Industry Roundtable Session: Holiday '09

This is my excerpt from a gaming journalist roundtable discussion on the Holiday '09 release schedule
This holiday season is hugely underwhelming when compared to the spectacle of the last two years, though the giant shadow of Modern Warfare 2 is perhaps responsible for this year’s scant offerings. It’s possible that the undoubtedly enormous forthcoming success of MW2 has scared off other huge releases, with MAG, Bioshock 2 and Splinter Cell pussying out until 2010. Hopefully these will provide an enjoyable early 2010, much like how Resident Evil 5 and SFIV kept us busy before the summer drought this year. Aside from MW2, this winter I can see Dragon Age, Assassin’s Creed II, Uncharted 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 all clocking a million sales before spring and I believe the wonder of Sribblenauts will follow in the footsteps of Dr Kawasaki and sell bucket-loads over the course of next year.

I don’t imagine Brutal Legend will get the sales it deserves and I think The Saboteur and Borderlands will fail to have any lasting legacy. Similarly, Halo: ODST will probably fall short of expectations, though of course sales will certainly be in the multi-millions, the reviews will be luke-warm. The game that will surely continue to dominate the European charts will be the annual FIFA instalment, though I expect that FIFA 10 will not only be a commercial success, but also a huge critical one, especially considering it includes the first application of 360-degree control in a football game. I for one am more excited about this than anything else this year.
In terms of hardware, PS3 will have its best Q4 ever, largely thanks to the price cut and the PS3slim, though sales of the PSPgo will be mediocre and will fail to set the world on fire. Concurrently, Microsoft will continue to enjoy the decent retail performance of the Xbox360 and Nintendo will still sell heaps of its wonderchildren, but slightly smaller sized heaps than in previous years. Winter 2009 will be the moment Sony pulled it’s finger out and managed to get level with Xbox, however I think that come next year’s holiday season, despite the playing field being far more even than ever before, the overall sales winners will continue to be firstly Nintendo followed by Microsoft and then Sony. To summarise: Sony to make gains from Nintendo’s relative slump, Microsoft largely unchanged, Modern Warfare 2 to sell 6 billion copies.

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