September Retail Figures Show 24% Drop in US Sales

September Retail Figures Show 24% Drop in US Sales

image

Declining game console sales led to another year of shrinking videogame sales.

Analyst NPD Group Inc has crunched the numbers for September's videogame sales, and the result is a 24% drop when compared to September 2011. Miserable console figures were the kicker this time out; consoles sold 39% less this year as compared to last, while software sales were a slightly more modest 18% decline on last year's figures.

Madden NFL 13, perhaps predictably, was the top selling game, with Borderlands 2 biting at its heels; meanwhile Guild Wars 2 outsold World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Of the top selling titles, four were sports games. A full listing of the top ten sellers can be found here.

A critical fact to bear in mind is that the software figures don't include digital sales; they're strictly new physical retail only, across all platforms, including PC. Taking Pandaria as an example, retail sales were estimated at 600-700,000 units, while Blizzard recently revealed that overall sales were 2,700,000 total including digital. That means digital made up about 74% of total Pandaria sales.

However World of Warcraft: Cataclysm sold 3,300,000 units in the first 24 hours after launch, and 4,700,000 units within its first month; meanwhile World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King sold 2,800,000 units in the first 24 hours after launch. So even taking digital into consideration, Pandaria is a slow burner, failing even to match Lich King's initial sales.

Christmas is coming, and the game makers are gearing up for the seasonal rush; they must be hoping for an improvement on the current trend of falling sales figures.

Source: Bloomberg

Permalink

I expect to see a spike in November, between the new iteration of Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, and Halo 4 all coming out that month. I know technically Assassin's Creed is coming out on the 30th of October, but I predict the Majority of sales in November, rather than October.

You would think these guys would spread it out a bit, but it seems that selling a game that's almost the same as the last one every year seems to work for them.

The economy is in the toilet and people aren't buying as many video games, what a shocking turn of events. Who could have seen that coming?

Well, September wasn't exactly swimming in top-tier releases. There were the mentioned Borderlands, Madden, and WoW expansion, but that's about it. The fact that the numbers don't include ANY digital distribution really hurts them, especially since Torchlight II would no doubt help boost the numbers if it were included.

cidbahamut:
The economy is in the toilet and people aren't buying as many video games, what a shocking turn of events. Who could have seen that coming?

Escapism actually tends to do very well during depressions. Movies were insanely popular during the great depression because people like to be able to forget about how much life sucks for a little while.

I would be interested in seeing the numbers with kick starter sales (ie donate this much and get game on release) added in.

Maybe the current gen of consoles is getting a bit long in the tooth? Maybe gimmicks like Kinect have lost their luster?

Do console sales normally remain steady as the current generation starts winding down? The WiiU drops soon, and we know Microsoft and Sony have their next consoles in the works, even if they're hoping to get another couple of years out of their current boxes. Anyone know the historical figures on this?

Give me something to throw my money at that doesn't have Halo or Cod in the title (I already threw my money at Dishonored, RE6 and BL2)

Conventional Wisdom would say that sales will bounce bag with the next generation of consoles.

I'm not entirely convinced that CW has the right of it this time.

Maybe people are just getting burned out on the bad behavior of game companies. Day 1 DLC, On Disc DLC, online passes, season passes, punishing the paying customer while the pirate gets the superior version, etc...

I know I am sick of it. I am just so content to sit back and play older games. I am renewing my love for the PS2 as we speak. I have found myself wanting to go back and play so many PS2 games, I even played an NES game the other day (River City Ransom).

I think and hope we are about to see a crash. This industry is sick and it needs a reboot.

cidbahamut:
The economy is in the toilet and people aren't buying as many video games, what a shocking turn of events. Who could have seen that coming?

Oh, people are buying games, it's just not the typical $60 title these days.

Of course console sales have declined. The number of people who still want and need to buy any given console is going to shrink after certain point in time. It's a mountain, not a stairway to heaven. Reminds of a riddle: how far can you walk into a forest? The answer is half way, after that point you are walking out of the forest. This is how things in real life works. Only the world of faux-monetary policy do numbers climb infinitely higher.

