Snackbar Speculator: Death of the arcade

October 18, 2010

This week we discuss price drops, holiday sales, and studio closures.

Current score

Andrew Passafiume: +300

Graham Russell: +109

Eric Schabel: +65

Shawn Vermette: +165


PSP Go price to drop to $200 before Thanksgiving

Gamers have almost universally shunned the PSP Go since its release last fall. Partly due to the fact that it had no UMD drive, thus making for more expensive games, and partly due to the fact that it was priced at $249, $80 more than the PSP-3000. The pricing situation may soon be alleviated though, as rumor has it that the price of the PSP Go will be going down to $200 before Thanksgiving.

Andrew: I’m surprised the price hasn’t dropped sooner, or it won’t be dropping even more. I don’t think they are selling particularly well and I doubt the price drop will help any, but it’s definitely something I’m surprised didn’t happen sooner. 90%

Graham: Look, the PSP Go was a failure, and Sony knows it. They’ll drop the price to get rid of stock at some point, but announcing a price drop during the holiday season would just be a reminder that there’s this horrible thing in a time where their reputation is key. It’s hard to say, so I’m punting.  50%

Shawn: Considering the cool reception of the PSP Go and the fact that it has now gone an entire year without a price drop tells me something is afoot. Sony hates price drops on their hardware, but unless they’ve entirely given up on the PSP Go, it is certainly time to drop the price on it. The real question, to me, is whether they’ll drop the price of the Go or the PSP-3000. Both need one, but does Sony even care anymore? I’m gonna say yes, they do. 70%


Krome Studios closing its doors

Krome has faced tough times recently. It used to be Australia’s largest independent developer, boasting a staff of over 400. However, at the end of last year, they laid off staff at all three of their studios. Then in April, they laid off more staff, and then a couple months ago they laid off even more staff and closed one of their studios entirely. Now, it is rumored, thanks to Twitter, that Krome will be making one final round of cuts soon. This round, however, would also result in closing their last two studios entirely.

Andrew: Considering how poorly Game Room did for Microsoft and how it was barely even supported with actual arcade games after it launched, this is really not that surprising. I’m not sure how the other Krome developed games have done, but the results of what happened with Game Room, the studio being shut down wouldn’t surprise me. 95%

Graham: This all happened pretty quickly. Game Room was supposed to be a cash cow, keeping on going for years with little fanfare but a lot of money. It didn’t work out that way, and the all-eggs-in-one-basket thing they’ve been trying lately isn’t a great approach when that happens. Are they dead? Yeah, they’re dead. The real question is whether they’ll close or just fade away into some other company so we can’t really call them gone. 90% 

Shawn: It’s unfortunate that a studio could fall so far so fast, but it’s hard to keep an independent studio open when none of your games the last couple years have sold particularly well. Probably the best game they’ve worked on since 2005 was The Force Unleashed for the Wii, PS2, and PSP. That simply isn’t enough to keep you afloat, as we’ve seen this year. I don’t know if they’ll close both of their studios in the near future, but it sounds like they are definitely close to having to do that. Especially with no games even listed as coming soon on their website.  60% 

Wii to outsell Xbox 360 and PS3 again this holiday season

Ever since the Wii released in November of 2006, it has been the top selling console during the holiday season, November-December, each year. This year has been the worst year yet in terms of Wii sales, comparatively, as the Xbox 360 and PS3 have outsold it for half the year. Can Nintendo finish the year strong by continuing their run of ‘winning’ each holiday season?

Andrew: Wii sales have been steadily decreasing throughout the year, but Nintendo usually has a great holiday, so it’s hard to say. With how well Microsoft has been doing, we might see them finally trump Nintendo with the release of the Kinect, and you never know what could happen with Sony. It seems likely that Nintendo could win, but this year is not as likely as the last few. 65%

Graham: That all depends on Kinect, doesn’t it? I mean, the core isn’t even close to embracing it (though Dance Central may make a few converts), but if this becomes the new little-kid-at-Christmas system, it has a chance of topping a Wii system that has already sold to everyone and their mother. I’m still giving it more than even odds of hanging onto the crown, though. 70% 

Shawn: I think that the huge titles coming out this month, and next, will do a lot to improve sales of the Wii this holiday season. True, there’s no Mario game this year, but I would think that a new Kirby game, and new Donkey Kong game, and a new Goldeneye would do wonders for the system’s sales. I certainly won’t predict a new sales record, like last year, but I do think that the Wii will bounce back and lead the holiday season again. 80%