With new video game platforms like Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube coming on the market, area game makers are gearing up for what could be their biggest holiday season ever. Calabasas-based THQ Inc., one of the largest video game software developers in the U.S., is leading the pack with 39 new games to take advantage of what is expected to be a rush by consumers to restock their game inventories for the new consoles. “It’s truly the ideal time to be in this industry,” said analyst Shawn Milne of SoundView Technologies. “You have new game platforms and people who can’t wait to buy the latest games.” Beginning with the introduction of Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 2 last year, video game console makers have developed a new generation of game platforms Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and Nintendo Co.’s GameCube with lifelike graphics and faster speeds that mimic the quality of a feature film. Today, game makers are scrambling to get their products on shelves in time for the holidays, prompting what could be a 40-percent to 50-percent increase in game titles over last year’s holiday season, Milne said. With the earlier launch of PlayStation and this month’s debut of Xbox and GameCube, local game-makers THQ, Tremor Entertainment Inc., Vivendi Universal Games, and TDK Mediactive Inc., among them are betting that video game software sales could surpass $9 billion during the holiday season alone, nearly as much as was sold all of last year.
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