Game Sales Weaken As Gamers Turn To Alternative Entertainment
Gamasutra has posted a relatively controversial article citing an industry analyst firm that states April 2012’s sales continue a decline in overall video game sales, a trend that has been purported for the past few years.
The study claims Mass Effect 3 was one of the top selling games of April 2012, followed by Prototype 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles. While these best sellers may sound like good news, the firm points out that sales compared to last April will likely be nowhere close to each other, with 2012’s being sharply smaller. The firm also predicts that besides Max Payne 3 coming out this month, May will be an even slower seller.
PiperJaffray, the analyst firm predicting these trends, claims that more gamers are turning away from the nickel-and-diming process companies such as EA and Capcom have have been doing when already charging for “premium goods” and instead been turning to more social media with free-to-play services or games more easily played with a network of friends.
The report also noted the longstanding sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 have been “disappointing” in comparison to 2010’s Black Ops.
With NPD’s data for April due to be released on May 10, PiperJaffray’s Michael Olson and Andrew Connor also expect video game sales to be down in May year-over-year, due to “thinning sell-through tails,” although the decline will be offset by strong sales of Take-Two and Rockstar’s Max Payne 3.
The analysts estimate that during April, Activision saw a modest increase in U.S. retail sales sales year-over-year during April, thanks to the launch of Prototype 2. However, the month also saw “weak Modern Warfare 3 demand,” say the reports, indicating “a significant shortfall compared toBlack Ops in the same period last year.”
Forecasting U.S. game retail for May, Olson and Connor believe that Take-Two and Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 will outsell Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future, Dragon’s Dogma and Sniper Elite V2combined. The analyst report focuses on console games, and did not include projections for Blizzard’s highly-anticipated May PC release, Diablo III.
Perhaps this report is a sign that the industry needs a change from its current model?