It’s either the best or worst time to release a new video game console. With September 2012 video game sales slipping 24 per cent from a year ago, it means people are either starving for a new experience or just don’t have the cash to spend on gaming.
According to industry research firm NPD Group, sales of game discs, systems, and accessories slipped to just under $850 million last month, a drop of 24 per cent from the $1.1 billion the video game industry took in during the same period in 2011.
Hardware sales suffered the biggest hit, down 39 per cent to $211 million. Software sales weren’t quite so bad, though the 18 per cent drop to roughly $500 million (from over $600 million last year) will certainly be a concerning statistic for major game publishers and developers.
Unsurprisingly, Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 13 topped the game sales chart, with Borderlands 2 and FIFA Soccer 13 rounding out the top three.
It’s possible Microsoft’s domination of this sector could change in November, once Nintendo releases its brand new Wii U console. Adding high-definition graphics and a very distinct gamepad equipped with a 6.2-inch LCD screen, the console will sell for roughly $300 (and up). A $350 Deluxe Set package will include the basics plus additional hard drive space, a charging dock, and a copy of the game Nintendo Land.
NPD analyst Liam Callahan says he believes the Wii U “has the potential to reinvigorate retail sales of hardware.”
But I doubt it. As a long-time gamer I can’t honestly recall a hardware launch so unanticipated as that surrounding the Wii U. Few of the gamers I know are in any way interested, with most people looking ahead to releases of a new Xbox or PlayStation in 2013 or 2014.
What do you guys think?