and Space Invaders, and 1942. There are still some really lame arcade games being released (with nicer graphics perhaps), but still with the very simplistic gameplay.

Now that the market has matured, however, and people want GTA and DooM and CounterStrike, the gaming industry has to try and catch up.

But I have to ask a question here, who would you rather have dominating the future of the gaming industry - the people who wrote NetHack, or the people who wrote PacMan Jr?

Re:Serious question (1)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097922)

There are still some really lame arcade games being released (with nicer graphics perhaps), but still with the very simplistic gameplay.

Pfah. Youngsters. No sense of what makes a game fun.

I've had more fun with this one [blackcatnetworks.co.uk] than with... oh, just about any FPS. And I like FPSes.

It would be interesting... (1)

Uberwang (745233) | more than 10 years ago | (#8096464)

To compare numbers of games sold to games made. Some of these numbers could be high just because of a greater selection. Knowing how many of each type of game there is would give the numbers some meaning.

Can you trust... (0, Offtopic)

one4nine4two (683126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8097871)

a site that puts html tags within the <title> tag?

Of course, the site was created with FrontPage. What should I expect?

The other 14.7%?? (1)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8098006)

So what happened to the other 14.7%??

Q.

Notice which ones are missing? (1)

AzraelKans (697974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8102469)

It strikes me as odd is that KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic) for the Xbox and the PC wasnt listed as a top seller. After all it won several awards and was a contestant for game of the year in several publications and circles. Same goes for Prince of Persia SOT. Even games that are suposed to be very popular (wrestling,castlevania,THUG) are missing as well.

This is a proof that game quality has less to do with its sales than we assume.
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