Inside the Industry

by Dana Lombardy, Associate Publisher Game Merchandising

Last time we looked at the top sellers as reported by 105 game and educational software manufacturers. Part of that same survey conducted for CGW asked for the total number of new titles each company introduced in 1981, the first half of 1982, and for which personal computers the programs were designed.

Nearly 500 new game titles and 150 new educational titles were introduced in 1981. Statistics we gathered for the first six months of 1982 show around 375 new game titles and 130 new educational titles have already been released—80 percent of last year’s totals in just the first half of this year.

Some of the most prolific game publishers include:

Company1981 New Games6 mos. 1982 New Games
Adventure International5538
Atari Program Exchange3610
Instant Software5020
Artworx Software176
Creative Computing Software**167
Sierra On-Line*** (formerly On-Line Inc.)156
Commodore International1312
Orion Software Associates115
The Programmer's Guild115
Sirius Software**107
Spectral Associates1015
Strategic Simulations*102
Broderbund Software**98
Automated Simulations***88
Continental Software80
Avalon Hill Microcomputer Games712
CE Software72
California Pacific Computer Co.**72
Acorn Software71
Quality Software71
Synergistic Solar62
Big Five Software62
Hayden Book Company62
United Software of America62
Manhatten Software60
Avant-Garde Creations44
Texas Instruments44
Dakin 5/Level 1042
The Software Toolworks42
Discovery Games40
Krell Software40
Creative Software24
Gebelli Software38
Med Systems36
Sublogic Communications***36
Synergistic Software25
Picadilly Software25

It should be noted that this chart does not rate the companies by their size. It lists them in order only according to the number of new game titles they introduced in 1981 and so far in 1982.

What this chart does indicate is that over 50 percent of all new game titles were published by just 10 companies in both 1981 and 1982. If you take the statistics from the top 30 manufacturers, they are responsible for 81 percent of all new game releases.

There is also no relationship between the number of releases and how many sales a firm’s top game will do. *Indicates a company’s top seller has moved 8,000 or more units since introduction. **Is a company whose hottest product has sold over 15,000 copies. ***Denotes a game with more than 25,000 sales since release date.

Some companies which only released 1 or 2 titles have had top sellers with more than 25,000 copies sold (Infocom and BudgeCo), or 15,000-plus in sales (Innovative Design Software, Sir-tech Software, Arcade Plus, and The Cornsoft Group).

Looking at the chart on what game software was designed for which personal computers there’s a discrepancy between the number of new titles and amount of software published (500 versus 806 in 1981; 375 versus 732 so far in 1982). This is due to the fact that one title is often made into two or more versions for different machines. Also, some firms spent a large part of their effort converting old game titles to work on different computers so as a consequence, their new releases figures are not very impressive for 1981/82.

The following chart on amount of software published shows how the personal computers divide game software marketed. The “other” category includes the Commodore Vic, IBM PC, TI 99/4A, Sinclair ZX81, Xerox 820, and a few other machines.

It should be emphasized, that the market share in terms of percent of games made for a computer does not equal how many computers of that type are being sold; although there obviously is a relationship with how many consumers have those machines and the demand for games.

No matter which personal computer you own, the large number of software manufacturers are going to provide you with a variety of games for use on your particular machine.

Personal Computer1981 Game Releasesfirst half 1982 ReleasesMarket Share by % of Software

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