Lunchtime Discussion: Analysts

This generation has seen a huge rise in interest in the business side of gaming. I can’t ever remember really caring about how much money people were earning or who was buying up who, although in the age of magazines you didn’t ever seem to hear about it. Of course with the limitless column inches of the internet age it’s possible to have as many stories as you want about the business of selling games, rather than when you were writing to fill limited magazine space with how awesome new games were going to be.

Given we never really used to hear about the business side of games I’m sure there used to be analysts commenting on how they thought games were going to sell, they were just more for financial market consumption. However now we seem to hear from some analyst or other every week or two.

I find it weird that these comments seem to annoy people so much. Part of me feels that it’s the great contradiction of this current gaming age; we boast about how gaming is now a huge business but then complain when people treat it as an actual business. Analysts are making an awful lot of money by treating gaming as a business, by making predictions about how a game or console will sell and then extrapolating a companies financial success from that.

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The predictions do seem to be what most gamers take issue with. A big part of this seems to be the disagreement about how something’s going to sell that quickly arise in the comments on any prediction. Of course analysts can’t win, if they’re predictions do seem likely to come true then they’re treated as blindingly obvious.

People seem to forget who these blindingly obvious comments are intended for. Whilst gaming sites frequently pick up on the predictions we’re not the primary target. For the most part – apart from predictions made on Pach Attack which is just a weird show concept – these predictions are advice to the financial industry about what companies might be worth buying shares in. Traders can’t be expected to know everything about the companies they invest in, that’s pretty much why analysts exist.

Anyway that’s enough from me, how do you feel about analysts? Do you dislike they way they bring business into a hobby? Or do you think they get predictions wrong so often that it just seems a bit pointless?

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16 Comments

  1. The thing is, we never really get to hear their analysis, we only get to hear their contraversial comments. I’m sure they spend a lot of time working with figures, sales numbers, projections etc, but the only time they ever hit gaming sites is when they make a comment we don’t like.

    • Precisely this. I always thought that Pachter was a bit of a cnut, but I managed to come across his series called Pach-Attack on Gametrailers and he actually comes across rather well.

      At the end of the day he’s just doing his job and the press are generally making a lot out of those so called controversial comments.

      Go take a look here ( assuming its ok to post a link ):

      http://www.gametrailers.com/game/pach-attack/12619

  2. We should have an Analyst Prediction League to see who is the modern day Nostradamus of analysts.

  3. Lies, damn lies and statistics.

  4. Damn analysts. I’m still waiting for my hovercar and robot butler.

  5. the problem with analysts is if they predict something you don’t like, then there’s nothing you can do about it. they’re kind of like misfortune tellers.

    • But if they predict something you do like, you can’t do anything either!

  6. Analysts are nothing more to the industry than a physic is to the police.

    • Agreed, they’re just subjective views based on opinions that can be manipulated.

  7. Much like articles about Bobby Kotick, we only get snippets which are very often blown out of proportion or without context.

    Statistics often seem so obvious to us but we’re on the outside looking in. The industry needs the obvious stated sometimes.

    • I agree, I think if we could see their comments in context it’d make sense.

  8. Nice words, man.

    Analysts aren’t in Game Dev Story, but I think they should be.

  9. The word analyst has anal in it. That besides do analysts merely analise or do they occasionally drive their predictions home, with nice backhanders.

  10. Yes from out point of view things seem obvious. Like that the new COD is going to sell something million we all know but someone not familiar with actual games could quite possibly not know. But most info I read about analysts are usually the twaddle that come out of their mouths. A lot of which that Pachter says. But I’m sure they have a lot of useful things to say as well….

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