November 9, 2012
Biggest Video Game Threat Is Falling Sales
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Video game designers work hard to make increasingly challenging plotlines, design stories with rich tapestries and often times flawed but heroic characters. And yet that isn´t enough lately to keep the gamers coming back for more. According to NPD Group, which tracks video game sales, October saw a decline in retail purchases for the 11th straight month in a row.
Total retail sales for October dropped 25 percent, with hardware accounting for a 37 percent drop from the same time last year.
The industry will likely see improvement in the weeks leading up to the holiday season of course, and then there is a very big bright spot for gamers — Nintendo´s Wii U console will arrive later this month. Whether that release will be enough to boost up overall sales has yet to be seen, but leading up to the holidays the game industry seemingly faces a great threat.
The industry continued to under-perform compared to 2011, and the only potentially new franchise to see success could be Bethesda Softworks´ Dishonored for Microsoft´s Xbox 360, Sony´s PlayStation 3 and the PC. It was the fourth bestselling game for October.
“The top title was NBA 2K13 from Take Two Interactive. This game outsold last year´s 2K12 by over 60 percent in both dollars and units,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan according to Venturebeat. “This favorable comparison may have partly been due to the NBA lockout at the start of last year´s basketball season, likely tempering consumers´ interest in 2K12 initially.”
Sports games continue to be repeat hits. Madden NFL 13 from Electronic Arts was the seventh best title for October after topping the charts last month. The football franchise, which is in its umpteenth version, is usually released in August in advance of the professional football season and scores big across all platforms. For this year EA´s cash cow was released for the 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation Vita. EA´s FIFA Soccer 13 also charted at number eight for the same systems, but was also released for the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP).
It was also a month of sequels and franchises as Resident Evil 6 from Capcom scored well at number two on the charts for the 360 and PS3, despite being widely panned by the critics. PokÃ©mon Black Version 2 and PokÃ©mon White Version 2 from Nintendo were number three and five respectively on the charts, while Medal of Honor: Warfighter from Electronic Arts debuted at number eight, Borderlands 2 from take Two Interactive came in at number nine — both for the 360, PS3 and PC — while Activision´s Skylanders: Giants for the Wii, 350, PS3 and 3DS finished up at number 10.
The biggest game released in October not to chart was Take Two´s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but the company noted that the game did well in digital sales, something that NPD does not track. That is notable as well because many of the aforementioned titles were also available either through direct purchase, such as from EA´s Origin game service or from the popular Steam online gaming service.
And in addition to the holiday run-up and the release of the Nintendo Wii U, November should be a big month for the video game industry as several high-profile sequels will make their debut (or already have). These include Ubisoft´s Assassin´s Creed III, Microsoft´s Halo 4, and Activision´s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Game on!