Game sales expected to slide for seventh straight month

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter predicts NPD numbers for June will show US software sales down 34%, blames "lackluster release lineup."

The NPD Group is expected to release its US gaming retail sales data for the month of June on Thursday, and Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter expects the news to be bad. Pachter today sent a note to investors saying he expects US software sales to total just $305 million, down 34 percent from June 2011.

Pokemon Conquest is expected to top the charts, but it won't exactly be a glorious victory.

The "lackluster release lineup" was Pachter's prime culprit for the decline. Pokemon Conquest and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes were called out as the month's biggest new games, with late May's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier also sitting near the top of the charts. However, Pachter also named a few likely disappointments in June. The analyst said Spec Ops: The Line posted modest sales, while Lollipop Chainsaw and Max Payne 3 underperformed.

NPD monthly software sales figures have been down at least 20 percent every month this year. They haven't posted a positive month since November, when the record-breaking release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 helped push them up 15 percent year-over-year.

"In this unprecedented eighth year of the console cycle, we believe there are few new intellectual properties to reinvigorate interest in the games sector," Pachter wrote. "Consumers have been offered a never-ending series of sequels, and have been offered fewer choices each year for the last several years, with the result being waning interest in new software purchases and an unprecedented three years of software sales declines. The poster children for limiting consumer choice are Activision, Electronic Arts and THQ, with each company offering 50 percent as many titles as they offered several years ago, with only one new intellectual property launched among the three companies over the last year."

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59 comments
Falru
Falru

Not saying I really care about his opinions that much, but I really feel Pachter is actually on target this time. WAY too many damn sequels lately. I can't believe how excited the news that Nippon Ichi is making a game that isn't Disgaea made me. And it's not like I expect AAA quality from Nippon Ichi or anything, but I do expect somethin that's not mainstream. Dragon's Dogma was the only breath of fresh air this year so far for me.

 

This is why I'm currently studying how to design my own games. Sure I'll still buy games from developers that I think deserve it, but I really want to start creating my own games and see how a game designed by a gamer, for fun, differs from a game design that spawned from a publisher's need to make money. (I just want to make them and share them with friend's and people who are interested in playing them, currently looking just to make a simple RPG)

 

I've got a long ways to go with 3D Model design and texture work but it's an extremely entertaining hobby.

 

For anyone interested, I'm currently learning from this book:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Unity-3-x-Game-Development-Essentials/dp/1849691444/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1342704691&sr=8-2&keywords=unity+design+essentials

 

It's proven to be excellent thus far.

steelmouth
steelmouth

Activision, Electronic Arts and THQ <---------------- but ths guys publish the best selling chart topping games every year, so lets blame the other guys who are not catchin up and keep releasing mediocre new IPs 

Destrond
Destrond

It felt so good to read that last paragraph

 

Suck it Activision, EA, and THQ. Your worthless scumbag tactics are only losing you money now and I hope you all go down in flames. At least then your best devs can get a better start with better publishers, or even self publish.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

"NPD numbers for June will show US software sales down 34%, blames "lackluster release lineup"

 

......and yet another foregone conclusion simply to justify his position.

Holoogamooga_
Holoogamooga_

Are sales always this slow toward the end of a console generation? I'm just wondering if this is some obvious pattern that people are freaking out about, saying games are going down the crapper.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

After all of this time. Doesn't the Pachter know the summertime is a slower time for sales. Plus the economy is still broken. The Pachter has predicted correctly about the Poster Children Activison, Electronic Arts and THQ limiting consumer chioce. As their games have blown recently

fester420
fester420

A lot of people like me just flat out won't buy games from activision ea or thq.  All of their games look good but I haven't made my way through a full run of any of their games in the last few years.  The games are boring, all flash no substance.  I have recently made the switch to PC and have been playing nothing but indie games for the last few months.  Games made by people who love games, not the same thing churned out year after year with a fresh coat of paint.  I will still play some AAA titles but I am forever done with Activision, EA, and THQ.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

There's only two games I'm actually really looking forward to, and that's GTAV and The Last of Us.

 

Gaming has gone down a notch this gen, possibly because it's just so damn expensive for both parties.

