As the install base for the various games platforms beefs up, distributors and retailers are predicting a big year for game software, especially as a raft of new titles is due to hit the shelves over the coming months.
“Games is a growing market," business development manager at publishing and distribution outfit Manaccom, James Mackay, said. "The top four games for Christmas each did 10,000 units in a month. That’s incredible stuff.
“A top selling game is really good for six to eight weeks. It all happens at once, which makes it a very exciting market.”
Take 2 Interactive has a number of big titles coming up. Midnight Club 2 for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and Viet Kong for the PC are all attracting a lot of attention from retailers.
“They should chart very, very well,” Take 2 Interactive managing director, James Ellingford, said. On the Xbox, the controversial State of Emergency is also set to attract healthy sales. The Grand Theft Auto franchise was the top seller in 2002 by value and continues to be a top selling title.
“Vice City rocketed out the door,” Ellingford said. “It’s been a very good quarter for us all round and we are very pleased with the way 2003 is shaping up.”
All Interactive Distribution product manager, Ryal Irwin, said the big March title for PS2 was Pride FC – a no-holds-barred wresting type of game.
“It will be very popular for both rental and retail,” he said.
April is going to be the big month with titles such as Devil May Cry 2 and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. The PS2 version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein is also tipped to do well. Later in the year, the popular PC game Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness will make its debut on the PlayStation 2 platform.
However, the big title is likely to be Infogrames’ Enter the Matrix. It will ship for all the main formats simultaneously.
“It is based on the movie, but other than that they are keeping very quiet about it,” Irwin said. Infogrames national promotions manager, Kym Warner, said the company’s biggest titles over the next few months would be V8 Supercars in March, Tomb Raider in June and Enter the Matrix.
“They’re the three big ones and with those three alone I think this year will be massive,” she said. “The platforms are really building momentum with their user bases. That is good for software sales.”
Staff at South Australia’s Berlin Wall Software Supermarket predict Unreal 2 and Master of Orion 3 – both sequels to popular games – will attract the established PC crowd.