Analysts point to weak October NPD numbers

Prognosticators point to disappointing October showings from NBA Jam, EA MMA, Shaun White Skateboarding, and Wii Party.

Last week, Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson predicted the industry-tracking NPD Group's October US retail sales figures would show software sales grew 15 percent year-over-year. The NPD Group released the actual figures yesterday, putting the growth closer to 6 percent.

Rejected!

Today, a number of analysts--Wilson included--circulated notes to investors offering their takes on what did and didn't live up to expectations. While NBA 2K11 and Fallout: New Vegas both exceeded Wilson's expectations, many of the month's other high-profile games did not. In particular, Wilson called NBA Jam for the Wii and EA MMA "dismal failures so far." According to analyst notes, neither game broke the 50,000-sold mark.

Wilson wasn't the only analyst whose expectations proved too high. In his own note to investors, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said Kirby's Epic Yarn was slightly off his estimate of 100,000 units, while Wii Party fell further short of his 150,000 projection. While Wilson didn't weigh in on those games in particular, he did note Nintendo first-party sales combined to bring in 44 percent less revenue than in the previous October (with similar declines expected in November and December).

While analysts have harped on the ongoing decline in music games, another genre appears to be suffering similarly steep shortfalls. Tony Hawk: Shred made its debut last month to sales of 3,000 copies, down from roughly 114,000 copies sold by Tony Hawk: Ride upon its debut last year. Ubisoft's Shaun White Skateboarding didn't fare too much better, as Pachter pegged it at fewer than 6,000 copies for the month. The last multiplatform Shaun White title, Shaun White's Snowboarding in 2008, sold 259,000 copies in the US in its first two weeks on sale. (Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage was released exclusively on the Wii in 2009.)

The October sales figures also caused the analysts to reassess their previous expectations for the year. Wilson said he now expects November sales to be flat year-over-year, whereas before he allowed for them to potentially be up slightly. For his part, Pachter had expected software sales to be down for October, so he actually came away from the NPD data more upbeat about the industry. He still expects "flattish" software sales through March, but he believes shrinking software sales in 2009 and 2010 leave 2011 in a good position to show modest growth for the industry.

Written By

Want the latest news about EA Sports MMA?

EA Sports MMA

EA Sports MMA

Discussion

23 comments
spooky102
spooky102

Well, I think because Christmas is coming soon and people might be getting some of these games then and there are also there are some great games coming out soon so people are just saving money.

ebonyflame
ebonyflame

The bigger issue is how game developers ever hope to stay in business in this economy where everybody with the exception of a few people, such as myself, who are becomeing increasingly cautious about how they spend their money. Can $60 or even $50 for new games be sustained? It might be costing more and more to make games that are AAA blockbusters such as Mass Effect and Red Dead Redemption, but the vast majority of games released have yet to do anything different than videogames have always done, namely sit you on your ass on the couch and entertain you. And before you mention Kinect, elts be honest, it is shiny and new. After this holiday and they start to release higher end software, how many of you really are gonna stand and play 60 hours of Fable or stand up and drive the next Forza mastering all the tracks and cars?

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Oh I'll pick up Wii Party, but only when it's crazy cheap. I'm not paying full price for a party game. No sir.

mr_teeney
mr_teeney

NBA Jam was supposed to be a downloadable title, then it gets released as a disc for $50 and they wonder why it didn't sell. If it was WiiWare and a $10 price tag it would have went over better with gamers.

organbank
organbank

wow generic titles getting weak sales who would have thought...

Pete5506
Pete5506

I did get NBA Jam for the wii, but I will also be getting for the 360 because I want online

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

OMG Wii has slipped in its complete dominance of this gen for a few months! everyone be an acdc BAG and act like nintendo is not still owning all video games since the beginning (except a short PS1/PS2 run) 3ds will put Nintendo insanely ahead of all competition just like always

okassar
okassar

Oh no, I really expected Wii Party to smash all previous sales records... -.-

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

It's no surprise that Tony Hawk sold bad. Ride was the worst game of last year and people found out the hard way when they bought it.

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

Aside from the economy there are customer purchasing habits like lending and renting games or just waiting for pre-owned and many custormers just simply buying and playing only Halo Reach or waiting for Call of Duty Black ops thanks to the biased hype that the western game reviewers are sanctioning.

Flint247
Flint247

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Texasguy
Texasguy

I wish NPD published more complete numbers to the public. I'd really like to see the sales numbers on titles like Castlevania and Enslaved.

gimpy_hb
gimpy_hb

lets face it the wii doesnt have alot of great games. kirby looks cool but aimed towards kids, tony hawk games are old, wii party is same rehash probably of wii sports, ea mma havent looked into, and nba jam didnt get released on xbox/ps3 till 11/15

shafe-man
shafe-man

I'm disappointed in these sales; people will wait until the winter season (not calling it holiday season, the biggest holiday of the year celebrated by 1.5 billion people worldwide is happening right now. This is the holiday season.), line up to buy a game, find out it's sold out, and just buy some knockoff. I for one expected Kirby's Epic Yarn to get better sales, and I fear other good games are suffering as well. I have my money saved for a 3DS and maybe, just maybe, a PS3. Depends on if my local Sears has it's great Uncharted+PS3 for $299 bundle in stock when I come in. Eid Mubarak wa kul 'am wa antum bikhair! !عيد 5;بار3; 8; 3;4; عا5; 8; أ6;ت5; بخير

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Tony Hawk sold 3000 copies? Wow. Calling that "terrible" gives terrible a bad rap. Pachter should stick to being quiet. He's a tool.

almossbb
almossbb

why would anyone buy anything right now when the holiday season is near? people are waiting for a few weeks until they start spending their money on what they want, including me. i havent bought a single game until now after i bought metroid other m back in the first week of september.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

Your estimates were off by 15%. I'm sure that would give you an F in statistics

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

I didn't realize Spocktober was that bad for sales.....Enslaved seemed to be the media's baby last month and it got good reviews but personally I only grabbed 2 games last month, New Vegas and Fable III. Right now I just feel if it isn't an RPG or shooter I don't care but I am going to pick up GT5. Some of the other stuff though, developers and publishers are going to have to accept that some of us, myself included are going to wait for some games to lower their prices before we pick them up.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

I stopped reading at "Michael Pachter." Don't get me wrong, I think Pachter could be a useful human being. I think he just missed his true calling as a stoned fast food restaurant janitor.

lamprey263
lamprey263

NBA Jams would have performed much better as $10 or $15 XBLA/PSN downloadable title, I can't imagine many people will want to pay $50 for it, hopefully they'll reconsider their publishing strategy on this title.

MrGoodKill
MrGoodKill

Gasp! The Tony Hawk IP is falling off a cliff? Who would have guessed based on the past few iterations? Apparently part of being an analyst is stating the obvious...

XeonForce
XeonForce

"Prognosticators point to disappointing October showings from NBA Jam, EA MMA, Shaun White Snowboarding, and Wii Party." Is that actually surprising?