October 29, 2009

Video Game Industry Aims For Better Holiday Sales

The video game industry is gearing up for what they hope to be a better holiday sales season than last year.

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all slashed prices for their PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii consoles in an effort to encourage sales during the busy holiday season.

Reuters cited data from research group NPD that shows video game sales in the US are down 13 percent this year.

But key players in the industry have high hopes for upcoming video game title releases set to hit shelves just in time for the holiday season.

"There's a dark cloud hanging over the industry because of the recession, and people wonder if consumers are going to be there this holiday season," Jesse Divnich, an analyst with research group EEDAR, told Reuters, adding that software holiday sales in the US from October through December could be down 1 percent compared to last year's sales.

The industry has high hopes for Activision Blizzard's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," the next title in the Call of Duty series, set to hit stores November 10.

Other big titles include Ubisoft's "Assassins Creed 2" and Electronic Arts' first-person-shooter "Left 4 Dead 2." Nintendo is hoping to see big sales for its "Super Mario Brothers" title for the Wii console.

"When you look at where companies are placing their bets, yeah there are some new titles coming out but it's really keeping current franchises alive," Patrick Pugh, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, told Reuters.

On Thursday, Nintendo reported its net profit dropped more than half to 69.49 billion yen ($770 million) from 144.83 billion the previous year largely due to the lack of recent hit game titles for its Wii console.

Sales of the popular game console dropped from 10.1 million last year to 5.75 million in the six months through September.

"There were fewer software titles that briskly drove hardware sales this six-month period," the company said in a statement.

The company recently took action to revive sales of the Wii by cutting its introductory price by one-fifth, which also contributed to the firm's loss in profits. Other rival companies, including Microsoft and Sony, have taken similar price-cutting techniques to increase sales of the Xbox 360 and PS3.


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