Retail Game Sales Fall 22 Percent in 2012

Retail Game Sales Fall 22 Percent in 2012

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The NPD Group's year-end numbers show retail game and console sales took a sharp tumble in 2012.

A combination of aging platforms, fewer game releases and the growing popularity of digital sales made 2012 an ugly year for the retail videogame industry. Following a nine percent slide from 2010 to 2011, disc and console sales fell off by a whopping 22 percent in 2012 over 2011. Total spending on "physical game products" in the U.S. totaled $13.26 billion for the year.

NPD analyst Liam Callahan said that a "major culprit" in the decline of software sales was the relatively small number of new releases over the year. The top-selling game of the year was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, trailed by Madden NFL 13, Halo 4, Assassin's Creed III and Just Dance 4. Calllahan said that the top ten games accounted for 46 percent of spending in December, the industry's most lucrative month, compared to 36 percent in December 2011, and that sales of "middle-tier" games suffered as a result. The best-selling console for the year was the Xbox 360.

It doesn't look good for the industry, but the news isn't necessarily quite as bad as it might first appear. The NPD considers retail sales only, so while it acknowledges the impact of digital sales, it doesn't factor them into its numbers. EA Labels President Frank Gibeau went as far as to dismiss NPD figures as "totally irrelevant" last July, echoing similar comments made by reps for EA and Activision all the way back in early 2011. It's undoubtedly still bad, but exactly how bad is a little trickier to nail down.

Source: LA Times

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Don't wanna be "that guy" but any time the NPD reports something, I can't take it too seriously because of 2 things.

1.They seem to concentrate on only consoles.

2.They have no handle on digital sales, PC or otherwise.

For XBox and PS3 discounting Digital sales probably doesn't hurt that much. I don't know of anybody who regularly buys non-Arcade titles for consoles digitally.

Is there anyone (besides Gamestop) that DOES factor in Digital sales?

To the best of my knowledge, no. Sales data is incredibly valuable from a marketing standpoint and the digital distributors don't seem to think they have anything to gain by making things public. Also, each platform pretty much has one distributor that is clearly dominant (Steam) or the only option (iOS Appstore), so there's no motivation for those sources to share to acquire complete platform data....they already have it.

DVS BSTrD:
Is there anyone (besides Gamestop) that DOES factor in Digital sales?

We could probably go by Valve's figures, but I have no idea where those go.

inb4 hate for GameStop. Somehow.

OT: Yeah, there were few good games being released this year compared to other years. I mean, I hate it when we get over-saturated with something but...I could have used a couple more good games out there.
Not only that but with the iDevices entering the race, Steam, even PS+ giving away free games and the WiiU jumping in at the end of the year, I'm not surprised with this turnout. But I'm no expert, so what do I know?

Only one question.

Why was there fewer releases last year?

You can "claim" that digital sales are taking up the slack, but NPD is saying their are fewer New Titles. That's different than saying people just prefer to buy digitally. If game production is the same then their has to be in increase in Digital only titles, and that is easy to check.

I suspect ether a lot of developers went under, or Publishers like EA have cut back making as many new titles to Optimize profits on fewer titles.

The report says there was 29% fewer titles, and 22% fewer sales. To me, that means that other titles probably got a 5% or higher boost in sales by forcing gamers to choose from fewer options.

Edit:
Just remembered. Using Metacritic data which would include Digital Only titles. Title releases are down 14% so Digital probably accounts for probably half of the decline in new games releases.

Releases typically slow down at the end of a console cycle.

All the places I used to buy discs from have stopped stocking PC games (except for casual titles that you can actually get cheaper online), so I had no choice but to switch to direct downloads.

have they forgot the banks kinda crippled the worlds economy? No one has all that much spending money these days, and why would anyone spending money at consoles that are at the end of their life span ? Gamers are not retarded, and i think are starting to catch onto the fact that they are churning out the same kinda crap on a yearly basis.

 

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