Analyst expects 20% game sales slide in June

Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson expects Fight Night Round 4 to break 1 million in disappointing month, says recession may be hitting games harder than previously thought.

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While year-over-year US retail software sales have been down sharply in recent months, analysts have expressed only mild concern, saying the problem is not this year's crop of titles, but last year's. The idea is that sales have been down not because the industry is softening, but because it's having to compete against a first half of 2008 that saw mega-blockbuster releases like Grand Theft Auto 4, Mario Kart Wii, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

The industry's rope-a-dope strategy may not be working...

With the industry-tracking NPD Group set to release its sales for June 2009 next week, one analyst is starting to rethink that notion. Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson sent an NPD preview note to investors this week in which he estimated software sales for the month to be down 20 percent year-over-year to $700 million.

"Our most recent checks have indicated that the relative health that we have seen may not have continued into June," Wilson said. "Our contacts indicate that sales in the important 'school's out' period, especially in the last two weeks of June, were disappointing and represented a deviation in the early-year trend. While it is too early to call a long-term trend, we have taken a more conservative view of new and catalog products in our June NPD forecast. If the data back up our checks, it may be time to reassess the degree to which videogames really are 'recession proof.'"

While tough comparisons against last year's slate of titles have been blamed for prior months' decreases, Wilson blamed his projected June slowdown on sluggish reception for some of the month's biggest releases and slipping consumer confidence. Of the games to debut during the month, Wilson pegged Fight Night Round 4, Prototype, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, and Ghostbusters as the biggest of the bunch. The analyst estimated sales of 1.1 million for Fight Night across platforms, with Prototype not too far behind at 750,000.

"Prototype started well, especially in competition with Infamous," Wilson said, "but neither game appears to have much of a tail."

Discussion

214 comments
steelsoldier666
steelsoldier666

A lot of People can´t buy games right now because they keep increasing their damn prices, I predict if the prices of every games was reduced to half there would be a 200% increase on People buying Games. Whoever Gaming Industries increase the price in order to get the ammount of money they actually want without having many buyers. I hope Gaming Industries suffer a lot and rethink on what they are actually doing, because they are acting like children trying to achieve the means to get what they want from Us.

gam3r3OOO
gam3r3OOO

Does this really need to be mentioned? I mean its obvious why. no exciting titles = no sales Games sell best when: A) a hugely hyped and popular game comes out B) when its the holiday season C) when summer ends/fall begins (school starts) Games sell worst in the summer. "says recession may be hitting games harder than previously thought" biggest load of BS. Why do journalists like to repeat each other so much?

NikBZero
NikBZero

there's not really been any note worthy titles out that month only more of the same crp Wii games

KreepLX
KreepLX

Yea, great June catalog. These people get big bucks to add 2 + 2 = ?.

Icehearted
Icehearted

[quote]We do pay out of the a** for DLC, but some companies attempt to give us a freebie occasionally. For example,Bungie with Cold Storage[/quote] Actually, and this isn't known by a lot of people, dlc pricing and management is mostly governed by MS and not the game's publishers/devs, who coincidentally want most of it to be free. There is a story about how Epic wanted one of their games to have free map packs, but MS refused, so they released them for a fee and then made them free after a few months. If anyone is to blame for content charges it's MS, Sony, Nintendo. Remember when game devs were nice enough to release free map packs and such for the PC? Now that home consoles have hard drives, they're all about gouging the new market for all it's worth.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

i am not suprised sales are down in the us because they don't seem to get any deals when it comes to games we do in the uk full price here is £40 but we can shop around and find it a lot cheaper some where but in the us it seems to stay at $60 everywhere you look.

mcginnism
mcginnism

In January they were predicting that this would be THE BEST YEAR EVER!!!!! Nevermind that no major releases were expected until fall, and all of them were tentative release dates. Nevermind we're in a recession. What a bunch of idiots, and I'm sure they'll all keep their jobs--a perfect example of how stock analysts get to manipulate stock prices without any accountability at all.

mark_unix
mark_unix

that's what u get when you publish all the games of 2009 in 2010... they just delayed everything...

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Wow these Anal-ists really know their onions dont they? Maybe the 'slump' is due to the fact that there has'nt been any real major noteworthy releases. Wait till October/November where you have SC:Conviction, AC2, Boishock 2, COD MW2, among a few other AAA games, then lets wait for the headline Anal-ists predict rise in game sales, the numpties really make me giggle : )

Gruug
Gruug

While I have purchased 4 games in the last month (3 for the PC and one for the 360), I will be cancelling two of my MMORPG subscriptions this month. Why? Because I am concerned about my economic situation....the Recovery Act of 2009 hasn't helped me at all.

thetravman
thetravman

Keep releasing sequels. Everything will be fine. ;)

Brainkiller05
Brainkiller05

I expect a 23% increase, man I wish I could get paid to say this stuff.

