While Halo 3: ODST continues to have a "commanding lead" in purchase intent over all forthcoming video games, Modern Warfare 2's placing surged, with the Call Of Duty name re-addition "contributing" to the shift, according to OTX data provided exclusively to Gamasutra.
The regularly compiled chart, which surveys U.S. gamers on titles they are interested in pre-ordering or buying, as well as their knowledge of the game, saw New Super Mario Bros Wii and God Of War III continuing their stints in second and third place respectively.
The rest of the "purchase intent" top five for forthcoming games saw some notable rankings movement, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 replacing Final Fantasy XIII and Assassinís Creed 2 at numbers four and five.
As for Modern Warfare 2, OTX recently noted that consumer awareness levels for the game dropped 20 percent after apparent indication that the Call Of Duty name would be omitted. However, with the game's box retaining the CoD brand, it appears that retail consumers, at least, will be aware of the game's connection to the franchise.
The confirmation of the "Call of Duty" branding on Modern Warfare 2's box art -- and the re-addition of this part of the name to the survey -- halfway through OTX's data period for these charts "undoubtedly contributed to the positive movement," the firm added, expecting both awareness and purchase intent surrounding the title to further rise next month.
Separately to branding discussions, Nick Williams, who runs the GamePlan Insights division for OTX, addressed several specific titles.
"It is also worth noting that the Pre-Order Intent for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) is higher than any other title in the Top 100, which is a testament to the quality standards set by Infinity Ward and the tremendous level of trust they have gained from satisfied gamers across the country," he writes.
Elsewhere, Left 4 Dead 2 now ranks fifth among all upcoming titles, with the ratio of awareness to purchase intent the most notable statistic: six out of ten gamers who have heard of the title say they plan to buy it. Only Alan Wake, God of War III and Modern Warfare 2 have higher ratios. "This data point is the best indicator of franchises that have a passionate and loyal fanbase, and Left 4 Dead 2 has accomplished this feat in a remarkably short period of time," says Williams.
The strong performance of PlayStation Portable titles is another noteworthy trend, Williams noted. "LittleBigPlanet [for PSP] was the biggest gainer in the Top 25, moving up 26 spots from 49th to 23rd, and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (14) and Gran Turismo PSP (25) both debuted in the Top 25," he says.
"With the PSP Go scheduled to release on October 1, 2009, there is the potential that these marquee franchises could help move a significant number of hardware units for Sony," Williams adds. "This is supported by the fact that a large percentage of the intenders for the aforementioned PSP titles do not yet own a PSP. That said, the purchase urgency (Pre-Order, Buy in the First Month) is not particularly high for these titles, which suggests that a large portion of these gamers might wait until next year before making any decisions."
The second-biggest mover in the Top 25 for purchase intent is Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City, a compilation of GTA's Xbox 360-exclusive downloadable content, which gained 10 places in the charts from 19th to 9th. Says Williams: "While at first glance it may seem that consumers are mistaking this for a brand new GTA offering, a closer look at the data indicates that gamers are viewing this title as a potential holiday bargain."
Specific evidence of this? "When asked how much they expected to pay for Episodes from Liberty City, 75% of the intenders said they expected to pay less than $59.99 (compared to 30% of those waiting for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)."
The full chart is as follows:
OTX's GamePlan tracking survey involves polling 1,000 U.S. gamers each week. The firm plans to release updated rankings monthly, leading up to the holiday season.