Console market studies

Gamespot has reported on a recent study of console gamer behavior by Zelos Group. It contains some interesting tidbits:

  • PlayStation One and GBA are viable platforms. Which reminds me of a well-known console developer asking me why I was still working on a PS1 title. This was in September 1997.
  • Word of mouth rules. This sorta kinda seems to confirm industry lore that hard-core gamers buy games they like, this then creates buzz, the game then appears on the non-hardcore gamers’ radar, and then the game maybe becomes a huge hit.
  • DVD playback is an important feature for a console. People might buy a console that’s also a PVR.
  • Console gamers like to play alone.

Just yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a friend who knows about these things about how you can make studies say anything you like and a lot of them use sloppy methodology… oh well.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray has published a report on the toy and video game industry. Of interest:

Extensive debate exists as to which stage of the video game cycle the market is currently experiencing. “We believe spring 2003 marked the midpoint of the current video game cycle, in terms of the product life cycle of current generation video game hardware,” said Gikas. “We anticipate the next generation of video game hardware will be introduced in autumn 2006, depending upon the competitive positioning of the video game console manufacturers and existing demand for current generation products.”

“In addition, we expect 2003 will be the peak year for unit sales of current generation hardware sales. We are forecasting that 22.3 million hardware units will be sold in North America in 2003, a modest increase from 21.1 million units in 2002 and will subsequently decline in 2004 to sales of 20.3 million units as the installed base of video game hardware becomes saturated.”

(Both links from Slashdot Games.)

Comments 5

  1. Jamie Fristrom wrote:

    Also, if you listen to market research all the time, you’ll become risk adverse, and never launch a brand in an original category, and never make millions and millions of dollars. But you also won’t leave giant smoking craters.

    Posted 18 Nov 2003 at 21:33
  2. Jamie Fristrom wrote:

    BTW, is GTA Xbox out in the UK? I’m looking at the sales charts on and not seeing it. You realize, if True Crime beats you guys I’m going to have to eat my hat and change my world-view.

    Posted 18 Nov 2003 at 21:57
  3. Jurie wrote:

    Knowing how to use market research, focus groups, etc., and how to defend against it is a fine art.

    GTA Xbox is not out in the UK yet. It should arrive in January. As for sales figures: on Xbox only we should have a chance. Let’s wait and see.

    Posted 18 Nov 2003 at 23:42
  4. Jamie Fristrom wrote:

    Looks like my world-view isn’t going to have to change:

    Posted 20 Nov 2003 at 6:13
  5. Jurie wrote:

    Whoa, Xbox Double Pack on number 1 at Amazon.

    The user comments are scary:

    “Reviewer: A gamer
    This game is the absoulte best game in the world. Killing peeps never gets old. Neither does shooting enimies, car tires, and friends.!!! If you want to have fun with guns tough (vc and gta 3) go to



    “In this game you get to kill people with guns, bats, anything you can think of. you do missions and get money after you complete them so you can get more guns and kill more people”

    Both gave the game 0 out of 5, too excited to think, I guess.

    Posted 20 Nov 2003 at 10:03