When gamers hit Toys R Us and other tales of Black Friday

November 26, 2010

Sprinkled among the snaking lines of parents at a Toys R Us in New Jersey on Black Friday were diehard gamers. Many had no children to spoil. Nor were they particularly happy to be in the Toys R Us; but with gaming hardware fast selling out across the region, they followed the scent of the deal.

The Kinect moved especially fast, if early anecdotal evidence is any measure. Brisk sales of  hardware like the PlayStation3, Xbox and Microsoft Kinect on the nation’s biggest annual shopping spree also bode well for software sales, says Mike Hickey, a Janco Partners analyst.

But which games were enticing fans to shell out on Black Friday?

“ We’re seeing strong sales of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft), Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft), Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard), Red Dead Redemption (Take-Two Interactive), Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda), Gran Turismo 5 (Polyphony Digital) and Donkey Kong (Nintendo),” Hickey said.

Many of the hottest video items weren’t even on sale. The Microsoft Kinect, which was not discounted at any retailer on Black Friday (in fact, the price got jacked up on many secondary sellers’ websites), was out of stock both in stores and online at WalMart, Target and Best Buy.

In New York, hundreds line up in Times Square in November for the launch of the Microsoft Kinect

GameStop also weighed in on Friday morning, telling Reuters about the traffic at its 800 US stores which opened at midnight, which were helped in part by the interest in the Kinect.  “Preliminary reports from our stores record a lot of excitement,” said GameStop’s president Tony Bartel,” and there were many customers lined up at 5 am when the rest of the stores opened.

NPD analyst Stephen Baker said video games were “one of the better categories this holiday,” but low-priced televisions and aggressively priced laptops were  the biggest sellers on Black Friday.

Other video game items that sold well over Black Friday included THQ’s art add-on for the Wii, called the YouDraw. It was sold out at Toys R Us in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, which raises the question–why do people buy regular priced stuff on Black Friday?

“The retailers aren’t giving deals on the stuff people really, really want but the idea is to get people in the store and sell them other things besides the stuff they are giving away,”  NPD’s Baker said.

Photo: Liana B Baker / In New York, hundreds line up in Times Square in November for the launch of the Microsoft Kinect

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