Game sales slump yet again

Video game sales have continued to drop significantly in the US, a trend that’s being blamed on a lack of compelling new releases. But gamers are still estimated to have spent more than one and half billion dollars during the month.

Research firm NPD Group reports that sales revenue from new games in physical format dropped 24 percent from February 2011 to February 2012, down to $485.7 million. Hardware sales dropped by 18 percent to $574 million. That works out a overall drop of 20% for consoles, accessories, and boxed games.

This makes a third straight month of declining year-on-year sales. One theory is that it’s simply a lack of exciting new games, which appears to be borne out by February’s sales chart being topped by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which came out three months earlier. Second and third place did go to new releases, namely Final Fantasy XIII-2 and UFC Undisputed 3 respectively.

One problem with this argument is that the release schedule for February 2011 doesn’t look particularly stunning in hindsight: the closest to major releases were the first map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Killzone 3. However, Little Big Planet 2 and Mass Effect 2 were both released in mid-January.

It’s also notable that whereas the 10 best selling games in February 2011 made up 94 percent of all sales, that figure dropped to 78 percent this year, further suggesting a lack of blockbuster releases.

The consoles sales drop is particularly notable as it may have been even worse were it not for the first week of sales of the PlayStation Vita, which Sony has described as “above expectations.”

The NPD figures also show just how much the gaming market now goes beyond new products bought in stores. It estimated that spending on used games, rental services, digital downloads and online game subscriptions made up $600 billion for the month.

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7 Responses to Game sales slump yet again

  1. most of the people buying the games are the same ones that upgrade to the latest ipod. these games are pretty much identical to their previous versions with just slight differences. back in the day, these were called updates, now its just sold as a whole "new" game.

  2. Economy is bad.. games arent a priority for alot of ppl, of course used games or cheaper alternatives will grow, new games are just stupidly expensive.. in consoles even more, and all the crap about selling dlcs and addons,etc… its just stupid. They kill the market themselves, its like applying the capitalism model to everything, one day it runs its course and starts declining, all the dlc addons, subscription, free to play, and any other payment models just delay the inevitable, you cant milk it anymore, it is reaching the limit.

    Mass effect 3 is the best game ive played in the last years (together with skyrim and bf3), it is good but I finished it in 3 days.. 20 hours of gameplay to finish it with all the secondary content included.. so Im paying 40€ for 3 days of entertainment, a couple more If i do all the achievements, harder difficulties etc… still replaying it is rarely fun and only an option for the really good games wich are rare nowadays. A collector edition wich comes with a soundtrack, a poster or wathever.. and some digital crap, like new armors etc.. and a DLC included… (yes we are paying for additional content on launch date.. wich is the same as cutting stuff from the final product and selling separate as extra content..) costs around 100€ …
    And is there a surprise people dont buy games? Everyone falls for the marketing campaigns and extra content wich looks cheap at first like paid dlcs wich add like 10 minutes of extra gameplay.. wathever..
    Customers get tired of this crap, and I dont mind paying 70€ for a hell of a good game two or three times a year.. but buying crap every month who is only worth a couple days of playing.. thats extorsion.. and fooling the customers into the capitalism consumist market.

  3. If little to nothing came out for 3 months then seeing a decline in sales makes sense. Children can put these two things together. ME3 just came out, therefore, using math and statistics, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the sales of games in the next month will rise. Stuff be cyclical, dog.

  4. MW3, came with what? 7 maps? Now to play the "top" game for most consoles, you must pay for the subscription services and elite status? I paid $60 for a game that in all actuality should have been a map pack. I am 31 years old, make my own money, and I personally will no longer be paying over $100 just to play a game (not to mention that all this content should be ad-on content). It's just not that good. Yes yes, it's fun, but think about it….. more than $100 for MW3 by the time you subscribe, or just purchase the map packs when you are "allowed" to MONTHS after elite users get them. I call this "Dick Tactics". It's not just good games that are lacking, but reasonable valuation.

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