According to survey conducted by an independent research group, hardware manufacturers should cut the prices of consoles to bring in new users.
Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all said that the next generation of consoles is a long time away. Instead, the manufacturers are betting on motion control systems like Kinect and PlayStation Move to fuel more sales to the non-core audience. Unfortunately, a survey conducted by market research group Cowen and Company seems to indicate that strategy is not creating a new audience for videogames. Cowen surveyed 2301 adults and asked a series of questions on their videogame buying habits and intentions for what they may buy in the future. The survey found that so-called core software titles are still the best investment for game companies and analysts suggest that lowering the prices of the consoles would do much more to attract new customers than fancy control schemes.
“None of the hardware manufacturers have reduced their hardware prices since the last holiday,” the survey reported. “We believe that the hardware manufacturers have left unit sales on the table by not reducing price points from $199 to $179 and $299 to $249 for the applicable consoles, and that doing so would have driven a more significant boost to hardware sales than the release (for Microsoft and Sony) of new motion-sensing peripherals.”
Cowen and Company believes that the high prices affects software sales. “We view continued stubbornly high hardware price points as one of the key factors dragging down software sales,” the report read.
The new motion control is not doing much to attract new gamers. “Although our survey results show strong demand for the two new motion sensing peripherals among current Xbox 360 and PS3 owners, demand among non-owners and prospective buyers appears tepid,” said Cowen’s report.
If a videogame company wants to make money in today’s market, the best bet is to produce high-quality, high-profile games like CodBlops, oddly enough. “The results of our Fall 2010 Videogame Survey do not change our view that high-quality games for the core gamer remain the best investment for videogame publishers despite changes to the structure of the videogame industry.”
It’s hard to say how accurate market research like this is or what it means for the industry moving forward, but it’s certain that the sales of titles and hardware this holiday season will impact the future of games greatly. If Microsoft and Sony can’t break into the casual market with Kinect and Move, perhaps we will see more growth for core games and even news of a new console generation.