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Video Game Market, D-VHS Formats Discussed At IRMA Meeting

An overview of the video game market, as well as the future of the D-VHS formats were also part of the International Recording Media Association (IRMA) Annual Meeting, held here in late March.

Simon Price, market analyst for International Development Group, expects strong growth for Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo’s GameCube and Sony’s PlayStation 2 during 2002, with PC-related games having a stable year.

  • Sony PlayStation 2: The platform has a “great consumer brand” had a “phenomenal 2001 holiday season” plays DVD-Video. But Price said that PS2’s price of $300 “is not a mass market price point. Expect a price cut in 2002.” He noted that discs for the unit can be CD- and DVD-ROM, but are moving to all DVD-ROM.
  • Nintendo GameCube: Had a “great launch [November 2001] price point of $199” and a “successful launch although hardware supply was constrained,” Price said. While it has connectivity with mobile phones, DVD was not included in the standard version. The 8- to 16-year-old demographic is critical for the platform, with sports titles being essential to grow the target demographic.
  • Microsoft’s Xbox: Is priced the same as PS2 and had a strong November 2001 launch, beating Nintendo because it had more hardware available. Price noted that DVD-Video playback is included, but a $30 remote is needed to use it. He estimated that 500,000 Xbox units were sold in November and December.

In overall category trends, Price believes that the “big will get bigger, development costs will continue” and that PS2 “will dominate the current generation,” but “three consoles can survive in the marketplace.”

Sean Smith, sales and marketing senior VP for JVC Disc America, outlined D-VHS’s future to the IRMA audience. He noted that D-VHS provides “a smooth transition from analog to digital” and “maintains compatibility with VHS.” In addition D-VHS can become a “versatile home server for the multimedia age” with 50Gbytes of storage capacity per cassette and flexibility for possible use in various applications.

He also said that D-VHS is a multi-functional format “leaving ample room for future improvements.”