March extends sales slump - Analysts

Trio of industry watchers projects 5-10% software decline; Sebastian says 3DS demand experienced rapid drop-off.

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NPD may no longer want analysts to disseminate its official US sales figures every month, but that isn't stopping industry watchers from laying out their predictions. With the industry-tracking body prepared to announce its US retail accounting for March on Thursday, a handful of analysts have issued dour projections for the industry.

Nintendo's perennial chart topper is expected to top March's charts.

Wedbush's Michael Pachter believes software sales were down 8 percent in March to $805 million. The fourth consecutive month of software sales declines comes despite strong performances from Nintendo's Pokemon Black and White, which combined to sell more than 1.4 million units, according to Pachter.

The analyst also believes Electronic Arts had a good month, forecasting Crysis 2 and Dragon Age II to have sold 400,000 units each. Pachter was also positive on Homefront, which he believes sold 700,000 units during the month.

Still, these performances were not enough to offset last year's comparison against Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Pachter noted. He also attributed the decline to the Easter holiday, which falls in late April this year.

On the hardware front, Pachter believes 500,000 3DSs were sold during its debut month, largely on the back of strong preorders. That figure just bests the Xbox 360's projected performance of 480,000 units. Pachter expects the Wii to sell 410,000 units, while the PlayStation 3 could sell 380,000 units.

Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian also touched upon the 3DS's launch in his own note to investors. Though he did not provide a unit-sales estimate, Sebastian did say that his checks with retailers indicate the 3DS's sales have "slowed considerably since the initial launch window," when the device set handheld sales records for Nintendo.

Sebastian also believes that software sales were down 10 percent during the month. As with Pachter, he believes March's sales faced a difficult comparison against last year, aided not at all by the late Easter shopping holiday.

Cowen and Company's Doug Creutz offered the rosiest picture of March, though he, too, believes the month saw sales declines. According to Creutz's analysis, the console and handheld software industry was down 5 percent year-over-year, although sales would be relatively flat were it not for Easter's late arrival.

Creutz was also more optimistic on the performance of the 3DS. He believes Nintendo's new platform sold 750,000 units following its debut in the US.

Discussion

72 comments
phayde1212
phayde1212

Perhaps they should make something dare I say new? You can only remake something so many times.

jinjrak
jinjrak

good to know. @remysola Quiet You!!!

Zerabp
Zerabp

@ SicklySunStorm Great advice

remysola
remysola

Gamespot PLEASE stop posting this kind of stuff. I don't come everyday here to read this kind of boring news.

vortex_gw
vortex_gw

@TWayne1020 Wrong! Sniper: Ghost Warrior sold 1 million units.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Its not our fault the companies only answer to slower sales is to increase prices and release Call of Duty clones / Apocalyptic Racers / My Wii Fitness Sports Brain Training games every 2 days...

TWayne1020
TWayne1020

Simple, bad games equal bad sales !!!

khrizthian
khrizthian

Agree! Lower prices, and please fix Crysis 2, hate bugs and hate to pay for bugs!!!!

stziggy
stziggy

Lower prices! $60 is too much to plunk down for a game. I have three games right now I want to buy (Bulletstorm, Homefront, and WWE Superstars). I flat out refuse to pay $60 for those titles. I ended up buying Shogun 2 this month because I was able to buy it for $33. The industry is flat out asking too much for their games.

Shardz7
Shardz7

Meanwhile, back at the farm...the Indie scene is booming and people are losing interest with the same three corporate games over and over again. But I digress...

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

@siixon - higher fuel costs are actually massively important. It doesn't mean you just pay more at the pumps, it affects everything. All the food and goods being transported round countries need fuel for the road, for trains, for air - this in turn pushes up the prices of everything else, the other things you were saying were more important... consider that when you pay for fuel also, that most of what you're paying is duty levied to line the governments pockets... fuel/oil really is the lifeblood, and the price of it has massive effects on everything. If anyone really is genuinely struggling to pay basic bills for food/rent, whatever, buying a $50 game is the last thing they should be worried about, and maxing out credit certainly isn't the solution. It's everyone doing that for the last 15 years that has turned the wheels of the current depression. Pay bills first and save for what you want instead of using credit....

