I picked a story from BBC. They report that Halo 3 release date will be on September, which will mean it might be one of the hit selling games in Christmas time as well. Halo 2 sold 2.5 million copies (that’s more than $125 millions) on the release day. Reuters mentions that Halo 3 is expected to sell even more. There’s 3 interesting elements business-wise:
Timing and Christmas sales
The big boys will fight to get their AAA games in boxes before the Santa Claus arrives. Those games that win the Christmas sales, are going to be big time winners – at least in the AAA world. I assume that Christmas sales are important for hardcore titles, although they might have little less meaning for casual titles. Casual titles can be sold for years, while hardcore titles life span can be much shorter (naturally there can be exceptions to this rule).
The importance of the brand
Halo is a Brand with a capital B. Any game that sells 125 million within the first 24 hours is definitely doing something right. Microsoft is doing a wise move to leverage the brand by bringing the sequel in a form of Halo 3. Sequels sell.
Pricing and different editions
Did you know that Halo wasn’t priced just like “normal games”? Halo will have the $60 price tag, but in addition it will have 2 more expensive editions. A something called “limited edition” for $70, and a “legendary edition” for $130. These prices are for the US market and don’t know if these special editions are available elsewhere, but what’s important is the lesson about pricing: your product could have different editions with different prices. Can you imagine having special editions for casual games? Perhaps the typical version could cost $20. The special/legendary edition could cost anything from $30-50 and would come with additional material (such as mouse pads with the game logo, game T-shirts, sound tracks or anything).
Timing, brand, pricing: three important elements in releasing and selling games.