Given the resources and will of everyone on the whole planet buying a 360 or PS3, you would eventually run out of people to buy them. In real life, the vast majority of people don't give a shit about videogames. And some gamers don't give a shit about a lot of video stuff. I don't care to buy an XBox360, for example.

vxicepickxv:

You would think these guys would spread it out a bit, but it seems that selling a game that's almost the same as the last one every year seems to work for them.

They release in November to catch the Christmas rush.

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Gears of War 3 and Batman: AC come out September 2011? As well as a bunch of other decent games like Resistance 3, Dead Island, Warhammer 40k and Driver: San Francisco.

Compared to this Septembers Borderlands 2, Madden 13 and Darksiders as the main retail titles.

I'd say it was bound to be last Septembers line up that sells better.

(Again, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm getting this info off a random website)

People don't have as much disposable income these days (Economy is a load of ass) People can't afford many games for 60 quid which is perfectly understandable.

Now we have to hear analysts/developers and publishers whine about how console gaming is dead, PC is taking over, handhelds are dying, all hail the casual iphone gaming...good grief.

Also, about Pandaria, many see it as nothing but a joke add-on and won't buy it like they bought Cataclysm or Wrath of the Lich King because...well...it's WoW with f**king Pandas.

I am happy to see that retail is dropping, because lets face it, internet stores are selling more and more, so people are obviously moving there, skipping the middle-manadgment, meaning more money to game makers and less for store rent.
however i am saddened that this months most sold game was a full-game-priced-team-update for a NFL game. Such little changes should (and used to) be considered updates and were spread for free on the internet. it does not even constitute a extension though some recent DLC make me think you can sell 1 item (that can be created by a modder in 20 minutes) for 10% as DLCs now.

People don't have as much disposable income these days (Economy is a load of ass) People can't afford many games for 60 quid which is perfectly understandable.

im sorry but STOP IT ALREADY. economy was a load of as in 2009-2010, maybe even 2011 for some, but it is rising slowly but steadily now and the crysis is over. stop blaming it for everything.

They release in November to catch the Christmas rush.

yep, the sad reality is that christmas that is a 3 day celebration does not even fit into a month and bleeds out in November. at least the local shops haven't set up their plastic trees yet. (they have by this time last year).
Then agian, i need a new chair and christmas sale is bound to make it cheaper.

cidbahamut:
The economy is in the toilet and people aren't buying as many video games, what a shocking turn of events. Who could have seen that coming?

Its not a sign that people lack money for games, its a sign that people are moving from retail to digital.

well all my friends saved their money to get dishonored and xcom on day one
and hardware sales winding down two month before the first console of the new gen in released? what a shocker

I hear Facebook games are also in sharp decline.

Well the problem here is the word "retail." I'm old fashioned as hell & even I rarely buy retail versions of games anymore....Mostly because no one carries PC games anymore, except the ones aimed at aging housewives that you can just buy at Bigfish for $7.

squid5580:
Give me something to throw my money at that doesn't have Halo or Cod in the title (I already threw my money at Dishonored, RE6 and BL2)

You either have a lot of cash lying around or are very brave.

But seriously, these reports are starting to mean almost nothing when such a high percentage of sales are digital. All this shows is the welcome sight of retail stores going out of business.

A critical fact to bear in mind is that the software figures don't include digital sales; they're strictly new physical retail only, across all platforms, including PC.

Oh, in that case I'd say the real decline is somewhere in the neighborhood of "not at all," because I find it entirely feasible that there'd be 39% more digital sales than there was last year.

SL33TBL1ND:

squid5580:
Give me something to throw my money at that doesn't have Halo or Cod in the title (I already threw my money at Dishonored, RE6 and BL2)

You either have a lot of cash lying around or are very brave.

But seriously, these reports are starting to mean almost nothing when such a high percentage of sales are digital. All this shows is the welcome sight of retail stores going out of business.

