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  • world of warcraft is fad?

    We all make predictions - but some people get paid for it. Just because of that we put the microscope on the world of videogame market research and analysis to see if their bar charts are worth the graph paper they're written on.

    In many ways an analyst is in an unenviable position: it's a damned if they do, damned if they don't situation. While we might baulk at the Gordon Gecko salaries they get paid (though by all accounts these are exaggerated) everyone always remembers the things they get wrong, not the things they get right.

    Let's take the industry's most outspoken crystal-ball gazer, Michael Pachter (analyst at Wedbush Morgan) as an example. Back in 2005 in the pages of New York Times he made the extraordinary claim that World of Warcraft was going through a bit of a fad. Over the previous ten months Blizzard had notched up over 3 million subscribers for its game but this didn't impress Pachter.

    "I don't think there are four million people in the world who really want to play online games every month," he said while grinding some salt and pepper over his hat. "World of Warcraft is such an exception. I frankly think it's the buzz factor, and eventually it will come back to the mean, maybe a million subscribers." World of Warcraft now commands over nine million subscribers worldwide.

    While it's true to say that WoW caught most industry pundits by surprise few would have predicted a reverse in subscriber numbers given its ability to woo and absorb. But we'll be coming back to Pachter a little later and revealing some of his other whoppers.

    At this point we should note an important distinction between analysts and market research groups. While both attempt to predict future events analysts usually report directly to one company and generally use their knowledge of a key area to inform financial institutions. Market Research groups systematically gather, record and analyse info in an attempt to report on, and predict future trends.

    Market research groups sell their information, graphs and predictions for a premium, but are they any more accurate? Well... in 1995 Forrester Research projected that the Internet would have a worldwide user base of 34.9 million people by 1998. Notice the precision. Not 35 million, but 34.9 million.

    The real number ended up being in excess of 100 million users. Forrester also grossly underestimated the size of the electronic commerce marketplace. In 1995 Forrester predicted $2.3 billion. The real number turned out to be more than $13 billion.

    Yes, it's easy to rake over old ground and nit-pick but what's startling is how much companies pay for this kind of information. We contacted one independent market research group in the US for a quote.

    They said they'd be able to process a 15 question survey to their database of 500 clients (videogame enthusiasts in this case) 'tabulate' the information and get it back to us for a measly $15,000. Makes you want to start up your own company doesn't it?

    One worrying feature of videogame analysis is how out of touch some of the commentators seem. Recently Richard Newboult, analyst at Panmure Gordon, made this extraordinary statement: "Last year 70-75 percent of all SCi's profits were generated by two hit games - Lara Croft's Tomb Raider Anniversary and Hitmen Bloody Buddy." Whoops!

    And if that wasn't bad enough listen to this brilliant piece of advice from Nick Williams of GamerMetrics: "The Wii Balance Board, for example, could provide a completely fresh experience for all kinds of gamers. Could you imagine a Grand Theft Auto game where you actually run out of breath while trying to outrun the cops?" Probably not the kind of GTA game most fans would want to imagine.

    Truth is, market research groups and analysts clearly do get things right and if publishers and financial institutions are willing to pay them money for their stone-casting then who are we to complain. But it's when they get things instinctively wrong that it really rankles. You get the impression a publisher would be better simply posting a message on a game forum if they want heartfelt feedback. And some do.

    Most gamers we know saw the huge popularity of Nintendo's Wii coming over the horizon along time before the suits did. E3 2006 was a bit of a giveaway given that queues to play Nintendo's console were over four hours long compared to 30 minutes to experience Sony's titles.

    Michael Pachter, however, called it a little differently. "In 2010 Sony's going to have 55 percent, Microsoft's going to have 35 percent and Nintendo 10 per cent," he said smearing mayonnaise on his shoe before adding: "With all three of those having plus or minus five per cent."

    To be fair Pachter's prediction was in line with other forecasts. Indeed, Yankee Group had the split at 44 percent to Sony, 40 percent to Microsoft and a lowly 11 percent to Nintendo by 2011, and that was just a year ago. While there's obviously some time to go these forecasts look a little silly when you consider Nintendo's Wii currently commands 41.5 percent of the market share and shows few signs of easing up. Indeed this figure is 68 percent in the UK alone.

