Sales are down! Stop spending money on're fat anyway.

9:07 pm - 05/10/2012

It was another bad month for game companies. Video game sales fell 42 percent percent in April, with total industry sales falling to $630.4 million from $930.9 million a year ago, according to market researcher NPD Group. The early Easter holiday this year may have contributed to the lower than expected sales numbers, along with a relatively light game release schedule for the month.

The poor performance in April was worse percentage-wise compared to March, when sales fell 35 percent, and February, which was down 20 percent year-over-year. April, like February, had a relatively light release schedule for core console games.

In April, hardware sales were $189.7 million, down 32 percent from last April’s $279.9 million. Software was $292.1 million, down 42 percent from $503.2 million a year ago. Accessory sales held steady with $148.6 million, a one percent increase from last year’s $147.8 million.

The estimated total consumer spending on games includes physical video and retail games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions, full-game digital downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile games. Not counting hardware, sales were $307.2 million, down 42 percent from $533.7 million a year ago. The poor software sales were even lower than what a number of analyst firms predicted. Of course, these sales do not reflect the digital side of games, including social, mobile, and online.

The top-selling game of the month was Activision Blizzard’s Prototype 2. Lucasarts’s Kinect Star Wars and Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 were the next top selling games for April, at number two and three, respectively.

Here’s some more analysis from NPD Group’s Anita Frazier:

Overall new physical sales
“This year, Easter fell very early in April, which means most Easter-related purchases may have fallen into March this year, whereas last year, Easter fell late in April causing most sales to fall in that month. We usually find that Easter-related purchases generate an extra 10 percent in revenue in the month they occur, so some of the softness compared to last April could be attributed to the shift in Easter timing.”

“One thing to keep in mind is that the 3DS has outsold the DS by about one million units in their respective first 14 months in the market, and the DS went on to become the best-selling gaming hardware system ever.”

“The average selling price for hardware increased over last April, with one of the drivers of that increase being the Star Wars Kinect 360 bundle, which included the Xbox 360 console and controller, a Kinect sensor, and Kinect Star Wars game.”

“I think what the new physical retail content sales reflect a very light release schedule in terms of the amount of compelling new games. Last April, the top seven titles outsold the top-selling title this year, and, simply stated, there were notably fewer new market introductions. I think it’s a simple as that because when we see compelling content come into the market, the games are still selling as well as ever – we just saw a lot less this April as compared to last.”

“Kid Icarus: Uprising on the 3DS ranked among the top 10 SKU’s for the month, and would have made the list if we were reporting on SKU rather than total title level.”

“For some insight into digital purchasing of content, we can look at the performance of points and subscription cards which was up 75 percent in units over last April. These could very well have been last minute additions to Easter baskets early in the month.”

“Skylanders characters remain a strong driver of accessory sales. The three character pack SKU’s have sold just under 10 million units in the U.S. since their launch into the market last October.”


LBR, If I were rich I would buy a house with many big rooms and walls only for Video Games...but I'm not rich like I should be
zucci_zookeenee 11th-May-2012 01:27 am (UTC)
Even if I were rolling in money there's probably only around a dozen or so games more than I want to get. Not a whole lot has caught my fancy as of late that I don't already own.

I enjoy spending my money on the gaming industry, but they gotta gimmie more reasons to give them my money.
iamglory 11th-May-2012 03:15 am (UTC)
I don't know why they think that there is anything really good out. IT has been a lack luster season frankly.
zucci_zookeenee 11th-May-2012 02:58 pm (UTC)
The dozen or so games on my "want" list go back to the last two or so years worth of releases that just haven't dropped in price enough to get me to spend... and a few are on a console I don't even own, hah (oh, Wii.... I will get you one day)
kniferomance 11th-May-2012 12:47 pm (UTC)
Perfectly said, A+ comment, etc.
kyuusei 11th-May-2012 02:38 am (UTC)
Orrr maybe there was only one interesting game to me in April and I bought it (Witcher 2).

...Well. I do need to get Xenoblade, but I was a broke-ass student and couldn't get it yet. And you could argue I don't even spend enough on food. =P
iamglory 11th-May-2012 03:14 am (UTC)
UGH....there is shit out TBH....I'm not excited about anything till COD2. So very very very sad.
kyuusei 11th-May-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
Haha if you mean Black Ops 2.. honestly I'm excited too. Plus I have some shit in my backlog still. Red Dead Redemption I'm looking at you!
iamglory 11th-May-2012 03:15 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you're a starving student...I remember those days and it sucks a lot.
mwagen 11th-May-2012 02:56 am (UTC)
What is with your title and cut text?
iamglory 11th-May-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
It's called a joke....I'm sorry if you're very sensitive to things strangers say on the internet.
zucci_zookeenee 11th-May-2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
I get your joke.

And I've totally taken money from my groceries funds to purchase other, more nerdy obsessions. What's a few hunger pains when you're travelling the lands with a merry band of sidekicks? (all from the comfort of my couch)
lunelight 11th-May-2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
Seconded. wtf.
iamglory 11th-May-2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
It's a joke...I'm sorry you are offended by someone with a sense of humor. Perhaps, they can make a game for that.
lunelight 11th-May-2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you're offended by strangers thinking your joke is bad. Maybe they'll make a game for that too.
iamglory 11th-May-2012 06:54 pm (UTC)
Perhaps they will, start a kickstart...I'll contribute money to anything that makes me better than anyone else.
just_say_narf 11th-May-2012 04:05 am (UTC)
I bought Xenoblade and Kid Icarus in April. I don't even remember downloading anything off Steam or PSN in April either.
iamglory 11th-May-2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
How is Xenoblade....i have always wanted to play it...but not sure how i would like it.
just_say_narf 11th-May-2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
I loved it. It was one of the few console JRPGs that I enjoyed this generation. Very open and non-linear with tons of things to do in a world that is beautiful and interesting. The story is well-written and the voice acting is pretty good. Battles are fluid and never get stale. The battle system is much better than other recent JRPGs in my opinion. Similar to Final Fantasy XII's system but far better thanks to it being faster-paced and refined for action. The AI is designed much better and more helpful than it was in FFXII's system.
lunelight 11th-May-2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
I loved FFXII, so this makes me excited to start Xenoblade. (I've heard sidequests are hard to keep track of though, is that true?)
just_say_narf 11th-May-2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
There are hundreds of sidequests but I didn't find it too hard to keep track of them. The only problem I had with is that doing too many sidequests too early in the game can over level your characters so I tended to hold off on doing them under later or when I could use just a little experience boost.
iheartfamke 11th-May-2012 05:34 am (UTC)
Last game I personally bought was Arkham City (new, $60), well not including Star Wars Kinnect since it came with the console.
captain_emily 11th-May-2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
I'm excited about both Overstrike and Dishonored too. In fact, I've been following Overstrike for a while now and it's kind of frustrating that they haven't released many details about it yet

I haven't heard anything about Dragon's Dogma yet, but I might look it up now.
captain_emily 11th-May-2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Last November and December we were buying two to three games a week, but there were a lot of good games coming out. Right now? Not so much. There was a sniper game that came out a couple of weeks ago that my husband thought looked kinda fun, and I've pre-ordered Lego Batman 2, but that's it. (Not counting Diablo 3, since it's PC.) In fact, I don't think there's much coming out this year, at least that I've seen so far, that I'm interested in. If game companies want us to buy more games, they should release better ones.
glenngunnerzero 12th-May-2012 03:28 am (UTC)
Rehash, JRPG, Re-Release, HD-Re-Release
To be honest I'm surprised it's not lower.
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