Slowdown in holiday sales is expected

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In video-game sales for holiday 2005 is that there may not be one-at least not on the scale of blockbusters like of Halo 2 (which sold 4.8 million units) or Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (which sold 6.3 million units) worldwide. In the video-game world, 1 million units sold equals a blockbuster.

The industry is transitioning between older consoles and newer ones coming on the market, said Josh Larson, director-industry products, CNET games and entertainment, upon releasing the GameSpot Trax Holiday Video Game report. Although Microsoft is launching the Xbox 360 console by Nov. 22, way ahead of Sony, which won't launch PlayStation 3 until 2007, the Xbox games are not expected to create lines out the store. Perfect Dark Zero, a first-person shooter game, is a key offering of the sort "that's helped define Xbox," Mr. Larson said.

But PlayStation has a giant base of 100 million users, and the PS2 games with their loyal following "are going to be the measuring stick for the Xbox 360 system," he said. PlayStation will be out this season with a lot of sequels, like Madden Football, and games based on movies or cartoons, like Dragon Ball Z. And Grand Theft Auto Liberty City on the PlayStation Portable could make a splash. "Based on buzz, these are expected to do well," Mr. Larson said.

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