NEWS - Wednesday, March 5, 2008

UK retailers expect GTA IV to lead the way

"We expect the market to continue to grow based on increase availability of hardware, publishers spreading their release schedule across the year and product innovation," Patrick Kelly, Zavvi’s head of games, told

"The expectation is that publishers will continue to push the capabilities of next generation hardware and we’ll see some outstanding games during 2008," remarked’s head games buyer, Gian Luzio.

Marc Dean, the home entertainment buyer for Morrisons, agreed.

"We expect developers and publishers to continue broadening the market with more family and mass market products," he said.

Although the retailers think that 2008 will see family/social gaming take a larger slice of the pie - with titles such as Wii Fit and Rock Band - they all agreed that the biggest release of the year will be Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV.

Despite some analysts predicting that the PlayStation is poised to have a bright year, the retailers didn’t see an end to the "console wars" any time soon.

"The release schedule for 2008 is looking strong for all three formats and pre-orders for cross platform titles such as GTA IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed suggest a very level playing field," Luzio said.

"It’s unlikely that the console battle will be won or lost in the space of a year."

"I really hope that PS3 comes through for us - it has not peaked as we expected," admitted’s Matt Holland.

"However, with more titles launching on the format and some fabulous peripherals I am hopeful that with Sony’s support we can deliver some great numbers for them."

"I’m sure Sony are delighted with recent announcements regarding Blu-ray versus HD DVD, but that is only one aspect of the console battle," said Tim Ellis, head of games for HMV.

"Consumers are lucky to have three strong home console propositions with their own USPs and I’m sure we’ll still be debating what’s best in a year’s time."



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