Game Industry Suffers Fourth-Worst Sales Decline Ever

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Game Industry Suffers Fourth-Worst Sales Decline Ever

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The videogame industry took a vicious pounding in April, suffering its fourth-largest year-over-year sales decline ever, according to new numbers from the NPD.

I don't normally bother with monthly NPD numbers, because to be brutally honest, most of us don't really care if the DS is down or the PS3 is up. But when the entire industry gets curb-stomped into goo, it's worth a moment's pause, even if only to ask ourselves what just happened. And boy, I think it's fair to say that April was a nasty thumping for everyone.

The overall videogame industry was down a whopping 26 percent year-over-year in April, with sales of $766 million for the month, compared to $1.03 billion in April 2009. Game software was down 22 percent with sales of $249 million compared to $392 million over the same period last year, while hardware was off 37 percent, $249 million versus $392 million. That's gotta hurt.

It's the worst year-over-year decline since July 2009 and the fourth-worst ever, according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, but it's not quite as apocalyptic as it may look. Inventory shortages could be a problem, she said, and plain bad timing was also a factor. "Some of the decline is explained by the shift of Easter timing," she explained. "In April 2009, consumers attributed $55 million of industry sales to Easter as a purchase occasion, which would account for about 21 percent of the decline from last year since Easter purchasing happened in March this year."

The one bright spot in all this was for the PlayStation 3, which was the only console to post growth for both the month of April and the year to date. On the opposite side of the coin, the Nintendo DS was far and away the biggest loser; it was the month's top-selling console but saw its sales tumble from more than one million units in April 2009 to 441,000 in April 2010.

"The portable side of the industry contributed more than its fair share to the industry decline," Frazier noted. "The portable business across hardware, software and accessories accounted for 25 percent of total industry dollar sales in April but declines in portable sales compared to April 2009 accounted for 61 percent of the total industry decrease."

Frazier said a "big contributor" to the software sales decline in April were actually the new releases that came out in March 2010, which tailed off much more quickly than the new releases of March 2009. "In aggregate, March 2009 new releases dropped off by 54 percent in April 2009 sales, while this year, new releases in March 2010 dropped off by 75 percent in April," she said.

April 2010 is noteworthy for another reason as well: After a ten-year run on the charts, the NPD has finally decided to stop publishing PlayStation 2 sales figures. All in all, I'd say this is a month that's really best forgotten.

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Another factor could be the lack of good new releases. The past month kinda dropped off but at the same time gave us a chance to catch up on all the good games that popped up til then. That and if they want to see more sales maybe oh I dunno stop the achievement/trophy madness. Don't make them so players who do care are forced to spend 100s of hours trying to get them.

I think this just means, at least as far as the hardware is concerned, is that it's less in demand, most likely because most people already own the systems they want. As far as software sales go, might have to do with a lack of good games to choose from. There's something here and there for the fan of this and that, but the more broad releases were pretty non existent. Of course, that part is mentioned in the article, kinda.

To be fair it is a very dry spot at the moment because most games come out in either the Christmas period or summer period.
However due to MW2, most games came out all at once in January and now that people have bought these games that came out and now there is nothing consumers once. Also maybe the EA and Ubisoft crap that has been going on maybe gamers are thinking about what they buy

A long with a lack of hardware releases and accessory releases, it doesn't surprise me but I didn't think it would be that bad

However my view is just a theory and it would be interesting to know why

I don't know about the rest of you but I am SHOCKED That the game industry suffered in a month when nothing good was released, SHOCKED I tell you.

Also considering that Final Fantasy 13 (Best/Fastest Selling Final Fantasy Ever), God of War 3, Heavy Rain and other good sellers all came out in March... I could see why there would be a sharp decline when April turned out to be painfully sparse.

One reason is pricing.Lots of people can't afford a $60 game or a $300 to $500 System.You only get less then half of what you paid for the game if you go and trade in to a game store.So you have to take in a bunch of your games. to even try to get the new game you want.Then they take your games you traded in to them,then they sell them for new again. I got 7.00 for one game and then they turn around and sell it for $45 for it and it makes me sick.No one is buying games because you can't get back what you get for them and the game store's and are just ripping us off.

well, i'm doing my part to save the industry!

direct reference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMTz9nIUkGc

It says enough when the DS's year-on-year sales drop by about 60% and still wind up selling more units than the rest of the consoles this month.

Also, RIP PS2.

This is kinda ironic as I've bought like 7 games in the last month, the most I've ever bought.