EDD213
EDD213

Pachter is an idiot Homefront shipped 1 million units meaning probably a minimum of about 6-700,000 and 250% for xbox 360 as for crysis well we all know it sold a hell of alot more than that and as for dragon age 2 probably 900,000 considering they made people who got it for PC MASS EFFECT 2 Free...... come on now with ur idiotic pea-brained predictions

herodotus2006
herodotus2006

We see this every year now - the drought period in gaming, when Indie Devs/ Publishers tend to flourish. As for "DA 2", "Homefront" and "Crysis 2", many of those figures reflect pre-orders and aside from "Crysis 2", and to a lesser extent "DA 2" those figures are dwindling.

lilflex1
lilflex1

looks like the best jobs to have are the ones that give out gas cards

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

Oh My... this month's sequels Crysis 2 & Dagon age 2 didn't sell as well as the sequels from last year at this time FF XIII, God of War III or Bad Company II.

siiixon
siiixon

higher fuel cost PLEASE... how about rent and food... fuel price fluctuation are the least of our problems... no jobs, insanely high rent and mortgages, games su*k, most people maxed out they credit... that extra 10/20 cent / liter on fuel really is nothing compared to the mega problems most people have, have to pay an extra $20-30 extra / month on fuel ohhh no - how about paying the rent, and still have something left over for a $50 game

Greyfeld
Greyfeld

Any time I see an article revolving around the words of Michael Pachter, I just assume that it's all full of crap. That supposed analyst could say the sky was blue, and I would assume he's wrong.

duderdave
duderdave

Rampant day-trader speculation buying and selling of oil future contracts is disproportionately driving up the price of oil by taking advantage of world news and making these one-click wonders (day-traders) filthy rich on the back of driving up the price of everything that depends on energy when there is NO real lack of oil - just "yellow fever" journalism feeding speculators' wallets with our money, for doing in reality NOTHING of any real value. The effects of this artificial inflation are being felt everywhere as it digs into peoples' income that is currently not seeing the same kind of increase as prices are across the board. This has a real and direct negative impact on peoples' spending patterns and abilities when it comes to grabbing new software titles as they come out. I don't see this changing in a very positive way until we somehow get a grip on this harmful and unfounded oil price speculation that is giving these day-traders a free ride on the backs of our money.

pelvist
pelvist

@ctburesch and more people will be spending their money on higher fuel costs instead of games.

ctburesch
ctburesch

Wait till gas hits $5 a gallon this summer here in the US, guarantee more people will be gaming then going out to the movies and eating

blkstr89
blkstr89

we are living in the age of AAA content and unnecessary delays. game developers are afraid of each other and never release on time. they blame piracy but truly they have no understanding of business. delays shouldn't be blamed on piracy and developers should be able to create a complete game by the time they planned. it is extremely weird that many of them say that we are ironing out kinks and such when even after the games come out bugs are there

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

Actually wait for a new cod, BF3, gears and THEN they will be happy with sales...until then, release mediocre games, expect mediocre sales. Also portables arent the most popular thing here...especially at 250 a piece in a bad economy. The market is still bad for the average worker. Go ask a CEO to buy all they slack since they're keeping the money by not hiring AND paying. No McDonalds jobs please, unless they pay 50k

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

So far we've only seen about 3 good games released this year, and all 3 of those have been slightly disappointing, so it's no wonder sales are down. Wait for LA Noire, Portal 2, Skyrim, and so on, and things will pick up slightly.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Well if those console sales are anywhere close to reality, that sounds like a decent month. Even if these consoles are going to homes as 2nd or 3rd consoles (or multiple consoles in homes in the X360 and PS3's case). More consoles on the market = more software sold. The end of this year is going to be big for the software devs, methinks.