LordRazu
LordRazu

We do pay out of the a** for DLC, but some companies attempt to give us a freebie occasionally. For example,Bungie with Cold Storage

lilmichaelson
lilmichaelson

The good games are coming out in the fall/winter such as Cod: Modern Warfare 2, Assassins Creed 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Bioshock 2. Plus at the end of summer that new halo game is coming out, and you can tell me all about how different it is but because "halo" is in the title and it's an fps you can count on millions being sold.

migueltyson
migueltyson

The complaints about DLC is all about supply and demand. If consumers are going to continue to pay for DLC, there will always be a price tag on it. Consumers need to realize that they shouldn't have to pay for "the rest of a game" if that is not how it was packaged. If new costumes, boards and perks are available via DLC, then when are we going to realize that we just burned $60 for an incomplete game? Oh, yeah, sales will pick up once there is something that a majority of consumers are impressed with. It has nothing to do with the lack of quality games because what you don't like someone else might love. The industry just doesn't space out their "blockbuster" titles so they get all of their money at once for the 3-4 titles released at the same time and then struggle to make numbers until the next batch is released. Throw in DLC and the industry makes back some of the money they lose when there are no big selling titles out.

THE_DAD
THE_DAD

last year was great! gta4, mgs4, gears of war 2, fall out 3 and many more i cant see much this year.

Sea_Bread
Sea_Bread

a bit late to post this innit? we're in july already.

Xcite79
Xcite79

Games was the problem, not money. There was little I was looking forward to that month.

Corelis
Corelis

What recession??? I bought 3 of 4 of the games mentioned above, the only 1 I didn't get was FNR4, didn't like the controls in the demo and basically wasn't at all interested in it. Analysts do not look at game content as us gamers do.. Put out games worth playing and they are recession proof

Icehearted
Icehearted

They said, over and over mind you, that the gaming industry is recession proof. I say, in light of that arrogance, these shortcomings are a well deserved and welcome humbling. Maybe some better appreciation for their customers rather than assuming were infinitely deep pockets and will buy anything with Mario or Master Chief on it will come of this.

taxman25
taxman25

I know that I haven't bought as many games as I had last year. However it is only because there haven't been many titles that I have been interested in. However starting early to mid September through February 2010 there are at least 6-8 (Bioshock 2,Assasins Creed 2, Dragon Age Origins, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Two Worlds 2, Risen, & Witcher Rise of the White Wolf And More.) The first part of this year there has only been Godfather 2,Sacred 2:Fallen Angel & Overlord II.

legend_maker
legend_maker

Analysts are pretty dumb, Summer months are always slow for video games.. Usually developers use the summer time to work on games and then when fall and winter comes around, that's when we start to see some good games and a lot of games. Video games are kind of like a seasonal thing. The good ones always come out on fall, winter and early spring... then the real crap ones come out on summer.

Frimmel
Frimmel

I'll echo the wait till the fall or at least the end of August and Batman. I've picked up a used copy of inFamous and a new copy of Ghostbusters which were the only things that really grabbed my attention. Frankly I'm saving up for fall and things like Prototype and Wolverine that I'd like to give a shot will have to wait as I set aside the dollars for release day purchases of Uncharted 2 and Assassin's Creed II.

While my job isn't 'on the chopping block,' the present economic climate makes some measure of frugality advisable for all. While I never could just grab everything that struck my fancy I feel I can do even less of that now.

gnrlstuart
gnrlstuart

my main gripe is paying $60 for a game, and shell out even more for dlc. dlc needs to be dirt cheap, or preferably free. although i can understand why rb would charge for dlc, seeing as thats how they make most of thier money.

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

If game companies don't start taking the gamers seriously they are going to end up closing their doors. I have never before seen game companies completely go against anything and everything the fans want as much as they are now. It is like they just want to fail or else they are like the government and saying "Tough. There is nothing you can do about it" attitude. What a bunch of loosers.

famguyfan2685
famguyfan2685

Its true. The games so far this year have been good (especially Fight Night Round 4), but definitely not unforgettable. Games like Batman: AA and CoD:MW2 are going to be the major games to watch out for. I also feel like more games are going to come out that will offer free (hopefully!) DLC, which will likely boost sales because consumers will feel like they're getting more bang for their $60 bucks..

ClawedMonkey
ClawedMonkey

This has nothing to do with a recession and everything to do with the fact that there really haven't been any amazing games out this year yet. There are some big titles and major sequels coming out later this year, I bet we'll see sales spike back up then.

DesertLynx83
DesertLynx83

Most of the games I want are either coming out later this year or sometime next year. The only one coming out this summer I really want is the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

@Tsunami_pt You have a great point, while (as just posted below) I would like to see a sligh decrease in retail game pricing.. there haven't been that many astounding titles to drop, alot of good games.. don't get me wrong, but no real GREAT games have come our way lately. Wait and see how titles like Batman AA and COD:MW2 go over and then decide if people are spending less on games, obviously people who lose their jobs due to recession aren't gonna buy a game a month anymore, but those who still have theirs will spend that disposable income irregardless of the recession (as it doesn't affect them as much).

