NEWS - Friday, July 2, 2004

Most Competative Holiday Season In 30 Years

Securities analysts have issued a research brief that dubs the 2004 fall lineup of games a “murders’ row of potential blockbusters” and examines the impact such a gathering of games could have on the industry as a whole. Some the heavy hitters cited by the analysts due out this fall (and into the holiday season) include Halo 2, The Sims 2.0, GTA: San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid 3, Gran Turismo 4, Half-Life 2, DOOM 3 and Metroid Prime 2, comprising a lineup that “could prove to be the largest and most competitive in the 30-year history of the videogame industry.” The analysts noted however, that aside from The Sims 2.0, they “do not consider any game this holiday out of harm’s way of the competition, “adding that “many publishers and games will suffer from the intense competition.” The Banc of America team has “very low expectations” for games with lesser-known brands, including those from Acclaim, Midway, Atari, Vivendi Universal Games and even Microsoft, omitting Half-Life 2 and Halo 2. The research states that Electronic Arts titles “should enjoy solid sales” during the 2004 fall period, but the analysts “believe that EA’s titles skew towards a slightly more hardcore audience” and “may have a more difficult time gaining traction.” To that end, EA is forecasted to lose two to four percent of its console market share, despite its PC business “likely being meaningfully higher.” All this leads the analysts to compare investing in videogame stocks to a “giant game of chicken,” though they still “believe most videogame stocks to be undervalued.”


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