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AVRevForum.com 09-27-2007 05:19 PM

HD Video Game Sales Boom Despite $50 Plus Prices
 
First it was EA Sport’s Madden 08 Football selling 1,800,000 copies in its first week late this summer. This week the shoot-em-up game Halo 3 from Microsoft has hit the streets with an astonishing $170,000,000 in sales in its first day. Both titles are priced in the $50 to $60 range – many times above the price points for CDs, DVDs, HD DVDs or Blu-ray titles - yet consumers ranging from Generation Xers to much younger Generation Y gamers are willing to part with double or triple the price of a CD, DVD, HD DVD or Blu-ray disc to get the latest version of their favorite software title to the delight of the multi-platform video game industry.

A similar success was had with the SACD re-release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon compete with CD backwards compatibility and SACD 5.1 surround sound. Over 1,000,000 copies of this high-resolution title were sold yet the label never followed up with other Pink Floyd or comparable titles in a similar value package leaving early adopters and Floyd fans to wonder if they should ever adopt a new technology like SACD ever again. Many of these shaken and stirred technological end users are the same ones sitting on the sidelines as Blu-ray and HD DVD slug it out in a format war that is reminiscent of the audio-only SACD versus DVD-Audio format war from a few years ago.

The concept of reselling classic and or popular titles is the basis of the business model of companies like EA and Microsoft yet for some reason the music industry seems addicted to losing money and wooed by the lure of the easy song-by-the-download business model. In the past 15 years and despite finding $3,000,000,000 in new sales a year from legitimate music downloads – the record business has lost over $20,000,000,000 in domestic yearly sales. And the drop in sales is not solely because of Napster or illegal downloads, as the executives responsible for this horrendous performance will tell you. The main reason for the drop in sales is today’s music with very few exceptions artistically is substandard compared to the movies and video games consumers can buy for comparable sums of money. At the same time a gold mine of amazingly profitable and artistically important music from the four major record label’s back catalog is languishing. The best the majors can come up with is selling a low-resolution download to your computer or iPod or in a 25 year old CD format that just doesn’t inspire younger buyers the way HD titles from the likes of EA, Microsoft and other developers do.

The solution for the music business is so incredibly simple it is amazing and it would result in a boom in both music sales as well as profitable electronics sales as well. If consumers are willing to part with $50 for a great offering – why wouldn’t they also invest in music if the value proposition at say $20 was strong. On a DVD-Video disc you can put a DTS or Dolby soundtrack for 5.1 surround, a 24 bit stereo mix and even have room left over for video supplemental. For a label to invest $100,000 in a group of it’s a-list titles to reissue them in surround or even high resolution audio is the kind of investment artists should expect. The truth is – the major labels want smaller labels to pay them huge upfront retainers for the rights to sell the music the majors should be selling in high resolution in the first place. Labels then complain that they couldn’t possibly release high resolution and surround sound discs on a DVD to the hundreds of millions of users out there for fear of piracy. In that instance you might look to Blu-ray and or HD DVD as encrypted, one-cable solutions that offer up to 50 GB of storage, HD video capability and audio formats at the cutting edge of sound. Imagine a Jimi Hendrix album remastered for 5.1 surround and in 24 bit stereo for the purists along with upconverted interviews in HD video and concert clips. Then imagine another reissue with a new surround sound remix and more supplementals that would inspire ever audio buyer and Hendrix fans to buy the title all over again – just as they proved they would with Dark Side of the Moon and the same way the kids do today with HD video games despite their $50 disc prices.

by: Jerry Del Colliano

CharlyD 09-29-2007 11:12 AM

Re: HD Video Game Sales Boom Despite $50 Plus Prices
 
Some interesting leaps in logic...
Quote:

Originally Posted by AVRevForum.com (Post 3711)
...- yet consumers ranging from Generation Xers to much younger Generation Y gamers are willing to part with double or triple the price of a CD, DVD, HD DVD or Blu-ray disc to get the latest version of their favorite software title to the delight of the multi-platform video game industry.