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

To be honest, it's been a poor year for gaming so far, with only a couple of titles worth picking up.  Hopefully it will start to gain momentum towards mid september early october time.

samantha_sneez
samantha_sneez

Oh God forbid gamers spend their monies on food, clothing, and shelter. Besides, nothing in the least bit interesting is coming out this summer.

tightwad34
tightwad34

This is not news. Nothing of any importance  here.

exedeath
exedeath

remember the Playstation, and Playstation 2? Remember all of the awesome games that were released for those consoles? I sure do, and you know why there are more sequels than new IPs? Because they have to invest a crap ton of money to make a game look really pretty for these new consoles, and they will not take the risk of not making enough back. There are too many new gamers that only play games that look appealing in graphics. It is easier for these companies to put out sequels of their top selling games, cause they know they will at least break even on them. Just look at Lollipop Chainsaw. There was something new and innovative, and it didn't do well. I thought it was a fantastic game. It didn't have over the top graphics, but the gameplay was awesome. It also was not some huge game. You could finish it in about 8 hours your first time through, but the arcade feel to it made it fun to replay those levels. Now you cannot sit there and complain that the reason nobody bought it was because of the length of the game, cause God of War 2 sold well, and it only took 6 hours to finish it. The name sells, and that's the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so.

 

BonEcho
BonEcho

Personally, I am waiting for all the amazing games coming out this fall.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Sales? NPD only? Meh. I don't care for sales, I'm here to game!

SuperKaio-ken
SuperKaio-ken

This has to be one of the worst years for gaming since the last five or so years. There is literally nothing, I have money to spend but nothing to spend it on. Max payne 3 was the last good purchase I made. This summer is terrible for gaming, and it's not like spring was much better either. The next generation of consoles is needed badly, you cant ride off of seven year technology and expect sales are going to be stellar. Also getting sick of all the sequels and prequels.......

shadow_Metroid
shadow_Metroid

I agree with this. The line up is pretty "lackluster."

okassar
okassar

The economy is actually getting better. That is not the reason. Developers are putting a majority of their effort into next-gen games. You're just not hearing about it, obviously.

DeFiLeDTitan
DeFiLeDTitan

The economy sucks, so the game industry should be down. Entertainment is the first thing that people should stop spending on when they have less money

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

I'm starting to think that practices like using online passes, always online DRM, and lackluster DLC are starting to catch up with the industry. It's kind of a letdown.

cmacinnis
cmacinnis

Even the analysts don't have the balls to put blame where it's needed, us the consumers. We're becoming more cheap because of the economy, I don't feel bad for not buying games this year, I've got Halo 4 pre-ordered but that's it for me...

hadlee73
hadlee73

Did Brendan raid Eddie's desk and steal all the Pachter docs? :P

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

We are PLAYING the same games with different look. PRESSING the same buttons to accomplish the same tasks and achieve the same goals.  Sure newer gamers come in like my son while more people take a break like myself, while others decide to just pick a few games to play instead of the many games they use to play.  

R2BDSi
R2BDSi

Pachter stating the obvious as usual. Anywho I don't think gamers are willing to buy Ninja Gayden 3, or Street $60 X Take 20 more dollars  

Shinobi120
Shinobi120

It looks like it's time for Nintendo to save the industry again with Wii U. To give 3rd party developers a clue on how games should be done...for fun, & not all about shooters, graphics, etc. :)

andrewwittmaier
andrewwittmaier

I'm looking forward to October.  

 

Check my blog for an article similar to this one.  

andrewwittmaier
andrewwittmaier

"The poster children for limiting consumer choice are Activision, Electronic Arts and THQ, with each company offering 50 percent as many titles as they offered several years ago, with only one new intellectual property launched among the three companies over the last year."

 

...and that's why everyone hates them.  

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

 @Holoogamooga_

 I would say yes but the Ps2 sell alot of games and console even after what is it 10 years sense the console launched. And you can still buy a new console for a hundred bucks.

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

 @Holoogamooga_ Doesn't help that most of us don't have as much spare cash to sling at them and the choice of games has narrowed as publishers play safe with their money.

