How did Peter Parker stack up against Master Chief?

Blogosphere dominance: Halo 3 vs. Spiderman 3
See the live trend chart version on BlogPulse

Data Mining blog did a comparison between halo, resident evil and borne, so I thought I’d do a little better…

All over the web (actually about 351 news articles from mainstream and online sources), the predictions for Halo 3 were clear. As yesterday’s LA Times noted, “… the video game is expected to pull in more than $150 million in sales in 24 hours. By comparison, “Spider-Man 3″ blitzed box-office records when it took in $151 million at theaters during its three-day opening weekend in May.”

So now that Halo 3 (major video game) is out, how did it do over Spiderman 3 (major motion picture)?

As seen on my chart comparing “Halo 3”, “Spiderman 3” and “Resident Evil” (ironically, its both video game and movie), you can see the results for yourself. It’s still a bit early to tell, and I don’t have the financial figures, but an initial look at the amount of buzz in the blogosphere (tracked by no. of blog posts) gives us a clue as to how many people have likely bought and played Halo 3. As seen in the chart above, the amount of “Halo 3” related posts in the first 24hrs might not trump that of Spiderman 3, but it’s certainly more than half. Since video games are typically less accessible media compared to movies, these numbers are quite impressive.

Still, what would the opening day sales be like? Well, given that a movie ticket might cost around $12 while a present generation video game cost around $60, that’s a five time multiplier for every sale made. Even with the roughest of estimates, I think that if Halo 3 captured just over half of the bloggers who watched Spiderman 3, that’s two-and-a-half times more dough to roll around in.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, what makes the video game business tantalizing is the potential profits. For Sony Corp., the estimated profit margin for “Spider-Man 3” is 46%, according to entertainment research firm SNL Kagan. Microsoft Corp., which publishes “Halo 3”, has the potential to see a profit margin of 90% or more for the game.

The LA Times article breaks it down further for us, including how Spiderman 3 weighed in about $400 million to make and market, while Halo 3 around $60 million. Do give it a read to learn more about these industries differ, and how we might start to see an entertainment shift towards the use of digital actors, independent production (corporations).

While we see the lower cost online media (e.g. blogs, videocasts) eroding advertising dollars from traditional print media (e.g. newspapers, magazines), it’s not as simple for movies to lose appeal compared to video games. However, I might see a shift occur where ideas might break in video games first before hitting the movies (a shift in being prime media).

UPDATE: The figures are finally out. Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 exclusive game “Halo 3” has officially become the biggest entertainment launch in history, garnering an estimated $170 million in sales in the United States alone in the first 24 hours. Yes, Halo 3 eats blockbusters like Spiderman 3 for breakfast.

3 thoughts on “How did Peter Parker stack up against Master Chief?

  1. Even more interesting is how the BlogPulse numbers compare to the search trends:

    If you overlay the two (I am too lazy to open photoshop at the moment), you will see that the spike in news coverage for halo is reflected in the spike in blog coverage. BUT that spike in news coverage has no effect in terms of searches.

    Not sure what that means, but it is interesting.

  2. Note that your search term for spiderman 3 doesn’t pull in all the data. You need to use “spiderman 3” OR “spider man 3”. This gives a peak closer to 1.0 % than the 0.7 % that you show.

  3. @Alex: Perhaps an abstract sign that everyone’s busy producing instead of consuming. It’s unlikely the case, but there could be two reasons:
    1. More likely, the news (or hype) is everywhere (or even unavoidable), so less of a need to search.
    2. The only important news out there should be about “me”, the narcissism driven social web?

    @Matthew: Thanks for the inspiration. I should use search operators for more accuracy. I also noticed that your data consisted of mentions of Halo, instead of Halo 3 in particular. I too didn’t operate this carefully, so I probably ended up with the same results as searching for “Halo”.

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