NPD Group: Video game sales down 20 percent in the US

By on September 7, 2012, 5:00 PM

The downward spiral continues for the US video game market as sales of software, hardware and accessories were down for the ninth consecutive month. Research firm NPD Group reports that overall sales dropped 20 percent in August to $515.6 million, down from $647.2 million last year – a seemingly accurate estimate seeing as the number of gamers dropped by nearly 12 million since the same time last year.

The hardware sector suffered the most, dropping 39 percent year over year to just $150.6 million. The long lifecycles of today’s consoles and the number of gamers opting to play on tablets, smartphones and social networking sites are the primary factors that led to declining sales, according to NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier.

Core gamers, described as those that buy titles for console games, typically spend 35 percent more than others. For example, the average gamer spent $48 on a physical game and $16 on a digital title over the past three months. Core gamers shelled out $65 for a physical game on average. As you can see, core gamers are viewed as vital to the industry’s long-term success.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the most popular console for the 20th consecutive month, although at this point the system (as well as those from competitors) is beginning to show its age. Frazier agrees, noting that it would be great to have new systems breathe life into the ecosystem. That breath of fresh air is expected to begin later this year when Nintendo launches the Wii U.




User Comments: 20

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2 people like this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Welcome to the consequences of stretching out console life cycles too far - market saturation. There is a rapidly diminishing number of potential new sales, and no real reason to drop your money on such dated hardware, so people are making due and waiting for the next generation to hit the market.

Denxnis Denxnis said:

OMG nobody is buying our outdated console games, what a huge surprise!

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm sure you can add "no big game releases" into the equation too. Taking a look at the last 3 months, the largest release was Max Payne 3. Otherwise, it's been nothing but expansion packs and five dollar Indie games:

[link]

Wait until the fall rolls around - a number of big games will be released then and without a doubt sales will improve: Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, Torchlight 2, Bioshock Infinite, etc.

Also agree with Vrmithrax. Console users are sitting on their hands now waiting for the next version.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm sure you can add "no big game releases" into the equation too. Taking a look at the last 3 months, the largest release was Max Payne 3. Otherwise, it's been nothing but expansion packs and five dollar Indie games:

[link]

Wait until the fall rolls around - a number of big games will be released then and without a doubt sales will improve: Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, Torchlight 2, Bioshock Infinite, etc.

Also agree with Vrmithrax. Console users are sitting on their hands now waiting for the next version.

Yep and most likely some new COD expansion that everyone will jump at as well as GTA 5 if it released by then (doubtful imho).

ViperGtx ViperGtx said:

Maybe if developers wouldnt put out half ass garbage, the sells wouldn't have dropped so much. Thank God for Steam and its summer sells though. Purchased the new COD at 50% off and got 2 hours into the Michael Bay film before I unsintalled it and pounded my self in the junk for wasting time and money. As of August of 2012 WoW is at 9.1 Mil Subscribers and falling, E3 Awarded LOTRO with the best upcomming expansion, D3 was just as bad as the new COD as far as expansion goes. But atleast IW is smart and pushes out COD faster than a bowel movement from eating at the waffle house. Maybe IT is the end of the world as we know it.

solomonshv solomonshv said:

That's because 90% of the games hitting the market are complete and utter garbage!

going to go with assassin's creed 3 and bioshock infinite. after that, I'm done for a long while.

not going to buy the Stacraft 2 expansion. and I was a die hard sracraft fan. I remember playing long hours, sometimes 8 hours straight. too bad activision, the company that rebadged modern warfare 2 and called it "modern warfare 3," is messing up blizzard. LAN playing option is gone. activation has to be verified every 30 days. no more custom named games. the lag spikes get ridiculous on even on a $3000 gaming machine packing the latest hardware and the best home internet connection money can buy.

did I mention every PC game is a crappy console port. and the console games themselves look terrible. some PS3 and XBOX 360 games look worse than some of the PS2 games I played.

Gamesinner said:

I like the current generation consoles. I think theynfinally have become affordable with a vast library of inexpensive games behind them. I'm not looking forward to higher prices, lack of backward compadability, and a whole new generation of the same cookie cutter games just with better graphics. No the reason why the game industry is in the toilet is because the games are to expensive and there's a lack originality. Corporations are afraid to go out on a limb and try anything new because there's so much money at stake. Their own tight corporate control is killing their own industry. What was supposed to be the golden age of gaming is turning out to be the end of console gaming.

Renrew Renrew said:

Instead of paying the NPD group large sums of money for their market research, the manufacturers should read Techspot posts and get the true picture.

