The games of December 2010

A guide to the best of what's left

NW: Clearly this is a topic that you like to talk about! But seriously, your assessment is pretty spot on. The playing field has now officially been leveled with regards to motion control gaming, so it seems that it is Nintendo's turn to raise the bar. 3DS looks poised to do that on the handheld side, but what about on the console front? While the Wii has obviously been a massive success, many gamers are reporting that it is gathering dust on their shelves. To compete with the 360 and PS3, the Wii needs HD capability and more compelling online multiplayer gaming. Does that mean a new console entirely? Or a Wii HD? In any case, Nintendo needs to address the engagement issue because most multi-console owners are favoring the 360 or the PS3 at the moment. Are you hearing the same things from GamesRadar readers?

Above: Can you find the dinosaur in this picture?

EB: No question about it. Actually, I'd suggest the move away from Wii is even more pronounced among our readers because they're more hardcore than the average player, let alone the average Wii owner. There's a first-party game here or there worthy of note, but that's about it. They want the most cutting-edge experience and they're not fooled by gimmick controllers - and that experience isn't found on the Wii. We're forecasting far into the future here, but if Nintendo isn't the first of the big three to announce a new console, I'll be amazed.

But that’s ages away. We should probably get back to this month's charts. Anything else on here you find surprising? I think another thing that jumps out at me is the way Yakuza 4 for PS3 at #45 on the extended chart is ahead of all three versions of Crysis 2 (the PS3 Crysis 2 is at #61). Even considering the point you made earlier about taking cross-platform comparisons, this seems remarkably low for what is looking like a technologically stunning, intense FPS experience. What gives?

Above: Seriously, if you don’t buy Crysis 2, you suck at Halo and Killzone 3. Yes, we know that’s illogical, but how else are we going to get fanboys’ attention?

NW: It is important to remember that the charts are based on opinions of active gamers between the ages of 13-59. Unlike your audience, these gamers are not all hardcore and most of them are not reading about new games in various websites and magazines. Many of them do not hear about games until a big announcement via PR and Marketing. I would actually argue that a ranking in the 40s and an above average PI score is not a place for Yakuzu 4 to be at the moment. The key time frame for many titles is the 4-8 weeks leading up to launch. That's where the hits are seperated from the duds. So there is still some time for Yakuza 4 [and Crysis 2].

EB: Gotcha. So strong titles like Crysis 2 and (if you're asking me) Bulletstorm don't necessarily need to panic just yet because they're not topping the chart?

NW: Yes, exactly. If these games were coming out next week, I think that would be cause for panic.

EB: Okay. So let's close out with one last question. I'd like to pick your brain, as an analyst - is there anything that pops out to you that might not be evident to the casual observer?

Above: It’s gory as a slaughterhouse, there are girls in swimsuits, and it sickens non-gamers. What’s not to love, right?

NW: Yes, I wanted to track back to something you alluded to earlier. I think there could be some kind of franchise effect going on with Mortal Kombat. It currently has the highest Awareness of any game we are tracking, but it seems the data could be inflated due to familiarity with the franchise and not the specific title. In any case, there is still a lot of enthusiasm for Mortal Kombat and we'll keep our eyes on the numbers as more info comes out on the title.

EB: Makes sense to me - I know Mass Effect 3 is in my top 10 for 2012 even though I don't even know if it's coming out in 2012. Well thanks for joining us again this month, Nick, and we'll look forward to talking to you some more right after the New Year, right?

NW: Definitely. Thanks for having me, and I look forward to crunching the numbers again in January.

*Methodology: Each week, Ipsos OTX conducts 1,000 online interviews of gamers in the US and asks them about their gaming habits, what platforms they own, what games they plan to buy, etc. This is a representative sample of active gamers (not just hardcore or casual). The Awareness Index is based on how many gamers are aware of the game, the Purchase Intent Index is based on how many people plan to buy the game, and the Recession Proof Index is based on how often the games are ranked in their top 3 planned purchases. Also, for these index numbers, value of 100 is average, so 800 would be 8 times the average. And, conversely, anything lower than 100 is below average (among the titles included in this set). For this chart, we are looking at just upcoming games based on data from Late November [hence, only games released in December 2010 onward will show up on the chart].

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