Although they have similar titles, Madden 08 Football and Halo 3 are hardly equivalent to their predecessors. These titles require sophisticated platforms (an upgrade to XBox 360 is required for Halo 3), include significant new capabilities and promise exhilarating new experiences to their users. It's very unlikely that the original Space Invaders or Pac-Man re-released for X-Box 360 in 1080p format would get much interest in the marketplace.

Quote:

A similar success was had with the SACD re-release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon compete with CD backwards compatibility and SACD 5.1 surround sound.
Sales of 1M copies (over what period?) does represent a very good sales cycle for a re-release music title but is hardly equivalent to more than $170M in the first day for Halo 3.

Quote:

The main reason for the drop in sales is today’s music with very few exceptions artistically is substandard compared to the movies and video games consumers can buy for comparable sums of money.
I can't disagree with you there. There are those few exceptions though that do warrant release in hi-def formats.

Quote:

For a label to invest $100,000 in a group of it’s a-list titles to reissue them in surround or even high resolution audio is the kind of investment artists should expect.
The "gold mine of amazingly profitable and artistically important music" you suggest that the content owners re-release in high definition or multichannel formtats were for the most part recorded on analog systems (of widely varying quality) and likely in 2-channel formats. Certainly the Hendrix content you refer to was recorded with technology and methods that fix a quality floor that cannot be improved upon by remastering using current, hi-def technologies. The frequency response, dynamic range, distortion and noise on the original tapes can be captured quite well onto a CD, and a DVD-Audio or SACD remaster of that tape would sound no better than a well-recorded CD. It would be great if Jimi could pick up that Stratocaster again in a modern recording studio and lay down some 24-bit, 96kHz tracks, but that ain't gonna happen.

Quote:

The solution for the music business is so incredibly simple it is amazing and it would result in a boom in both music sales as well as profitable electronics sales as well.
I agree that the CD format should be ditched. Its lack of any rights management, video capabilities and limited audio performance have all been addressed with more modern formats. The market requires, however, that music be available in widely diverse formats from ring tones through high-definition, multichannel formats. What I would like to see is an ecosystem where I could buy music in the highest level I could expect to consume (e.g. 24-bit, 192 kHz, 8 channel) and have methods for transcoding that content to playback on whatever device I own be it a cell phone or a monster entertainment system.

deacongreg 09-29-2007 05:41 PM

Re: HD Video Game Sales Boom Despite $50 Plus Prices
 
You know in my heart Jerry, I would like to see this happen. But, not that I want to accept this, but what Charly D is saying is exactly what Mark from AIX was saying, that older music like Jimi, or say Sly and the Family Stone, or Maiden Voyage by Herbie Han****, was recorded on the old analog stuff.

And while I do not want to hear it either, it does not seem, right now anyway, that there is any technology presently that can extract that analog info and turn into what we would like to call high resolution music.

Charly Ds alternative, about taking todays music and being able to buy music at its best, then putting it where you want it. Not a bad idea. What do you think of that?

But again, in all seriousness, the record companies do not see the vision here, so how can we, as music lovers, get this message out? Is there something we all can meaningfully do? To get them to listen, to make this a reality?

pocketman 10-01-2007 09:07 AM

Re: HD Video Game Sales Boom Despite $50 Plus Prices
 
I thought I would add my two bits.

I have a CD collection that is over 1000, DVD collection nearing 300 and before that I had a vast record and tape collection. My spending has decreased dramatically with each passing year. I can't afford to keep replacing my music and video collections.

Ideally I would like to see music join the 21 century. Music videos have been around for several decades. Increase the value of music by including the music videos with high resolution music tracks. We are all getting into large screen TVs which are connected to multi-channel systems, it would be nice to use these systems to their fullest.

I will admit this past year I have purchased more music DVDs than CDs, just because I want to experience both the video and multichannel of my favorite music. I would like it more if the quality (24-bit, 96kHz) was part of the equation.

However the only way that will happen is through either Blu-ray or HD DVD. Either of these formats should be the next music format. The music industry should step up to the plate, pick one of the formats and start using it and forget the others.

Its time for a paradigm shift!


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