MrGoodKill
MrGoodKill

"Still, these performances were not enough to offset last year's comparison against Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Pachter noted." Well it can't be Christmas every day now, can it Pachter? Maybe you should get in there and develop your own AAA titles each month, so that investors have something to look forward to.

Islandbeats
Islandbeats

Ill help sales a little when I pick up Portal 2 next week.

battlefrontphil
battlefrontphil

@Toysoldier34 Well, if you own a PS3 there is still plenty to look forward to this year.

pokecharm
pokecharm

EA does seem to be making some smart moves, but I have think there are some huge releases coming out in the coming months, so there's no need to panic just yet ;)

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

I like Crysis 2. Especially for 39.99 launch day

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@SnakeEyesX80 I bought a 3DS myself and I agree, there's nothing wrong with the 3DS but the price was just a little inflated in my opinion. I got it for £160 and it's normally about £200 but a lower price would help it shift. I think Nintendo want profit though and being the only next gen handheld out at the moment, with about 6 months lead to getting good games and having a feature that NGP won't match (3D) they can charge what they want a little. All hardware goes down over time though, this is just like the PS3 where it was too expensive initially and so needed time to come down.

pszone
pszone

Well shift 2 was out that month and didnt sell well because wasnt that gd aslo WWE all stars was lame i think only gd was cyiss 2 aslo 3ds in bargin bin already where we live so its epic fail that 3ds didnt realse very gd games on launch

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

Maybe if the 3DS didn't cost $250 freakin' dollars, there would be a lot more sales and it wouldn't have "slowed considerably" so soon. It looks cool, but I'd pay $150 at most for it.

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

@darkdemonlord69 "Interesting. Gas price goes up. Weather get's nice. And sales go down for video games. Doesn't take a genius to figure out why that is the case. Duh, people are getting out and enjoying the weather. Here is your sign Tom Magrino." You should get a job doing what they do. LOL. I think you hit the nail on the head. LOL.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

I've been waiting for Portal 2. Crysis 2 was a let down, and Dead Space 2 was fun. There just isn't he solid line up this year that last year had. There are still lots of good games, just not to the caliber of last year's launch.

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

Theres only 3 games for the 3ds at the moment do you expect sales to stay high

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

@darkdemonlord69 Good point. It should also be noted that tax season is in full swing. Surprising that people want to follow the law and pay up instead of buying games and going to jail like Wesley Snipes, hmmmm...

darkdemonlord69
darkdemonlord69

Interesting. Gas price goes up. Weather get's nice. And sales go down for video games. Doesn't take a genius to figure out why that is the case. Duh, people are getting out and enjoying the weather. Here is your sign Tom Magrino.

Zephol
Zephol

crysis 2 not sale good

mellow09
mellow09

@Richardthe3rd This is a year over year comparison.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

March is slow for everything, not just the video games industry. Gearing up for 3rd quarter when business usually picks up for everyone. Analysts made an obvious observation; congratulations. /sarcasm

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

thats funny. I bought 16 games in march. more than any month ever before in my life.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

they said there was 2 , somthing m preorders some ones not right

homegirl2180
homegirl2180

I love how this whole article is figure projections from a man who's wrong 49% of the time. Are we so eager to know how stagnant the industry is?

tachsniper
tachsniper

still you cannot deny that while the economic situation may have improved consumers spending habits are still nowhere near where they used to be before any recession crisis.

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

sorry missing a chunk of my sentence :P "gas is going up..."

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

@tachsniper oh we are out of a recession...gas is because it has been for god only knows how long (we have been using oil for more than a century if im not mistaken) the unemployment numbers are about the same as before the recent recession, and overall spending has been rising...so yeah we are out of THIS recession.

tachsniper
tachsniper

we're out of the recession? gas is gonna hit 5 bucks a gallon and unemployment is still around 7 or so percent. so tell me again just how out of the recession we are?

okassar
okassar

Well we are, in technical terms, out of the recession. The reason for this slump has to be that the lineups are weaker than they should be. Moar good games pl0x