R2BDSi
R2BDSi

They could easily make games $50 again.

samantha_sneez
samantha_sneez

@Hillsy_ Agreed. I think the only game worth picking up this year was probably Max Payne 3.

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

 @exedeath

 I didnt pickup lollipop Chainsaw because of the price wasnt going to spend $60 on a game that was short. Will be picking it up when it drops to 20 or 30.

deadmonkey76
deadmonkey76

 @cmacinnis ohh yeah its our fault for not buying garbage from these publishers and paying for there over price dlc.

emperiox
emperiox

 @cmacinnis Oh right, because it is all our faults for them not having as many sales as they would have liked. Newsflash...I preordered Max Payne 3 and then cancelled it because I didn't like how Rockstar was already planning DLC for like 6 months prior to the games' release. I don't approve of companies walking over me...and it's not my fault for them trying.

 

DLazarek
DLazarek

 @Shinobi120

 I am pretty unimpressed by the Wii U.  If that's the salvation, gaming is screwed.

DLazarek
DLazarek

 @Carpetfluff

 Disposable income, at least in the US, has tanked just as badly.  Its pretty tough to buy new games when the job market is this terrible.

samantha_sneez
samantha_sneez

@DLazarek @Hillsy_ Arkham City was last year, honey bunch.

Destrond
Destrond

 @Briantb_2008 See, the funny part is, the devs will never drop it down that low. The only reason it gets that low is used sales, and then the devs get no money. 

 

From Software made a smart move with Dark Souls after it was released. I'm still seeing new copies of black ops and even mw3 run for 50-60 bucks at gamestop, but dark souls dropped to 40 bucks and now 35 after about 4-8 months out. THe game is worth 60 to me because of how original it is, but who wouldn't try it if its simply new for 35-40 bucks. I honestly didn't realize I bought it new when I bought it, I thought it was a steal on a normally 60 dollar game.

 

If games learned how to price their crap correctly, maybe they would see profits for once. But then again...publishers don't know what lowering a price is.

okassar
okassar

 @DLazarek No, it truly is getting better. Stock prices have been up significantly since 2009/2009 and most notable corporations are sitting on big piles of cash. I'll tell you what though, the self entitled baby boomer generation that screwed the economy up in the first place won't pass the benefits down until it retires. That's why you may still think the economy sucks. 

cmacinnis
cmacinnis

 @emperiox If we don't buy games there are no sales... It's a pretty simple formula...

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

Love the Max Payne games :)   Dragon Dogma I believe is the 'sleeper hit' of the year much like Dead Space was back in 2008.  Good Choices both of you!!

DLazarek
DLazarek

 @Destrond Oh, I don't doubt that the economy will eventually bounce back.  But right now it is not on an upward climb, and with the lowest percentage of Americans working ever, I don't see how the game market could not suffer.

Destrond
Destrond

 @okassar Okassar is right ya know. There has been an incline in the economy that will fix it over time.

 

At least thats what I thought till obamacare passed. Man if that crap goes into effect, we will see inflation, more unemployment (oh whats this, our company is required health insurance so I must pay for it? Guess I'll pink slip some more scrubs), and less efficiency in this country.

 

I can only hope they are lazy as all hell with obamacare like they are with the country itself.

okassar
okassar

 @DLazarek I was hinting at delayed positive results. In 2-3 years you'll be laughing at your previous pessimism.

DLazarek
DLazarek

 @okassar

 Stock prices don't help the unemployed, and at least here in the US the labor market is dismal.   Incomes are down, hours worked are down, unemployment has been over 8 percent for the longest in recorded history.  Food stamp rolls are the highest they have ever been.  Blame who you want, the fact is the macroeconomic numbers are extremely poor, and not showing any signs of improving soon.

cmacinnis
cmacinnis

 @Peyj Hopefully they will learn from this, but I'm seeing companies bottom out before the message is heard...

Peyj
Peyj

 @cmacinnis Yeah, but we have a choice.  The companies who make and publish these games sort of have a responsibility to ensure that their product is something the consumers want.  This whole DLC thing is driving everything down.