Game demand down 5% this holiday - NPD

Industry research firm's latest survey shows dip in number of consumers planning on buying games as gifts this year.

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It has been a lean year for the game industry, with sales dropping nearly every month when compared to 2009. That lamentable trend looks likely to continue, according to a study just released by the NPD Group, a leading market research firm.

According to a survey of more than 2,000 respondents, only 15 percent of US consumers plan on buying a game this upcoming holiday season. That's a 5 percent drop from the 20 percent of Americans for which games were a top buy for gifts in 2009. The slip also comes despite the looming releases of such blockbusters as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gran Turismo 5, and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Games ranked 8 out of 10 in NPD's 2010 gift chart, just above food and below accessories. In first place was clothing, followed by toys, movies or DVDs, books, and electronics. In ninth place was music, followed by fragrances.

NPD also reported that 62 percent of consumers plan on doing research before purchasing holiday gifts, and 44 percent will comparison shop before plunking their money down. Some 37 percent said they will use a circular or ads when deciding to buy, while 33 percent said they will compare online prices to those found in brick-and-mortar stores.

Discussion

141 comments
smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

It's because LBP2 moved it's release date from November to the following January, lol. *JUST KIDDING FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO LEAVE A STUPID COMMENT*

okassar
okassar

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

StArDr1fTeR
StArDr1fTeR

Well, I congratulate everyone for being smart shoppers finally. Sorry to see businesses suffering from it. We wouldn't be in such a mess if people would have done it in the first place. Just live within your means and have maybe 2 credit cards. My friend has like fifteen or more. Ridiculous! Of course, he's on like his third bankruptcy... he's the kind of problem we don't want to be this holiday season.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@okassar: In fact, I do follow the news, and the unemployment rate did NOT just drop, "much to the surprise of analysts of the economy". It's exactly where it's been for the last fourteen months. If you're right, and unemployment will go down after Wall Street recovers, it doesn't make much difference now to someone who's been out of work for a year, who can barely pay the bills and therefore won't be buying a video game. Besides which, there's no indication that Wall Street is recovering anyway, and even if it is, it's going to get killed again when tax rates go up next year. http://www.suntimes.com/business/2786332,CST-NWS-jobs09.article http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Employers-in-US-Cut-More-Jobs-bloomberg-126013039.html?x=0

therealdolemike
therealdolemike

lol , because all the good ones are going to be out by the first of november

junor69
junor69

most games this days are half finished and have DLC packs ready for download from day one. No wonder people are looking elsewear to spend money, good games will always sale well if you games are not seling well maybe just maybe they are half finished rubish with to many DLC from day one. Games need to have Value for many is that so hard to make this days, how about 200+ hours of story line and game play not some crapy 20h of pure crap.

okassar
okassar

Maxwell97, did that make you feel intelligent? I was obviously referring to the economy as compared to 2007-2009, not frikkin 2001-2008. and if you follow the news at all, the unemployment rate just dropped much to the surprise of analysts of the economy the trend with the vast majority of recessions in the past no matter in what country is that the companies and banks/wall street get better, then main street feels it, main street being us. It seems like main street is just starting to get better (wall street was on a cautious rise and now it's accelerating) The gaming industry is not directly correlated to the well being of the economy, in fact, at a couple points during the current recession, the gaming industry was near all time highs. It is correct to assume, then, that a dip in the industry that contradicts the movement of the economy as a whole is due to a decline in total appeal for games released this year (as I previously mentioned and you tried to deem irrelevant). @pattyp77, that's a good equation lol, apart from the 2 equal signs

pattyp77
pattyp77

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

maxwell97
maxwell97

@okassar: I have to disagree, the economy is not getting better, as far as consumers are concerned. Unemployment rate September 2009 was 9.8%, September 2010 was 9.6%. By comparison, between 2001 and 2008, unemployment in September was in the range of 4.5% to 6.2%, with an average of 5.3%. Unemployed people, especially when they've been unemployed for years, cut back on spending, including games. http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?series_id=LNS14000000&data_tool=XGtable

jeremiah06
jeremiah06

Its not surprising everything I'm looking forward to are either before thanksgiving or 1-2Q 2011...

chartovar
chartovar

lamentable? hahaha... english language is becoming more latin than ever.

okassar
okassar

This has nothing to do with the economy because the economy is actually getting better, especially compared to last year, it's probably because there's fewer big hits coming out.