Certainly bad timing is something to consider. What big titles came out last month that anyone can remember? I spent the better half of last month giving Dragon Age a shot because there was nothing worth mentioning that came out that really interested me. I tried Splinter Cell Conviction, but that left me with a distaste for the game.
And consoles have really hit the point of diminishing returns for new systems bought as many people have had years to invest in them already so that market was bound to grow stagnant soon. With publishers seeing no reason not to jack up the price of games in the US by ten bucks, they are easily seeing it in sales numbers when people just don't want to pay the extra money for something they can wait on and get at a reduced price when none of them are moving off the shelves at $60.
I find it odd that so many companies and stores are experimenting with used games now that the word has been spread about GameStop's claim to riches over that. Eventually, I wonder how many new games will be bought in the future in retail stores over how many used titles will be bought in their stead.

Not really surprised about the DS... the latest invention for them was a bigger DS, and that's not exactly pushing any new boundaries there. Come up with an adapter to plug one into a HD TV to play games and maybe they will see a rise in sales. Or else just hold your breath for the 3DS in the future, Nintendo. I still use my DS Lite (couldn't see buying a DSi since I'm the only one I know who owns a DS), but it isn't too often I'm getting new games for it. Damn Blockbuster doesn't stock crap but Wizards of Waverly Place and ICarly for the DS anymore, and at my age that is just creepy to even look at that stuff.

1. prices are too high (most Indie games are an exception)
2. Being a PC gamer for over 20 years i am not impressed with todays console ports and do not buy them
3. DLC - for a small amount you get new content for your favorite game so you have no need to bother with other games. But still - im a PC gamer and do not like DLCs (unless free), so i don't even buy games that use payable DLC. That lately narrows my selection quite a lot.
4. In my case - when i and my friends get a good game we play it. Lately that has been Bad Company 2 and we really have no urge to buy other games. It has its flaws and a bad smell of console, but at least we play it together at weekends.

Im surprised...I got quite a few good games this quarter...Tis a shame

not surprised at all, expensive software and hardware, companies got TOO greedy, therefore bad games, on line gaming, japanese companies teaming up with western studios (fuck you capcom), big game developers growing old, maybe It´s a logical transition... or maybe the industry is going straight down the toilet...

Faky:
1. prices are too high (most Indie games are an exception)
2. Being a PC gamer for over 20 years i am not impressed with todays console ports and do not buy them
3. DLC - for a small amount you get new content for your favorite game so you have no need to bother with other games. But still - im a PC gamer and do not like DLCs (unless free), so i don't even buy games that use payable DLC. That lately narrows my selection quite a lot.
4. In my case - when i and my friends get a good game we play it. Lately that has been Bad Company 2 and we really have no urge to buy other games. It has its flaws and a bad smell of console, but at least we play it together at weekends.

then why the hell are you posting then, you are a PC ¨gamer¨!!! you just can´t see the whole picture, sonny

Don't blame the consumers. Blame the producers and publishers for the money-grabbing filth they are. If we don't like it, there will be decline. We don't live for them, they live for us.

Simple as that, these numbers don't affect me at all, I keep playing the games I like. Be it from 2006 or 2010. Quality games I want, not some shitty-ass DLC policy, overpriced consoles that remove features over the years etcetc.

Gaming business is just one big messy shithole.

I have to say I'm quite surprised this year has been an explosive amount of quality games released. More than any other years I can remember and probably many of those said years combined wouldn't match up to the 2010 bout. Of course someone with a just a taste for shooters would argue with me but I'm an all-around kind of gamer. I pretty much any genre except for sports, with a few exceptions in there. I really been having problems making choices of which to buy, I never had that problem before and over 10 major games in 2 months purchased is defiantly a new maximum for me. So to say this year has nothing good is quite an assumption, for christ sakes two bioware releases happened. One being no doubt the RPG of the year.

I do however think DLC is starting to wear thin, most the content doesn't even last 15 mins (I'm talking to you Dante's Inferno) and they want to charge 1/12 or more of the game for it. If DLC content was quality it would be worth every penny but lately it's like they throw an intern in a room and say, "Here go nuts and don't worry if it sucks it's just a DLC anyway!" This trend could cut off a lot of purchasers from even getting a game that will support DLC just for the hatred of DLC alone.

May has a slew of big releases, so don't worry too much... until the mid Summer of course as usual.

Honestly I think it was the lack of any decent games. The only good one I know of was Just cause 2.