1 person liked this | amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Does this count Steam/Origin/online sales, or just store bought sales?

Of course store bought sales are down.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

Must be piracy, right?

Tygerstrike said:

Not to mention that we lost a large game seller when GameCrazy shut down. As long as GameCrazy was around places like GameStop had to offer competitive trade in prices. Now that they are gone GameStop dropped their trade in prices to minimum. Ppl spend 60$ on a game and get less then 25% of its value in trade in. That forces the consumer to hold on to their game collection. Less traded in games means less new games being purchased. It was great to be able to take a stack of games in to trade in and grab a couple of new games. Now that the game trade in has fell off, ppl are less willing to spend that 60$. Mainly because its money that has been earmarked for bills, or groceries, ect. Without that trade in feature available to the gamer, games are going to be hitting a rough patch. Publishers and Developers are not going to want to sink the money into developing new titles if the sales are not there. They would rather hold out and release a game they know they are going to sell then risk the cash on something that might not.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

I've preordered a few games for this fall, but I haven't actually bought any games retail this year at all. The last couple of years was a different story, so I decided to cut back. The Steam deals made me realize how much money I was wasting...

Randomthom Randomthom said:

Also consider the impact of F2P & subscription-based games on this sort of statistic. Also, games are being given longer lifespans because of DLCs, often bought with arbitrary points-based currencies e.g. microsoft/bioware etc.

Statistics like this are misleading but no doubt some companies will use them to champion more pointless excessive DRM methods that hurt the real gamers.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

DRM always hurt buying gamers.... WC3-dota was popular because of LAN... past games where popular becuase of LAN...

Mavrickx888 Mavrickx888 said:

Personally, games are just getting too expensive. I can't keep going out and dropping $59.99 every time Crap of Duty releases their next "Michael Bay" explosion extravaganza and $14.99 every time I want a few maps. I'm even less inclined to go out and spend that kind of money on games where I'm afraid I won't get my moneys worth out of because of the state of game trade-ins. Like Tygerstrike said,

Ppl spend 60$ on a game and get less then 25% of its value in trade in. That forces the consumer to hold on to their game collection. Less traded in games means less new games being purchased.

There are a lot of games I've been looking at, but with a $60+ barrier of entry and zero chance to get a bit of money back, I just can't fit it in my budget.

Tygerstrike said:

@mav

I find that altho the 60$ price tag may be a bit harsh given theres no more trade going on, I tend to buy games that have expansions. Yea everyone is going to say that expansions are a sucker bet. Just another way for them to get more cash out of you. I dont care. I play L4D2. I have every map. I have eagerly awaited every expansion or map pack they have released. I KNOW they are just getting extra money from me, but I only play this one game pretty much. So even if it is all downloaded content, im still able to enjoy blowing zombies back to hell. I also like pinball. Pinball FX2 is free. Extra tables cost a bit extra. Like 800 points for 4 tables. I dont really mind paying for those tables as the game itself was free and I want the developers to continue releasing boards.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

"The downward spiral continues for the US video game market as sales of software, hardware and accessories were down for the ninth consecutive month."

Um...really not going to spend an additional $25 on a pair of plastic glasses that "supposed" to deflect the glare from a video game (COD:MW3), especially when the new game itself cost about $60.00<.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

@mav

I find that altho the 60$ price tag may be a bit harsh given theres no more trade going on, I tend to buy games that have expansions. Yea everyone is going to say that expansions are a sucker bet. Just another way for them to get more cash out of you. I dont care. I play L4D2. I have every map. I have eagerly awaited every expansion or map pack they have released. I KNOW they are just getting extra money from me, but I only play this one game pretty much. So even if it is all downloaded content, im still able to enjoy blowing zombies back to hell. I also like pinball. Pinball FX2 is free. Extra tables cost a bit extra. Like 800 points for 4 tables. I dont really mind paying for those tables as the game itself was free and I want the developers to continue releasing boards.

But how does it feel knowing that the PC gamers are getting all this L4D material for free? I'd be pretty miffed, most of us payed LESS than you for the game.. I bought it for 3 friends and my ex-girlfriend at one point when it was 2.49. And now they have all the expansions, maps, modes etc for free! Not to mention like all of L4D1 maps that became available.

sharpbiohazard sharpbiohazard said:

I'm sick of paying for garbage. That is my reason.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

At least I don't have to worry about standing in long lines getting my copy stolen from me. I pre-ordered two games this fall, and the lines would unlikely be that long.

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