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Not surprising, considering the relatively thin set of releases this year. I mean there are about 3 games worth getting.

maxwell97
maxwell97

Actually, if the decrease is from 20% to 15% of consumers planning to buy games, that means demand is down 25%. Anyway, I know it's tempting to blame the drop on unpopular industry practices (DLC, DRM, whatever), but it's the economy. I really don't think a lack of innovation or onerous DRM has as big an impact as two years of 10% unemployment, and it's not like there was more innovation or less DRM last Christmas. Games looked recession-proof for a while, and they're still strong, but people have to cut back, simple as that. It's not the fault of Activision, Ubisoft and EA - it's the fault of Washington, D.C.

chaldoboy14
chaldoboy14

Considering the economy sucks, this is no real surprise. Also there isn't really many blowout games this year to add to that. Fallout New Vegas is all I can think of. Black Ops, I'll play it before I judge it, but I'm sure many people are staying away from that because of MW2 being so horrible, I'm still willing to give it a chance, a rental rather then a first day purchase last year. So I guess a part of the reason is maybe if they actually started making more quality games, they might sell more, I mean just maybe.

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

If there is a drop in game demand, it's because there aren't as many highly anticipated games out there that will arrive for the holiday season. Sure, people are looking for games like Fallout: Vegas and Grand Turismo 5, but those games are hitting the scene before the holiday. If you look at future release dates, you have a lot of games coming out but prett much no headliners after mid-November, pre-holiday shopping season. Then couple it with the fact that there are fewer high quality games swimming in a sea of okay and good games. Couple that with the fact that most games are $60 a pop, and well I have to pick and choose where my dollars are going. I'd so much rather wait til Little Big Planet 2 or Dead Space 2 early next year than to load up on other games just to pass time between the stuff I really want.

wonzan
wonzan

Game developers should be developing fewer games and more quality ones. Simple as that. Putting a little bit of more effort into one game costs much less than making 2 games at once. The sales for a well made game can sky rocket. Take a look at street fighter, uncharted, GoW, MW2 etc. They were all hyped well and also had a lot of development time. Stop throwing crap at us developers! Just make the games you know we all want!

digi-demon
digi-demon

Moneys tight - games are still over priced - in europe/uk anyway...

bignick217
bignick217

Quite frankly, I'm not surprised about the dip in games sales. If you look at the titles coming out this year compared to the last 2 years, you can see why. There's very little if any innovation this year in games. Very few original IP's (unless you look at indie games). Companies just want to regurgitate the same games over and over and over again. Too many sequels of the same games. Granted there a couple gems in these sequels like Mass Effect 2, but the point stands. Plus with companies like Ubisoft who have implemented obscene, draconian DRM that criminalizes their customers while not affecting the pirates (who would have guessed) and industry scandal such as the controversy between Activision and Infinity Ward. And finally companies are focusing more on gimmicks like "3D" and innumerable online only features rather than focusing on fun, deep gameplay like it should be. And constant releases of DLC's that while they do add to the game, are often very little, very short and often expensive when considering a content to buck ratio when compared to the full games content and it's original price, and not all DLC's are good. Like I said, and I'm really sorry to say this. I'm not surprised the games industry's sales have hit a slump this year compared to the last few years. There have been too many bad decisions this year and many consumers are starting to lose faith in the industry. And many (like myself) are simply having trouble trying to find a game that really catches are interest lately. I'm sorry guys, but it had to be said.

mentalmetal
mentalmetal

im willing to bet that the 5% down is 5% down from the estimated increase. So overall gaming is probably still higher this year. More people coming of age= more gamers. The healthy infection is spreading.

Viruses
Viruses

A strange year for gaming sales, considering the amount of great titles out this year and those to come, but the impending release of WoW Cataclysm may change things.

mtymar
mtymar

maybe cause there's no big title for the holidays... all the big a-list games are going to be out well before november... and i doubt anyone has ANOTHER rock band/guitar hero bundle on their wish list

paytonlow
paytonlow

@Sirbobislost These "2000 people" are some random selected sample, not just gamers. Of cause, hardcore gamers would buy a lot games and normal people.

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

dont worry Fallout and AC:brotherhood will save em

kennythomas26
kennythomas26

hey some of you guys are saying that gift cards expire in about 1 or 2 years, I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the Provincial government passed a law that most or all gift cards have no expiry date so now if I get a gift card I'm more happy to get one cause I have unlimited time on them.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Well what a surprise. Maybe it's because the games in the past few months have been absolutely uninspired?

