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Disappointment after 'Halo 3' day one sales?

Filed under: Video Game Business | Xbox | Xbox 360
Posted by Lunabean on September 27, 2007 10:39 AM
Comments (0) |

Yesterday Microsoft announced the Halo 3 first-day US sales to be $170 million, which is $45 million more than the Halo 2 release.

To put this in perspective, as Gamespot points out, this is more than the record breaking domestic opening weekend box office sales of Spider-Man 3 ($151 million) and first-day domestic sales of Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows (no definitive number, but with 8.3 million copies sold at a variety of price points, the estimated haul is less than $170 million).

One would think the $170 million number is good news. Microsoft certainly seems to think so, as Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Shane Kim had to say of the news, "Not only is Halo 3 setting sales records, it's also redefining entertainment. Within the first 20 hours alone, we've seen more than a million Xbox Live members come online to play Halo 3--that makes September 25 the most active Xbox Live gaming day in history."



However, Wall Street analysts were hoping for a $200 million first day haul. And, as misguided and incorrect as these analysts often are when it comes to the gaming industry, the fact that sales missed that mark has, most likely, helped in the selloff we're seeing today of Gamestop's stock (GME), which has fallen 5% to $55.15.

Sure, many are simply taking a profit from the price appreciation we've seen from the stock in the run up to the release, and, yes, the stock took another hit when a UBS analyst downgraded it from "Buy" to "Neutral", but, it is my guess that neither of these detriments would have happened had Halo 3 reached that inflated $200 million.

Does it matter that that mark was invented by people who are wrong about the industry on a semi-regular basis? Unfortunately, if you're playing the stock market, then no, it doesn't. This is why Jeremy warned you last week in his Halo effect analysis, "...a lot of people who don't know what they're doing are going to be jumping into the gaming sector with you. Be wary of these people as they'll pull their money out at the first sign of weakness." Point proven today.

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