How Often Do Game Analysts Use Common Sense?
Before I present my theory, I have to start with a disclaimer: the elitist mentality in the gaming population translates to the widespread belief that any hardcore fan can do a critic's job and an analyst's job, and do it better than either of the aforementioned professionals. It's a little embarrassing to see so much of this in the communities and forums around the Internet, actually. I'm not saying critics and analysts are always correct, but I am saying that both have certain skills and credentials that mean they are - yes, they are - more qualified to be in their positions than the dude who spends his life on forums spreading his "I know more than everyone" maxim.
That being said, I do often wonder if analysts take the time to use an added dose of common sense when it comes to their predictions and expectations. The example I will use for this argument is April's NPD sales, which were much lower than initially anticipated. As a result, guys like Michael Pachter appear to be very worried (he thinks something might be "terribly wrong"). He does mention that gamers probably spent in March and are looking forward to May, but clearly, this was not factored into the original predictions...so, why? Guys, I think we all know that last month was almost entirely dead. Okay, the last week featured Nier and Super Street Fighter IV, but I doubt either of those will be million-sellers and I also don't think Conviction (released on April 13) will sell as well as everyone may think. Besides, it's an exclusive, which automatically limits potential sales. Other than that? Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper? Episodes from Liberty City for the PS3 that I can almost guarantee few PS3 owners care about (nobody here at PSXE seemed to)...?
Furthermore, look at March. God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Just Cause 2, Yakuza 3, even the expansion Dragon Age: Awakenings, and more. And yes, I know I just cited a few exclusives here, too, but the bottom line is that March presented gamers with a slew of great titles from which to choose. Now, May: Red Dead Redemption, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Lost Planet 2, Split/Second (getting great reviews thus far), and the surprisingly popular 3D Dot Game Heroes. Sans the latter, many have been anticipating this month ever since...well, March. The bottom line is that I don't think analysts give gaming consumers enough credit sometimes. Many really have to plan ahead because most are on budgets (time and money), and they're some of the more informed consumers of any given entertainment venue. It's likely that many spent a pretty penny in March and weren't about to drop any more cash in April, especially when there was almost nothing to entice them.
Furthermore, there's no doubt they were looking forward into this month with the full knowledge they'd have to assault the wallet yet again. Lastly, gamers are well aware of the new technology on the horizon; Move and Natal would represent more investments and 3D is a huge investment unless you're somehow already blessed with a 3D-compatible HDTV. In the end, this is all I'm saying: if I were an analyst going into the March-May period, I would predict a huge March, an absolutely lousy April, and a solid (potentially great) May. I mean...considering all points, wouldn't you? It's almost like hindsight is 20/20 but when releasing expectations for April, shouldn't such thoughts go into the process?
5/16/2010 9:23:13 PM Ben Dutka