360hammer
360hammer

LOL, I'm going on a limb and say that I think people are sick of buying broken games and seeing DLC before a game even hits shelves. Not to mention the BS EA online fee if you buy used. I might feel differently if that fee gave access to dedicated servers.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@atopp399 I hate gift cards,they're worth the same as ordinary money but they limit you to purchasing from one store;plus they expire after 1-2 years.Horrible "gift".

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

Sales are down in a year that is arguably the year gaming has ever seen.Red Dead Redemption,Bioshock 2,God Of War 3,MAG,Demon's Souls Black Phantom Edition,Assassins Creed 3,Gran Turismo 5,Medal Of Honour,Bad Company 2,Black Ops,Fallout New Vegas,Super Street Fighter 4,Starcraft 2.Metroid Other M,Monster Hunter Tri,Super Mario Galaxy 2,GOTY editions of Uncharted 2 and Borderlands,complete editions of GTA 4 and Dragon age Origins,Halo Reach,Mass Effect 2..etc... By anyones standards regardless of what genre you like,that's a great year.Sales are down not because of the quality of games but because most of the great games are already out or are out 1-2 months before christmas;most gamers preorder there games to get them on release.

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

Well all the good games are coming after Christmas so hmmm

Hm1911
Hm1911

the main reason behind the low demands is that I've ceased buying games for the time being. but don't worry, everything will get back to normal as soon as I finish studying

soulreaper-4
soulreaper-4

If you want more demand why are almost every great game like Marvel vs Capcom 3 going to launch early next year?

Master_Turismo
Master_Turismo

There isn't exactly any new titles I want now that I would want to pay full price. With Halo Reach I'm currently playing and Gran Turismo 5 I preordered coming November 2nd, I'm all set.

atopp399
atopp399

I wonder how many people will give gift cards instead and then people will buy games with them. Gift cards are more and more popular every year. Also, thanks to Nintendo my Christmas will be around March next year.

kvan33
kvan33

I don't know. The economy probably has something to do with this. As for me, I find the line-up this holiday very underwhelming. Everything is a sequel using the same damn engine as the one before it. I just can't too pumped up for games that play virtually the same as their predecessors. Give me something truly new, and I'll spend my cash.

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

only 15% of 2000 people? my list so far is GT5, COD:black ops, fable3, WOW:cata, DA:O ultimate and SW:FU2 and thats just the ones i can remember and getting for sure then theres the unsures like medal of honour and fallout: new vegas where did they find these 2000 gamers? at an over 70s wii fit meeting?

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

I can only speak for myself, but with the DLC trend, I've felt like many (not all mind you) games are now half-assed, pushed out, and "fixed" later. With such a high risk, games just aren't worth the full price to me anymore. I rarely pay more than $29 for a game and keep a close eye on sales or if it's a game I'm semi-interested in, I'll wait until all the DLC is out and see if they put out a "Game of the Year", "Gold", or "Ultimate" edition with disk based content (they can keep the token BS).

oneofthefall
oneofthefall

For me and alot of my XBL friends this year for gaming has just been a massive hype and then a massive let down! So im more careful when buying games and dont listen to game hype as much anymore!

weedman1985
weedman1985

It's because most games these days are half-arsed cookie cutter, casual gamer appeal garbage. See also, overpriced garbage. People are slowly starting to realize that now (about ****ing time too).

Crumblet
Crumblet

Only 15% of Americans plan on buying a game this holiday season? Whats wrong with people :(.

Coutts2
Coutts2

Maybe my math is a little rusty, but isnt it a 25% drop in sales if 20% of people bought games last year but only 15% are planning to buy games this year?

FanFicGuru
FanFicGuru

I'd be curious where these 2,000 respondents were selected from, their economic status, etc. They might THINK they're not buying games this christmas, but sooner or later their kids are going to point at an ad and go "OOOO MOMMY MOMMY I WANT THIS FOR CHRISTMAS PLEEEEEAASSEE?!?!" And then they'll get it. Whether it's a 20-30 dollar DS game or a 60 dollar PS3/360 game.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

My lack of pants shows I value games over clothing. So I guess I disagree with all the findings.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

its probably because games are so expensive now and there are so many games coming out all the time (you cant expect people to buy countless games every year(which Activision definitely seems to)). and their are lots of other new things people want which may take priority over games (it could be that everyone's wasting their money on early versions of 3D TV's and so dont have the cash for games as well) Their are many reasons why this may be but i expect (+hope) it will pick up again.

fadersdream
fadersdream

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

fadersdream
fadersdream

when movie demand went down they blamed piracy, over and over again and had stupid commercials about it. now it's demand is down and the reselling market is evil. no, make a good product and release it on time. if every game wasn't getting delayed maybe people would buy things.