IDC’s Prediction Market Forecasts Top-Selling 2010 Holiday Season Game Console Title, Call of Duty: Black Ops, to Within 1.5% of Actual Sales

FRAMINGHAM, MA – January 31, 2011 – International Data Corporation (IDC) today released results from a video game console prediction market survey, fielded in September 2010, which forecast Americans would buy 11.7 million copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops across all retail channels during the vital 2010 holiday shopping season. Reported U.S. sales of the Treyarch/Activision blockbuster were 11.6 million in 4Q10, making the console prediction market results just 1.2% high.

IDC's prediction market drew on the collective intelligence of the GamePro.com crowd. GamePro is an IDG print publication that appeals mainly to "core" younger male gamers, and together with its online community assets, attracts millions of unique gamers monthly. Approximately 700 GamePro.com members took the survey last September. Respondents had the opportunity to predict the top 3 selling console game discs by platform (including the number of units sold; bundled games were excluded), how many new consoles would sell, as well as to predict sales of the new Xbox 360 Kinect peripheral and PlayStation 3 Move motion controllers.

Fifteen GamePro.com respondents rose to the top in terms of participation and accuracy:

The 3 grand prize winners were Dylan of Harrodsburg, KY, Mau Ng of Staten Island, NY, and whodat of New York, NY. These individuals answered all 14 questions, went 16 for 18 in terms of identifying the top 5 selling titles by platform, and were each awarded $100 in prizes.

Another 12 respondents were each awarded $25 for their impressive batting averages: Michael (Powell TN), Jason M (Almont, MI), Gohan E (Stickney, IL), Brandon (Langley, BC), Kenny (Fayetteville, NC), Julio (Ponce, Puerto Rico), Richard B (London, UK), il Radd (North Wildwood, NJ), Jonathan (Wentzville, MO), D34THR0W322 (Mexico, NY), Lewis (Norwich, UK), and Ethereal85 (Columbus, OH).

"Congratulations to all the IDC-GamePro prediction market winners," said Lewis Ward, research manager, Consumer Markets: Gaming at IDC. "Although many of the predictions didn't prove as accurate as the Call of Duty: Black Ops forecast, it's remarkable that so many gamers have their finger on the pulse of this diverse and dynamic market. I believe this tool will find a home in the industry, though I can also feel the 'crowd' breathing down my neck!"

The prediction market participants correctly identified 6 of the top 8 selling Wii titles, all 8 of the top selling Xbox 360 titles, and 6 of the top 8 PS3 titles in 4Q10. Aggregating disc sales across all 3 current generation console platforms, participants identified 10 of the top 12 selling games, although the predicted number of discs sold was elevated (36 million discs versus the prediction of more than 50 million). About half of this discrepancy was the result of much weaker than anticipated sales of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II and Medal of Honor. The forecast for Kinect and Move sales, however, was within 16% of actual results (5.8 million versus the predicted 4.9 million units).

"These results prove the power of incorporating game mechanics to develop forecasts for the games industry, offering a new meaning to the phrase 'gaming the forecast,'" says Mat Fogarty, CEO of Crowdcast, IDC's platform partner for the prediction market. "By tapping the wisdom of the GamePro.comcrowd, we offer a new way to accurately assess key metrics facing the gaming industry."

Estimated sales based on the survey are part of two recent IDC studies. Likely U.S. Game Console Sales and Top-Selling Titles by Platform, 4Q10 (Doc #225454) considers console sales and top 15-selling game discs. Likely U.S. Advanced Motion Controller Sales Through 1Q11 (Doc #225352) describes the likely sales trajectory of Wii MotionPlus, Kinect, and Move hardware through the first quarter of 2011.

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