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Pachter on delays: Game industry not 'particularly well-coordinated'

Justin McElroy

When confusing things happen (say, for instance, games slipping into the first quarter of 2010 faster than we can count) we turn to the guy who has all the answers, analyst Michael Pachter. As we cried into his flannel shirt (metaphorically, of course) about all the fun we were missing, he tried his best to explain the situation.

"I think the game industry isn't particularly well-coordinated," he said, in his best soothing tone. Movies, he continued, are able to get out of one another's way more easily, because if two movies come out you want to see in back-to-back weeks, you're likely to see them both. "But the game business is different," he said, "because you're not going to go out and buy three games in one month. ... Well, maybe you will, but the average consumer won't."

We begged for even more explanation, and he obliged.

We also, he pointed out, had a fairly light spring/early summer, compared to the blockbusters that were dropping in that same period in 2008, which inevitably led to a more crowded holiday 2009.

There are also some other culprits that are, in a sense, taking up more than their fair share of space on the calendar. "This fall you have games like The Beatles: Rock Band, Tony Hawk: Ride and DJ Hero. Those are like buying two or three games, and that sucks a lot of money out of the cycle," Pachter told us.

With such an unprecedented Q1 glut in 2010, it's a little difficult for Pachter to predict what will happen. He does, however, worry that some games are still going to fall between the cracks. "I think the biggest problem you're going to see is that Q1 is now equally crowded, especially considering they're going to be relatively low-dollar months," Pachter said. "Think of something like Darksiders coming then, I think it's going to be hard for a Darksiders to stand out."

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