October spending in the games market tapered a little on August and September figures, as sated Grand Turismo fans moved on and the supply of low-cost PlayStation2 consoles dried up.
But with stock back in the channel, recharged for Christmas, channel researcher Inform predicts healthy levels of throughput once more.
"Games represent one of the few IT industry sectors that's overtaken last year's growth," said Inform analyst Phil Burnham. "In the case of console games, the growth is up 8 per cent for the year to date. Even PC games are unaffected by the hardware stagnation, coming in 30 per cent above last year's figures."
Burnham feels that the launch of Xbox and GameCube next year will not affect consumers' desire to buy in coming months. "Microsoft will have more problems selling over here than in the US. They weren't able to manufacture fast enough to do parallel launching so they missed the Christmas rush. What's more, PS2 in Australia has one of the cheapest buy prices in the world -- Xbox will cost an additional $100 and has only first-generation games."
Meanwhile, retail hasn't escaped unscathed as the price of games and games hardware falls. "There's still enough margin to keep the specialists in business but the real issue is that the interactive games industry is a growing industry. Some say it will rival Hollywood in coming years," said Burnham.
"It's not a matter of 'can you afford to be in it', so much as 'can you afford not to be'."