Why would that be a welcome sight? Because all those college and university students who have limited internet access don't deserve to play? And the devs don't deserve that money? And I am sure gamers are rich enough to pay their ISP tons of money because they exceeded their bandwidth cap.

squid5580:

SL33TBL1ND:

squid5580:
Give me something to throw my money at that doesn't have Halo or Cod in the title (I already threw my money at Dishonored, RE6 and BL2)

You either have a lot of cash lying around or are very brave.

But seriously, these reports are starting to mean almost nothing when such a high percentage of sales are digital. All this shows is the welcome sight of retail stores going out of business.

Why would that be a welcome sight?

Because they're scum, mostly.

Because all those college and university students who have limited internet access don't deserve to play?

There are online services which sell physical copies, you know.

And the devs don't deserve that money?

Where do devs come in when discussing retail? They make more money on digital sales. Less overheads.

And I am sure gamers are rich enough to pay their ISP tons of money because they exceeded their bandwidth cap.

Most internet services just throttle your speed if you go over, and considering that more and more ISP's are showing up there'll be more competition. Also, as I said there are online services that sell physical copies.

It's more than a poor economy or lack of hardware (current or new), it's attitudes. Companies exploiting people with on-disc, day one, or some kind of locked content DLC often release games later in "complete" or "game of the year" editions, and people find themselves waiting for those or for a price drop, because let's face it, nobody really wants to feel short-changed for their money and $60+ tax isn't cheap for any game regardless of how much padding and filler they pump into it to inflate it's value arbitrarily.

I've got a substantial log of unplayed titles to hold me over for months, and I've got no intentions of buying anything new because there's simply nothing out there that warrants the kind of money companies ask these days ( for example I just got Demon Souls for about $16 new). The only thing that has kept me from picking up more used titles is that the video games drop in MSRP pretty fast these days, so at least they are getting some of my money. They can stick it if they think I want the latest annual DLC framework for a whopping $60.

Also GOG. Sweet creamy GOG.

So console sales are down.. I didn't expect that. SERIOUSLY we need another generation of consoles before buying one makes sense again.

masticina:
So console sales are down.. I didn't expect that. SERIOUSLY we need another generation of consoles before buying one makes sense again.

I don't think people want to fork out another $400 or $500 for a next gen system. Sure the WiiU pre-orders are selling out but we don't know how many units that represents, it may be less than a million and that wouldn't be very impressive at all.

We are at a point where the old consoles are too old but new consoles are not wanted because they would be expensive. Consoles are dying, in my opinion.

Icehearted:
It's more than a poor economy or lack of hardware (current or new), it's attitudes. Companies exploiting people with on-disc, day one, or some kind of locked content DLC often release games later in "complete" or "game of the year" editions, and people find themselves waiting for those or for a price drop, because let's face it, nobody really wants to feel short-changed for their money and $60+ tax isn't cheap for any game regardless of how much padding and filler they pump into it to inflate it's value arbitrarily.

I've got a substantial log of unplayed titles to hold me over for months, and I've got no intentions of buying anything new because there's simply nothing out there that warrants the kind of money companies ask these days ( for example I just got Demon Souls for about $16 new). The only thing that has kept me from picking up more used titles is that the video games drop in MSRP pretty fast these days, so at least they are getting some of my money. They can stick it if they think I want the latest annual DLC framework for a whopping $60.

Also GOG. Sweet creamy GOG.

I agree with this.

We are all pretty fuckin sick of how the publishers treat paying customers but somehow we only think it applies to ourselves. I say that there are enough people who are sick of the bullshit that they are having an impact on sales.

Let me give an example, 2 games that came out last week both had season passes that double the price of the games, Worms Revolution and Retro City Rampage. DLC has run wild and I think we all see that and it has affected our buying habits. Can anyone really believe that Day 1 DLC is acceptable? If it's done at launch, it should be included in the launch price. Many have made excuses for day 1 DLC and look how they have been thanked. More DLC abuse in the form of Season Passes (which don't even give you all of the upcoming DLC in some cases).

Crono1973:
If it's done at launch, it should be included in the launch price. Many have made excuses for day 1 DLC and look how they have been thanked. More DLC abuse in the form of Season Passes (which don't even give you all of the upcoming DLC in some cases).

