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What just happened? It's not just tech products that are suffering in these times of economic caution; video game sales have also fallen in the last year—by almost $2 billion, according to a new report. It's the latest sign that the lockdown-induced boom period is well and truly behind us.
Market research firm NPD writes that US spending on video gaming, which covers content, hardware, and accessories, reached $12.35 billion in the most recent quarter. That's still a lot of money, but it's down $1.78 billion, or 13 percent, compared to the same period last year.
Looking at some individual segments, content spending in Q2 reached $10.97 billion, marking another 13% decrease compared to Q2 2021. Hardware and accessories declined 1% and 11%, respectively, but it was mobile content that contributed most to the overall decline.
However, there was a single content segment that did see year-on-year growth: non-mobile subscription spending, which was up 15% in the second quarter. So it's good news for the likes of Microsoft's Xbox/PC Game Pass service. Interestingly, Sony's PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium tiers only launched near the end of the quarter, so they wouldn't have contributed very much to the figures.
As we've seen in other industries, consumers still spent more on video gaming this year than in the pre-pandemic era, but the post-lockdown effect and rising cost of living are affecting YoY growth.
"Higher prices in everyday spending categories such as food and gas, the return of experiential spending such as travel and attending live events, a lighter release slate of new games, and continued new generation console hardware supply constraints were all likely contributors to the decline seen in the second quarter," said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group.
"After a period of sustained growth, consumer spending continues to trend above pre-pandemic levels. However, unpredictable and quickly changing conditions may continue to impact the market in unexpected ways in the coming quarters."
NPD also reports that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was the quarter's best-selling premium game. The Nintendo Switch led the way in hardware sales, something we've seen virtually every quarter since the handheld hybrid launched in March 2017. However, the PlayStation 5 generated the highest dollar sales.
This week has seen Sony revise its annual profit forecast on the back of weaker software sales, which fell 26% YoY in Q2. Microsoft's gaming revenue was down 7%, and Nintendo is expected to reveal a yearly decline in hardware sales tomorrow.
Masthead: Olena Yakobchuk