Exclusive content boosts game sales

San Francisco, Calif. A new study says that exclusive content plays a significant role in driving video game sales.According to EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich, the Xbox 360 version of Fallout 3 – which boasts exclusive paid DLC – managed to outsell the PlayStation 3 SKU by nearly 2.5 to 1.

“EEDAR has studied the trends of exclusive content for the last four years and in almost every scenario, the platform with exclusive content outperforms the platforms without – as a ratio to their respective hardware install base,” said Divnich.

“The most significant example is Fallout 3, where the Xbox 360 SKU outsold the PlayStation 3 SKU by nearly 2.5 to 1 (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 hardware sales ratio is only 1.95 to 1).”

However, Divnich noted that the PlayStation 3 version of Batman: Arkham Asylum featured “exclusive content over the Xbox 360 version,” by allowing users to assume the role of The Joker.

“Because of this exclusive content, EEDAR expects a 52/48 ratio split in sales in favor of the Xbox 360, a large improvement for Sony over the average 66/34 split for multi-platform release titles in North America.”

Divnich also explained that sales of Madden NFL 10 were expected to decline by at least 10 percent compared to last year’s title due to the absence of a Nintendo DS SKU, the lack of a PSP hardware bundle and a lower hardware install base. Nevertheless, sales remain ahead of NCAA’s Football franchise which declined by over 20 percent in 2009.

“EEDAR continues to believe that the lower install base among the core next-generation consoles is the primary reason for the decline in Madden sales and is not any indication that the brand or series may be stagnating,” opined Divnich.

“In fact, even after 20 years, the series continues to introduce innovative features such as an online co-op and franchise mode. Anyone believing that the decrease in sales is somehow due to the lack of effort from Electronic Arts Tiburon, need simply to observe the review scores of the Madden franchise over the last five years, which has consistently posted scores in the mid 80’s.”

Divnich added that the “shift” in popularity to the Wii – along with its unique controller design – has altered the “taste” of many core consumers.  

“Consumers, who once owned a PlayStation 2 and were avid Madden fans, may now have a different preference in their gaming appetite if they have transitioned to the Wii instead of the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.

“With the recent PlayStation 3 price cut and the new Xbox 360 hardware line-up, we expect many consumers, who are in next-generation limbo, to make the jump to a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 between now and August 2010, which should produce a series-over-series increase for the Madden franchise in 2010.”