    But it's easy to sit on the sidelines and scoff, putting your reputation on the line and prophesising the future requires guts - as baseball legend Yogi Berra once said: "making predictions is dangerous, particularly ones about the future." We'll leave the forecasting to the highly paid graph-botherers of the world and leave you with a few of our favourite ever IT prediction gaffes:

    "Get your feet off my desk, get out of here, you stink, and we're not going to buy your product."
    - Alleged comment said by the president of Atari when Steve Jobs was trying to drum up interest in his concept of the Mac.

    "Dead, finished, gone."
    - Alan Sugar's verdict on the iPod, Daily Telegraph 2005

    "I think there's a world market for about five computers."
    - Thomas J. Watson, chairman of the board of IBM

    "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
    - Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977

    "640K ought to be enough for anybody."
    - Bill Gates, 1981

  • #2
    Tnx for info

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    • #3
      Interesting.

      A nice change anyway in what is available to read in places such as this.

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      • #4
        hotlineage, your info is great

        Shade, why do you say that ?

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        • #5
          Very good Info, thanx!
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          • #6
            Thanks your information is very cool. It's really nice info.

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            • #7
              The world of Warcraft is an enormously popular game that has experienced success beyond which it could have waited for any person. One has become a current triumph and has been high and mighty to hearings for his sort and the game in general. Also it has had an effect in the industry of the game, and of many ways he is to surprise and a remarkable title.

              What world of Warcraft has done is to match to multi-player more popular. Before he arrived, most of people who in line played games to multi-player generally adolescent era and twenty something the men. The world of Warcraft has been high and mighty to hearings of the game considerably. All the classes of groups of same age and individuals now are playing it. Particularly, it has brought gamers much more young towards the sort.

              The world of Warcraft is abolished the people who are not normally in game. It is absolutely common so that somebo
              dy tries it because it has a roommate a or friend who has it, and then they themselves enlist. An academic study, the project of Daedalus de Nick Yee, has examined people who play the sort to multi-player. Almost 20% of people now who played these games have had little previous experience in the game video. The world of the paper of Warcraft in the attraction of such people cannot be underestimated.

              The world of Warcraft are abolished the women, who are not the typical hearings titles to multi-player them. The women look for the game actively towards outside, or they try it because his fiancè or to husband is a ventilator. Around half of the women who play games as Warcraft is playing with its partner. The women now compose generally around third of the total number of the people who play games to multi-player in line. The world of Warcraft is often the dominant title in introducing them to the sort.

              The world of Warcraft has matched a social experience. People play the together game in groups. Together the game he joins, and around 25% of the people who play games as Warcraft is playing with its romantic partner. The families also play together, and is common so that people experience it with a member of the family. The parents play the world of Warcraft with their children, and the brothers play next to one in the game. He has a clear, universal plea that he animates such interaction.

              A factor that has attended the reputation of the world of Warcraft is the availability of the free tests for the game. Whereas it was in the development were the beta tests that introduced the game to the players. More perceivably possible, although, the snow-drift of the revealer of the game has carried out the free tests for the game from its launching. This has made sure that any person can try it and play it. Most of the people who muestrea the game wishes to continue with him, and it is probable to buy the game and to sign for above for the monthly subscription.

              The extensive hearing for the world of Warcraft is been of interest the industry of the game. Before the game came ahead, the companies of the game felt that the sort to multi-player full era and that was no site for a new title. The game has proven of another way and has demonstrated that the market can be extended and really grow. The companies of the game have been impressed by their success, and very are interested in because it has removed until the point from has. They had not made the potential in the sort of performance of papers in line.

              The world of Warcraft has demonstrated that there are really many possibilities of the sort. The companies of the game now are watching to match to multi-player that they are more accessible and easier to play. They wish to repeal players more occasional than they can not have the time or inclination to spend all his hour in a game. Also they are examinee how the games are designed to multi-player. They were serious and excessively demanding titles. Warcraft has demonstrated that they can purely entertain and diversion.

              The world of Warcraft is a title that is broken the new earth and has increased the market that the games to multi-player can have. He has been popular between diverse types of people and has done who the industry of the game rethink its whole approach to the sort. It is a very accessible game and has developed an ample plea, of current consequently.

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              • #8
                Thank You very much
                very nice information

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                • #9
                  Nice post!!! Yes really, the game is amazing and it is very interesting game. I really love this game and do you know you can also improve the educational skills by playing this game. Researches found that by you can improve your scientific thinking.
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                  • #10
                    thank you for this information

                    Comment

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