Toronto-headquartered research firm BrandIntel has released a study ranking consumer excitement and anticipation for games this holiday season, revealing Epic's Xbox 360 exclusive Gears of War as the top title.
The study, simply titled "Top 50 Video Games Report", captured data from both online and human analysis from January 1, 2006 to October 31, 2006 for over 1,200 titles, including those available or otherwise announced for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. The games were broken down in terms of audience interest and sentiment score, and then subsequently ranked.
Besides Gears of War, Nintendo's Wii launch title The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess ranked next in terms of consumer interest, followed by Madden NFL 07 and Microsoft's hotly anticipated Halo 3. The recently shipped multiplatform action RPG Marvel: Ultimate Alliance came in as fifth on the chart ahead of Fight Night Round 3 and Call of Duty 3, which ranked in the following two positions.
Ubisoft's PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 stealth action title Assassin's Creed was eighth on the chart, followed by Sony's PlayStation 3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man and skateboarding sequel Tony Hawk's Project 8.
According to BrandIntel, the study examined online consumer communities such as message boards, discussion forums, blogs and other internet social communities, and compiled over 670,000 raw search results, of which 48,000 consumer mentions on next-gen video games were used in compiling the data. Rankings were determined by which games were discussed more than others, with sentiment scores serving as a secondary indicator of placement on the list.
Other interesting findings by the study include the notion that those that play games are “moving away” from World War II-themed shooters, and are instead embracing more futuristic alternatives such as Gears of War or Halo 3. In addition, action adventure games were shown to be the cause of the most discussion due to “ their typical open-ended game play and highly-interactive environments,” while sports games were the target of criticisms due to their “inaccurate and unrealistic” gameplay.
"While traditional gaming reports tend to focus on post-purchase consumer feedback, our report gathers discussions from online communities that provide both hardcore and casual gamers an open forum to express their opinions on new or yet-to-be-released games, therefore generating conversations even before some of the games are released," said Bradley Silver, president of BrandIntel. "The ability to track and analyze online consumer discussion and sentiment allows organizations the ability to gain better insight into consumer perception of a brand. Armed with a heightened awareness of consumer sentiments, gaming executives are then able to identify emerging trends and make better-informed business decisions as a result."