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

I have no problem paying for DLC if you enjoy a game that much and get enough replay value when you pay extra that's fine by me. I do think games retail titles should drop 10 dollars in price. I live in Canada and felt completely comfortable paying 60 dollars a game until about 2 months ago when they bumped the price up to 68 to reconcile for our country's dollar value dropping (no longer at par with states, knew that wouldn't last lol). I know its just 8 bucks, but that's a very iffy bump from 59. Personally I would have purchased at least a couple of games at the old price in the last month (Ghostbusters and Transformers caught my eye) however I decided to turn those into rentals instead because that extra little jack-up made me look a little closer at which titles I purchase. That being said I still might buy Transformers (haha) but Ghostbusters lost my full commitment as a day 1 purchase over 8 dollars. Do you feel like you've won the war pricing gods?

SCG_Sasa111
SCG_Sasa111

i don't remeber when was the last time i bought a new game..the price of games is just too much...they need to start lowering the price of these games before its too late!

trw534
trw534

the recession will probably affect the video game industry eventually, but they are right there are not very many good games out right now,

Tsunami_pt
Tsunami_pt

Wait till September and October, for the big games. Then you'll see if recession is upon us or not...

tenlong
tenlong

Last month was good for me. Prototype and infamous came out last month to name a few.

SeanD72
SeanD72

It is true, alot of recent titles that have been released have been a little lackluster. Even some of the larger budget games that were well marketed fell a little flat. Even so the gaming industry as a whole needs to realise that gamers are in the same boat as every other hard working american and that is that monney is tight. People are going to want to see more quality come out of each individual game. Gone are the days when publishers can shell out a group of mediocure titles that gamers will buy until the next blockbuster hit. We want games that will last us for quite some time, especialy if we are going to be paying top dollar for the title. This idea of DLC to extend the life of the game is awesome, I really enjoy seeing developers such as Bethesda, Rockstar, and Lionhead who are willing to stay commited to there games and the customers who purchased them. A comment to vipa95666 dont give up hope man, there are still some great titles to be played such as Fight Night Round 4, and if all else fails you can go back to your old favourite RPG and give it a whirl on another path.

kilgorehalsig
kilgorehalsig

Not surprising with the steaming pile of crap they have been putting out on all platforms.

vipa95666
vipa95666

obviously its down, the games that have been released so far are just simply "meh" they should introduce games that makes the buyers really wanna buy it!!

docwoo
docwoo

Whoever came up with the notion that the game industry is "recession proof" was delusional. It's like anything else and people aren't going to spend money they don't have. They must think we're all fat, nerdy, old guys who live at home and sponge off their parents. NEWS FLASH: We've got bills too!

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

lol@Uriachi, I'm with you there, $60.00 in today's economy is pretty steep. I'm looking to buy my x360 games off e-bay too. But if you think this is bad, back when NES and SNES were on the scene..games were $70, $80, $90 a pop!

Uriachi
Uriachi

I DON'T BUY GAMES FOR $60 ON GAMESTOP, I JUST GO AND BUY MY GAMES ON EBAY WHICH IS MUCH CHEAPER AND THE SAME THING, I BOUGHT A PS3 FOR $242.50 WITH 2 CONTROLLER ORIGINAL AND ONE BLU RAY LIKE NEW WORKING GREAT AND THE ORIGINAL BOX AND MANUAL BOOKLET . ON EBAY

Slash_out
Slash_out

KC_chiefs-4life We do have to pay for DLC even if we already pay a monthly fee. Some stuff is even restricted to those that pay the fee. Like demo only for gold members (paying members) for the first weeks. I really enjoy my 360, but seriously, this paying for online play and some privileges is cr*p. Even more so, since games like red faction require you to play online to get half of the achievements. Thus, asking you to pay more.

KC_Chiefs_4Life
KC_Chiefs_4Life

I think one reason we get charged for DLC is because we don't have to pay for online service like the xbox 360 owners do. Not sure if they have to pay for DLC as well but theirs always give and take with some things. I'm debating on getting a game with NCAA Football and they mentioned the 3 Im looking at ........... Ghostbusters, Tiger Woods, and Fight Night 4. Not sure which one to get lol.

tudyniuz
tudyniuz

the economic situation right now sucks.money isn't worth much anymore and everything is expensive.

James00715
James00715

The economy has something to do with it but also the price of games. I don't want to spend as much as before for fear I might lose my job and need to last a while on savings. At the same time games have gone up to $60 and they all have DLC. Most of the time the DLC has features that should have been in the base game so everyone has to pay even more.

Adziboy
Adziboy

I'd rather have loads of low budget games like Battlefield 1943, than loads of high budget games that fail to deliver. Apart from the low budget games being extremely fun, if it doesn't appeal to you, you can shrug it off because you only spent a quarter of what you'd normally spend.