MCV reported that there have been more than 30 Million Xbox 360 consoles sold worldwide (an increase of 28% over 2008). There are also now more than 20 Million Xbox Live members. Microsoft says that US consumers have spent $14.5 billion on Xbox 360 at retail ($5.9 billion in sales for third-party publishers).

VentureBeat wrote about EEDAR’s analysis of the top selling games of the past three years and their correlating average MetaCritic score. It shows that games don’t necessarily sell due to a high Metacritic score.

The basic flaw with the Metacritic and GameRankings systems is that they don’t actually provide a gauge for mass-market consumer reviews of a title. Take games like Ubisoft’s PETZ line which sold well. The games reviewed pretty poorly in the games media and most of the games in the line have low MetaCritic scores. The industry needs a tool that can take into account mass-market interest and the reviews an average person would give the game, who isn’t a core gamer.

According to the NPD Group, The percentage of Americans who over the last six months have:

  • 63% have played a video game 
  • 94% have listened to music
  • 53% have gone to the movies 
  • 10% of U.S. consumers played video games on a social network
  • 5% have paid to download a video game from the Web (an increase of nearly 2% since 2008)
According to NPD’s March 2009 update to the “Entertainment Trends In America” consumer tracking study, which provides an in-depth look at U.S. entertainment consumption, the average gamer spent just over $38 per month on all types of gaming content, based on reported spending in the three months prior to March 2009. 
“As with video and music, sales of physical gaming products still account for the bulk of consumer spending on video games, but digital downloads and other delivery and game-play formats are also rising in popularity,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.

NPD’s report revealed that:

One in three gamers (31%) bought a console video game or portable game over the past 12 months – a 7% increase in traditional game purchasers compared with the year prior. 
Among consumers who play console or portable games:
  • 31% also played a game on a gaming website
  • 12% played on a social networking site
  • 19% played a game that came with their mobile phones
  • 11% purchased and downloaded a game to a mobile phone
“Video games account for one-third of the average monthly consumer spending in the U.S. for core entertainment content, including music, video, games,” said Anita Frazier, video games industry analyst for NPD. “While a portion of that share stems from the premium price of console games, we’re also seeing an overall increase in the number of people participating in gaming year-over-year.”

Data note: Information was derived from The NPD Group’s “Entertainment Trends In America” consumer tracking study. The study is conducted online and is based on more than 11,000 completed responses from U.S. consumers. “Core entertainment spending” is defined as expenditures on gaming, music, home video, movies, and show/concert tickets excluding any subscription spending (e.g., cable TV, subscription movie rentals). Final survey data was weighted to represent U.S. population of individuals age 13 and older. All data was tested for statistical significance at 95% confidence level.

So E3 is coming and people have started to ask about parties. Well, there’s one that I’ve heard about so far. Disney is doing a mixer with Women in Game International and Blacks in Gaming. Should be a fun mixer at the ESPN Zone.

According to a story on MCV, citing Harris Interactive, 23% of UK households currently own a game console . The Wii in particular has seen a 5% increase since last November.

“Brits have been taking advantage of the heavily discounted sales both before Christmas and in the first part of 2009,” Harris Interactive’s research director Steve Evans stated. “It seems that the investment in home entertainment will mean people saving money by staying in, and preparing for some tough months ahead.”

So in the UK at least, the recession has been positive for home entertainment and especially game sales.

Niko Partners, the leading analyst firm covering China’s market for games, announced the release of their 2009 Annual Report and 5 Year Forecast. Findings include:

  • China’s Online Game Market was $2.75 Billion in 2008
  • China’s Online Game Market will reach $3.8 Billion in 2009
  • The total Chinese Game Market will grow to $8.9 Billion in 2013 (26.4% CAGR)
  • Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) accounted for 77% of 2008 online games revenue
  • Advanced casual and casual games accounted for 23% of 2008 online games revenue
  • Webgames and games on social networking sites expanded the casual game segment, offering more games to new and casual gamers as well as to hardcore gamers who play MMORPGs.
  • Sales of next-generation game consoles continue to climb, though entirely via illegal imports as there has been a ban on consoles since 2000
  • In 2008 there were 58 Million gamers in China
  • By 2012 the number of online gamers should reach 119 Million (17.7% CAGR)
“Average spending per Chinese gamer is rising to the point where a 26% increase in gamers resulted in 61% more revenue for online games in 2008,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners.
The report was based on 70,000 points of data collected by Niko Partners in 10 Chinese cities in March 2009.

Home Media Magazine is reporting that an estimated 10% of US and Japanese Households will be 3D enabled by 2012. Europe is expected to reach 6% in the same timeframe.

3D is likely the next big thing and continues to gain popularity. Dreamworks and other studios have pledged that all of their future movies will be released in 3D format as well as the traditional format.
Gaming companies such as Blitz Game Studios in the UK are looking at 3D as a potential way to push the interactivity in games.