Just make some decent games and the money will flow. Also if gabe would get off his fat ass and make half 2 episode 3 im sure the industry would have no problems at all money wise with people rushing wallet in hand to throw their money at him.

I have to say it isn't surprising they are having a sales decline. I mean what's there to buy? Not much. There's like a couple of good games on my list but they are all expensive. 60 50 dollars. Too much. Hey what I would like to see is how walmart will effect the gaming market if they do used. I've heard there tactics. They will brow beat the gaming industry into selling recent games used at the price of 15 dollars.

I'm not surprised at all. Why? Well, what came out in April? That's right, nothing.

bolastristes:

Faky:
1. prices are too high (most Indie games are an exception)
2. Being a PC gamer for over 20 years i am not impressed with todays console ports and do not buy them
3. DLC - for a small amount you get new content for your favorite game so you have no need to bother with other games. But still - im a PC gamer and do not like DLCs (unless free), so i don't even buy games that use payable DLC. That lately narrows my selection quite a lot.
4. In my case - when i and my friends get a good game we play it. Lately that has been Bad Company 2 and we really have no urge to buy other games. It has its flaws and a bad smell of console, but at least we play it together at weekends.

then why the hell are you posting then, you are a PC ¨gamer¨!!! you just can´t see the whole picture, sonny

Don't worry about him he is simply going to miss out on Batman AA/Dead space/Dead rising 2*/SF4/RE5/Mirrors edge/Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands*/assassins creed/splinter cell conviction/Darkstalkers*/Blazblue*/[P]rototype

* not out yet but comming soon

RDR and FO:NV will save the industry.

I entered this expecting some kind of hard hitting graph and instead am greeted by numbers? I am disappointed!

Well was anything released that was worth buying? Yea I couldn't think of anything ether.

Too bad nothing good came out in April.

It's because bugger all was released in the way of good games this month.

Andy Chalk:
The one bright spot in all this was for the PlayStation 3, which was the only console to post growth for both the month of April and the year to date. On the opposite side of the coin, the Nintendo DS was far and away the biggest loser; it was the month's top-selling console but saw its sales tumble from more than one million units in April 2009 to 441,000 in April 2010.

I'm sure Sony has a smug grin on their faces over that, but they should be quickly reminded that beating your own horrible past sales isn't really something to be proud of. Any celebration they throw is basically a "Hooray We Stopped Sucking" party. Meanwhile it isn't shocking for the DS to be going down in sales seeing as it's towards the end of its life cycle with the predecessor having been announced.

Que one guy coming in to say that piracy was the cause

Que the one guy coming in to lament the industry

Que the one guy coming in to say that it's sheer economics for the summer, not demand.

Que one guy coming in and saying that now Nintendo owns the world.

Que the end of this que.

uppitycracker:
I think this just means, at least as far as the hardware is concerned, is that it's less in demand, most likely because most people already own the systems they want. As far as software sales go, might have to do with a lack of good games to choose from. There's something here and there for the fan of this and that, but the more broad releases were pretty non existent. Of course, that part is mentioned in the article, kinda.

You hit the nail right on the head mate. If there were more new and original games then there'd likely be more sales.

I have a GameFly account and a PS3... and I see nothing worth renting. sad but true. I'm renting Super Street Fighter 4 (fun, not amazing, but fun) and Tatsunoko versus Capcom (Better game, but again gets old quick)

Otehr than those... I got nothing. I own Bayonetta (Awesome), BlazBlue (New one needs to be released now), Devil may Cry 4 (Not bad), Disgaea 3 (Best game on PS3 period), Borderlands (Playable, fun, need more friends), and Star Ocean (Hope its good)

Wow, maybe this will bring developers back to the harsh reality that HALO PALETTE SWAPS DON'T MAKE BIG SALES! but who the hell am I kidding, Call of duty 6: modern warfare 4: bad company will be the next "must buy" game in about a month.
(in case you can't tell, the CoD6:MW4:BC was a sarcastic remark regarding my personal belief that all FPS games after halo, may as well be halo.)

Considering how many years they've had it so good, I really could care less if they have a few dry months. Either way those numbers aren't putting them out of business, so I don't care to hear them whine about it.

I bet the industry just looks like it went down because of all of the MW2 sales last year.

So you'e saying they've only made so many hundreds of millions as opposed to so many hundreds of millions?

Jesus, my heart just bleeds.

Its just a slow month + bad DRM (I blame everything on DRM.

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