Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: August 12th
Two weeks later, and people are still talking about the delay
of Grand Theft Auto IV into 2008. Clearly, it's a huge blow to
people who've been anticipating it for years now. I got thinking,
between Microsoft and Sony, who is this worst for? And I came to
the conclusion that the news is far more devastating to Microsoft
than Sony. With Sony featuring an extensive lineup of their own
first party games for the holiday, in addition to third party
stuff like Unreal Tournament III, and the release of Gran Turismo
5 Prologue, they have less to worry about in terms content.
Microsoft has been banking on Halo 3 and GTAIV primarily for the holiday season, and with half of their puzzle taken away from them, the Xbox 360 will now have to ride on the Halo train from September, and maintain that momentum all the way to December. Is Halo strong enough to maintain momentum for over 90 days? I personally doubt it. Microsoft has made a huge mistake by putting all of their eggs into one basket.
The game will sell exceptionally well during launch and in October, with a vast majority of its sales coming in within the first two-three weeks. But other titles will trump it quick. If Nintendo keeps their promise of a November launch for Super Mario Galaxy, and their December date for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Microsoft will be in a heap of trouble.
The other huge Xbox 360 game is Mass Effect, but the question is whether or not it will sell to the mainstream, or solely cater to the die-hard gamer. Likewise, Sony isn't in the same situation as Microsoft. With Warhawk and Socom approaching release, Lair and Heavenly Sword will quickly follow. Hot Shots Golf 5, Ratchet and Clank Future, and the wildly popular Singstar will set forth in October. Unreal Tournament III will arrive in November.
Likewise, Ubisoft's PS3 exclusive Haze will also debut in November. To round off November, Sony will release Naughty Dog's amazing Uncharted, and Namco will release Time Crisis 4. In the midst of all that, sometime in October or November, we will be seeing Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. And, some rumblings suggest that Tekken 6 is perhaps possible for a December release.
With GTAIV out of the way, this allows a much larger spotlight to be shined onto other titles. Likewise, the delay benefits Sony, because next Spring is precisely the time we'll be seeing Gran Turismo 5 and Metal Gear Solid 4, as well as Devil May Cry 3 for the PS3 and X360. With the holiday boost in sales, fueled by content, price-drop, and the MotorStorm bundle, Sony will have sold enough PlayStation 3s to be able to drop the price of the PlayStation 3 again, in time for GTAIV, GT5, and MGS4 - which may very well put them on top in 2008. Another PlayStation 3 price-cut is predicted to hit in the beginning of Spring 2008, so a lot of this isn't all hyperbole and wishful thinking from yours truly, but very well a possibility.
With the NPD numbers approaching release on Wednesday, we'll finally see how much effect the price-drop of the PlayStation 3 really had for Sony. Hopefully Sony didn't overshoot on all of their numbers, and the PlayStation 3 did end up selling over 200k systems in July - potentially slightly outselling the X360. If such is the case, and the PS3 does sell more than the X360, then this holiday will sure be very interesting, not to mention bloody.
8/12/2007 Arnold Katayev