With consumer spending drained by the recession, sales of video games are down about 46 percent this year, according to NPD Group. Console sales have slowed, too, leading Microsoft and Sony to cut prices on their consoles in recent weeks.
Demand for the Beatles game could help reverse those trends, driving shoppers to stores where they may be tempted to buy more games or upgrade consoles. The game can be played on the Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360.
But can the Beatles deliver massive audiences like they did in the 1960’s?
"I think 'The Beatles: Rock Band' will be huge," says analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities, who sees the game drawing in entire families -- a demographic that was first tapped by Nintendo for party games and fitness titles on its Wii console.
The game has won rave reviews from critics. "With all due respect to Wii Sports, no video game has ever brought more parents together with their teenage and adult children than 'The Beatles: Rock Band' likely will in the months and years to come," The New York Times said.
Of course not all analysts are convinced it will be a hit, due to the cost of its accessories and shifts in customers' musical tastes.
"It will have a great first month, due to lots of great marketing and advertising for it, which means that the fans will pick it up early," says Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst. "But I don't see it driving overall share for 'Rock Band' versus 'Guitar Hero,' and I don't think it's going to drive all kinds of new people into games."
What’s the trade?
I think the Beatles will be a big boost for ERTS, FBR analyst Heath Terry tells Fast Money. But that’s because it’s the first of a series of launches they have coming.
However, the big title this Christmas will probably be Call of Duty and that belongs to Activision . If you’re looking to trade the space I’d do it with ATVI.
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Trader disclosure: On Sept. 9th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Terranova Owns (WFT), (SU); Terranova Owns December Gold Futures; Terranova Is Short Dec. Copper Futures; Terranova Owns Oil Futures; Terranova Is Short (CCL); Terranova Works For (VRTS); Najarian Owns (AAPL) & Short (AAPL) Calls; Najarian Owns (BAC) & Short (BAC) Calls; Najarian Owns (C) Calls; Najarian Owns (INTC) & Short (INTC) Calls; Najarian Owns (DFS) Calls; Najarian Owns (FCX), Owns (FCX) Put, Is Short (FCX) Calls; Najarian Owns (JPM) & Is Short (JPM) Calls; Najarian Owns (JOYG) & Short (JOYG) Calls; Najarian Owns (MS) And Is Short (MS) Call; Najarian Owns (MSFT) And Is Short (MSFT) Call; Najarian Owns (PALM) Calls; Najarian Owns (TEVA); Najarian Owns (V) & Short (V) Calls; Najarian Owns (WFC) Put Spread; Najarian Owns (YHOO) Calls; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (DIS), (EEM), (FXI), (RIG); Seymour's Firm is Short (GFI)
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