Lately the whole regional debate in gaming has been spawning numerous arguments and debates across the Internet. I decided I would write this editorial to explore the reasons for and against the argument of North America being the most relevant region in gaming today. Though I have my own opinion on the whole thing, there are opposing points that I cannot ignore, thus I will take both sides of the argument into perspective.
For North America Being The Most Relevant Gaming Region
As I mentioned before. When the NPD numbers get released it seems to trigger enough conflicting banter amongst gamers to make Kevin Butler retract his whole E3 2010 speech. Though it is all for good reason. We cannot ignore the fact that North America has become the biggest gaming territory in the west, so much so that most Americans probably think GFK Chart-Track is a means of tracking environmental readings. Not to make out like they are stupid of course, my point is that extra emphasis is put on the NPD’s even though the sales trends are different in a number of other western regions, yet people act like the NPD numbers are an accurate reading of what is going on in the whole gaming industry. This just goes to show how much influence North America has over the perception of the industry.
Not only that, but like my extremely analytic colleague A.B Frasier mentioned on the Co-op podcast, most marketing dollars are spent on games in the US. Regardless if we call North America the most important region or not, it is inevitable that games sell a whole bunch over there, thus even AAA titles that are manufactured in the east require heavy marketing budgets in the west, however I am unsure if the same can be said the other way around.
Against North America Being The Most Relevant Gaming Region
So I already mentioned how big a deal the NPD’s are, however it can be considered quite unfair how much weight they hold over people’s perceptions of certain platforms or IP’s. I hardly ever seem to hear any major heat going on when the GFK Chart-Track listings are released weekly, or even the Media Create Sales. The point I like to bring up most in this argument is the whole affair of the PlayStation 3 outselling the Xbox 360 worldwide in the past 12 months. We know that the Xbox 360 regularly outsells the PlayStation 3 on the NPD’s, but for the PlayStation 3 to outsell the Xbox 360 worldwide; it shows that the other regions have the influence to tell a completely different story than the NPD’s show. Yes 360 is kicking ass in the US right now, but isn’t it more important to conquer the world as opposed to one territory?
To be fair I don’t think it’s right to call any region the most relevant. What might be considered a flop in North America may be a top seller elsewhere to the point where the publisher/developer can still make a profit. If an AAA title sells around 300,000 in North America, but then sells 900,000 in Europe, most Americans would still consider that title to be a flop.
To close this argument off, the Wii has been topping even the NPD’s since 2007, which was the last time that the Xbox 360 held the top spot on the NPD list. The Wii is manufactured by Nintendo which is a Japanese company. So for an eastern product to reign that long in America goes to show that America is in no way the most relevant region in gaming.
So now that I have laid out both sides of the argument for you, feel free to share your thoughts on this. This is definitely something that needs input from the gamers themselves. Let us know your thoughts below.