Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Top videogame forum to highlight sector's health
Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:14pm EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Gabriel Madway
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The videogame sector is looking for a resurgence this year through casual users and programs for mobile phones, themes that will be underscored this week at one of the industry's most closely watched events.
Because videogames cost less than $50 but provide hours of entertainment, analysts and industry executives expect them to show strength even in a severe economic slump that has punished the entire consumer technology sector.
They say videogames are expanding their reach beyond a traditional base of young males to a wider audience of "casual users" through products like Nintendo's blockbuster Wii console and mobile games on such devices as Apple's iPhone.
This week's Game Developers Conference -- which has 300 exhibitors and bills itself as the industry's largest professionals-only event in the world -- will again attract independent developers showcasing cutting-edge technologies in console, PC, mobile and online games.
Organizers say the show, which kicks off on Monday, lured 18,000 attendees last year and has provided a platform for the launch of what became the Wii, now the world's best-selling console.
"The phenomenon that's driving sales this year is that a big chunk of sales are to a much, much more casual audience than we have historically seen," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.
U.S. sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories are up 11 percent so far in 2009, according to researcher NPD.
"We're in a hot category that's growing," said Michael Howse, chief executive of privately held Bigfoot Networks, which is launching the next generation of its gaming network card this week.
"Our general view is that we're certainly impacted on the consumer spending side," he said, "but for some reason, consumers have a few extra dollars in their pocket to play games."
Some game publishers have struggled as retailers cut inventory, forcing job cuts and delayed releases. Electronic Arts, which expects a loss in 2009, is eliminating 1,100 positions -- 11 percent of its workforce -- and closing 12 facilities.
But gaming shares have fared better this year than last, with Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive and game retailer GameStop all in positive territory.
CASUALLY DOES IT
Casual consumers continue to flock to titles like "Wii Fit" and Activision Blizzard's "Guitar Hero," even as traditional demand from hardcore fans of games like Capcom's "Street Fighter IV" holds up.
A videogame is "still a great value for the money, and it's also got a nice social aspect to it now," said GDC event director Meggan Scavio. A casual game "is almost like the new board game; it's really expanded the market."
There is plenty of buzz this year around a Wednesday keynote address by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. The last time he spoke at the event, in 2005, Iwata discussed a new console code-named "Revolution" -- which turned out to be the Wii when it was released in 2006. Continued...
View article on single page
Activision names Yahoo vet to guide Guitar Hero
Also On Reuters
Reuters Summit: Global Hedge Fund And Private Equity
Video: Oldest food coop in the U.S. grows in crisis
The world's cheapest car, the $2,000 Nano, to hit the roads
More Technology News
Activision names Yahoo vet to guide Guitar Hero
Nokia drops N73 model from gaming service plans
Consumer groups, phone companies spar over U.S. stimulus
The Nano, world's cheapest car, to hit Indian roads
Robot model no challenge yet to human rivals
More Technology News...
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Venezuela's Chavez calls Obama "ignoramus"
Obama met Gorbachev in run-up to Medvedev talks
Nobel laureate Krugman slams Geithner bailout plan
UPDATE 1-IMF says clean up banks to tackle dire world crisis
RPT-FEATURE-Global recession stalls skyscraper construction
U.S. woos investors to buy toxic assets | Video
The Nano, world's cheapest car, to hit Indian roads | Video
U.S. existing home sales rose in February
China's last eunuch spills sex secrets
FedEx plane crash lands, burns at Tokyo's Narita
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Japan cargo plane crashes
Pope's condom stand challenged
Montana plane crash kills 17
Jade Goody dies in her sleep
Tributes pour in for Jade Goody
"Peoples' car" Nano launched
Talk of the Town: Jade Goody dies
Israel mall bomb stopped
AIG stays in the hotseat
Indian cricket forced offshore
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
Have high-powered computers saved Sun?
Sun Microsystems Inc, the darling of the dot-com boom, never really recovered from the bet it made on high-powered computers used to run the first generation of Internet datacenters. Commentary
Your opinion matters
We want to hear from you Learn More
Take Reuters online survey
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.