What do you think of my headline, eh? Every Monday the entertainment press reports on the weekend's movie box office numbers, and every week they use some stupid pun or gimmicky metaphor in the headline. "'Bee Movie' has box-office sting in its second week," say. Or "Cruise film 'Lions' a lamb at foreign box office." That sort of thing.
The journos mine for puns in an effort to pretty up what is pretty useless info -- really, what's it to you what Tom Cruise is pulling in at the foreign box office? -- that nevertheless seems to qualify as news.
Video game sales numbers are really no different. Every month the market research firm the NPD Group puts out this data. It's not really useful to you and me -- if you're buying a game because everyone else is buying it and not because it's intrinsically fun for you, you're lame -- but hey, the stats are here, and in some odd way we feel better for knowing them.
So here we go, game sales numbers for games for October. The big winner is "Guitar Hero III," which went on sale late in the month but still managed 1.4 million units across the various platforms it works on. The big loser was "Halo 3." When it launched in September that title racked up a stunning 3.3 million sales, but in October "Halo" managed fewer than a half-million.
I could point out that because "Guitar Hero" has much better holiday prospects than "Halo" -- because anyone you might consider giving "Halo" to probably bought it the day it was released -- it could very well top "Halo's" total sales to become the bestselling game of 2007.
But if I did that I'd be engaging in the same pointless speculation as those Hollywood analysts you see every week on "Showbiz Tonight," and I don't want to be them.
NPD's got console data too. Nintendo's Wii sold 519,000 units for the month, reclaiming the top spot it relinquished to the XBox 360 in September. The 360's September sales had been spurred by the "Halo" release; in October sales fell to 366,000 from the previous month's 528,000.
Sony's Playstation 3 is still in third place -- 121,000 units in October, slightly more than the 119,000 in September.