Study: M-rated games sell best

Independent research firm finds risqué games gross top dollars, review scores augur solid sales.

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Though much ado is often paid to the console wars raging between Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, the performance of games broken down by genre, rating, or features is often overlooked. However, a new study by the Electronic Entertainment Design and Research firm titled "Console Intelligence Briefing 2007" targets these metrics specifically.

In collecting its data, EEDAR examined 219 retail and 187 downloadable games released on the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 since each console's release through June 1. The company used GameSpot sister site Metacritic in measuring a game's average review store, and pulled its statistical data from a variety of sources, including "authoritative sources" and first-hand observation.

One of the more noteworthy findings from the study was that titles that received a M for Mature rating had the highest average review scores and the highest average gross sales in the US. These games accounted for 10 percent of the total amount of titles released, and were able to achieve their sales numbers despite "not being offered for sale at some major retailers."

The study also noted that games that score above 90 on Metacritic grossed sales of up to 531 percent more than the industry average, even though games of such caliber accounted for less than 2 percent of the titles released. Furthermore, "highly rated titles" sell up to five times better than games that receive lower review scores, according to the study.

EEDAR's findings revealed that action games were the most prevalent genre during its sampling period, at 24 percent of all titles. However, the shooter genre accrued the highest gross sales. The study also noted that only 45 percent of retail games made use of online connectivity, with 98 percent of all Wii games having no online support. However, the Wii received more than twice the number of retail games in its first seven months than the Xbox 360 or PS3 in the same amount of time after their respective launches.

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