The end of September signals the start of the busy holiday season for the Videogame Industry and the months of October to December often contain the majority of big new game releases and account for almost half of the total annual sales of games and consoles.
New Releases for Q4
Below is a list of major new game releases that we can expect during Q4 in North America (note, this list isn't meant to be exhaustive by any means).
- 02/10 - NBA 2K13 (Gamewise)
- 02/10 - Resident Evil 6 (Gamewise)
- 07/10 - Pokemon Black & White Version 2 (Gamewise)
- 09/10 - Dishonored (Gamewise, Preview)
- 09/10 - Just Dance 4 (Gamewise, Preview)
- 09/10 - Fable: The Journey (Gamewise)
- 09/10 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Gamewise)
- 16/10 - Dance Central 3 (Gamewise)
- 23/10 - Forza Horizon (Gamewise, Preview)
- 23/10 - Medal of Honor: Warfighter (Gamewise, Preview)
- 30/10 - Assassin's Creed III (Gamewise)
- 30/10 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Gamewise, Preview)
- 30/10 - WWE '13 (Gamewise)
- 06/11 - Halo 4 (Gamewise, Preview)
- 06/11 - LittleBigPlanet Karting (Gamewise)
- 11/11 - Paper Mario (Gamewise)
- 13/11 - Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Gamewise, Preview)
- 18/11 - Wii U Launch (Gamewise)
- 18/11 - New Super Mario Bros. U (Gamewise)
- 18/11 - Nintendo Land (Gamewise, Preview)
- 18/11 - ZombiU (Gamewise, Preview)
- 18/11 - Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (Gamewise)
- 18/11 - Darksiders II for Wii U (Gamewise)
- 18/11 - Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Gamewise)
- 20/11 - Hitman: Absolution (Gamewise, Preview)
- 20/11 - PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Gamewise, Preview)
It shouldn't come as a suprise to many that our prediction for biggest game of Q4 (and indeed of 2012 overall) is Black Ops 2. The last Call of Duty installment, Modern Warfare 3, sold more than 25 million units during November and December globally last year and while we expect sales to be down slightly this year due to series fatigure (despite a raft of major changes for Black Ops 2 and the return of the popular Zombies mode), that should still equate to more than 20 million units sold globally.
Next up is Assassins Creed 3. After two games which fans saw as expansion packs to Assassins Creed 2 and a total change of location, we expect this game to strongly outperform both Revelations and Brotherhood (each of which sold around 6 million units in their respective November and Decembers) and should see sales of close to 10 million units globally.
Halo 4 is likely to launch strong and should sell similar volumes to Halo Reach back in 2010 (7 million units). Just Dance 3 sold more than 9 million units in Q4 2011 - we expect sales for Just Dance 4 to be down on that due to series fatigue and a split between existing Wii users and new Wii U owners but 6-7 million units is still a strong possibility.
Most titles on the list above are capable of well over 1 million units in sales - NBA 2K13, Need for Speed, WWE 13 should see similar amounts to previous titles while the success of titles such as Forza Horizon, Dishonored, Hitman and Far Cry 3 will depend a lot on how well the titles are received by reviewers and how much publicity they can generate pre-launch.
Wii U Launch
Most hardware will be down year-on-year with the generation drawing to a close but the big news on this front is obviously the launch of Wii U. To many the Wii U is still an unknown quantity - will it cross over successfully to the core audience as well as cater to the existing Nintendo and Wii fans? Response so far has been positive and pre-orders have been strong - expect Wii U to sell well through the holidays but the real test will be during 2013 where it will be important for Nintendo to keep regular releases flowing and build up an advantage before Sony and Microsoft start to show their new machines around E3 2013.
After an extremely slow year, things will certainly pick up during the last 3 months of 2012. Borderlands 2 has already started this and with at least one big game coming out every week through October and November then overall activity should be high and if Wii U has a strong launch then total Q4 sales should be in a similar region to 2011, but still a long way down on the peaks of 2007-2009.