If you've got a team of engineers, you have to pay them.

If the game is done, boxed and shipped, they're still on the payroll, getting paid.

If they're getting paid, they should make something.

If they make something, you should sell it as Day-1 DLC.

And if it is good, people will buy it

There, Day 1 DLC explained in 5 steps.

ResonanceSD:

Crono1973:
If it's done at launch, it should be included in the launch price. Many have made excuses for day 1 DLC and look how they have been thanked. More DLC abuse in the form of Season Passes (which don't even give you all of the upcoming DLC in some cases).

If you've got a team of engineers, you have to pay them.

If the game is done, boxed and shipped, they're still on the payroll, getting paid.

If they're getting paid, they should make something.

If they make something, you should sell it as Day-1 DLC.

And if it is good, people will buy it

There, Day 1 DLC explained in 5 steps.

Don't you think we have all heard these excuses justifications before? You know what they did before DLC came along? Other projects, bug fixing, etc...

I mean, to some people it's like the game industry just started this gen. Thanks to DLC (and general greed) you have gone from paying $50 for a full game to almost twice that and you are getting punished more for doing it too (DRM is far worse than it was last gen). Keep making excuses though.

Oh and as for the bolded part, they already have people pre-ordering DLC with season passes. In other words, people are buying DLC before they know if it's good. No other industry is so fuckin greedy that they ask their customers to buy products that don't even exist yet.

Crono1973:

Don't you think we have all heard these excuses justifications before? You know what they did before DLC came along? Other projects, bug fixing, etc...

Oh right, you should have mentioned that game publishers have kidnapped your entire family and will kill them all if you don't buy all their DLC.

Oh wait. No one is forcing you to buy it?

AND OTHER PEOPLE LEGITIMATELY ENJOY THE CONTENT??

Well..

Well screw them! That's what.

Wait, you mean that most publisers actually develop concurrent projects? *AND* are involved in bug fixing? Like Paradox Interactive, who released DAILY patches for Magicka when it launced?

Magicka, which has, I think, about 15 different DLC packs? Those guys?

Crono1973:

No other industry is so fuckin greedy that they ask their customers to buy products that don't even exist yet.

You should look up "finance"

Whilst you're at it. Buy a new car. Better yet, order one.

Also, visit any McDonalds.

Then, visit kickstarter, or any other crowdfunding site.

ResonanceSD:

Crono1973:

Don't you think we have all heard these excuses justifications before? You know what they did before DLC came along? Other projects, bug fixing, etc...

Oh right, you

AND OTHER PEOPLE LEGITIMATELY ENJOY THE CONTENT??

bug

Magicka,

Crono1973:

No other industry is so fuckin greedy that they ask their customers to buy products that don't even exist yet.

up

any .

site.

Don't you just fuckin hate it when people butcher your post so they don't have to answer it properly?

Falterfire:
Well, September wasn't exactly swimming in top-tier releases. There were the mentioned Borderlands, Madden, and WoW expansion, but that's about it. The fact that the numbers don't include ANY digital distribution really hurts them, especially since Torchlight II would no doubt help boost the numbers if it were included.

cidbahamut:
The economy is in the toilet and people aren't buying as many video games, what a shocking turn of events. Who could have seen that coming?

Escapism actually tends to do very well during depressions. Movies were insanely popular during the great depression because people like to be able to forget about how much life sucks for a little while.

The problem here is movies weren't just popular. They were cheap, even by the standards of the day. Videogames today are an expensive entertainment option -- $60 up front is a lot of money. Maybe if you're ridiculously freakin' rich it's not, but for the rest of us it's a good chunk of change. I think if anything people are playing F2P[1] games and buying stuff cheap on steam sales, only getting the absolute biggest console hits for full price -- if they buy full price console games at all. I'd imagine discounted and used console sales are still a pretty big thing. I know they were last gen.

[1] something borne out by the number of regular players LoL gets. I saw an infographic a while back comparing it to the big retail multiplayer titles. LoL absolutely dominated in every category of player numbers.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here