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Hits and misses of 2008...
Surprise hit: Wii Fit. It looked fun but too simple to attract a real base, and it will end up being the best selling game of the year, better than Grand Theft Auto IV. That's remarkable. Surprise failure: Wii Music. Everything they [Nintendo] touch turns to gold. This one didn't.
How all the platforms performed in the market in 2008...
They all surprised me in one way or another. The Wii has sold 8 million units in the U.S. through November, compared to under 5 million through November of last year. That's remarkable, insofar as the Wii will sell more units than in any year in PS2 history.
The PS3 is up by almost the same percentage, but its sales are only 35 percent of Wii sales. In other words, the Wii is outselling the PS3 by almost 3 to 1. The 360 has been out the longest, so it should not have been expected to ramp, and it didn't. Sales are down 2 percent year-over-year.
The DS remains mindbogglingly successful, with year-to-date sales up 15 percent over last year's -- thru November, 6 million units.
It's hard to be "disappointed" in the PSP, which is up 1.5 percent year-over-year.
I suppose that the takeaway is that all of the consoles are doing at least as well as last year, with great strides made by the Wii and the PS3. The notable thing is that the Wii is still at launch price, while the PS3 is cheaper than last year. Imagine what will happen when the Wii is at $149!
Lessons learned in 2008 that could change things in 2009...
Watch out for crowded release windows. There were a ton of games that were overlooked, and which should have been more successful.
These include Far Cry 2, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Saints Row 2, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, LittleBigPlanet, and Prince of Persia, all of which came out in a crowded holiday window that included Gears of War 2, Fallout 3, Fable 2, and Call of Duty: World at War.
Midway's Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
My guess is that many of these would have performed better if launched in January through August, and we may see publishers re-think release windows going forward.
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