Top-selling Xbox 360 gamesWalmart.com and Amazon.com (same) 1. Call of Duty 2 2. Madden NFL 06 3. Need for Speed Most Wanted 4. Peter Jackson’s King Kong 5. Project Gotham Racing 3 Gamestop.com 1. Call of Duty 2 2. Project Gotham Racing 3 3. Perfect Dark Zero 4. Dead or Alive 4 (pre-order) 5. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (pre-order) If we’re allowed to make some gross oversimplifications for a moment, we’d characterize Walmart.com and Amazon.com as general retailers that are more representative of overall consumer sentiment. Gamestop.com’s figures show what the hardcore gamer is excited about, while Amazon.com and Walmart.com represent Joe Average. Tellingly, Joe Average doesn’t really care much for Perfect Dark Zero, or the latest Elder Scrolls. The hardcore gamer does, but doesn’t care much for Need for Speed or movie-based games such as King Kong. There really are two distinct markets at play here. In general, anybody reading Joystiq.com or any other games blog is going to fall into the latter market: the educated games consumer who does pay attention to ratings. Orwell’s “If there is hope, it lies in the proles” (thanks, Toast!) is certainly true of the games market. If we want to see better games, the proles will need to be educated on what makes good games good. Without a change in spending habits, we are unlikely to see any change in the development pipeline.