Feeds

Recession takes chunk out of game sales

Finally feels pinch

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

"Recession-proof" ain't what it used to be. First Google's secret money making machine starts coughing up smoke, and now the video games industry takes a hit.

What's next, recession? Rainbows and unicorns going broke?

March sales for the games industry as a whole dropped 17 per cent compared to a year ago, according to NPD Group. That's the first time during this recession the games biz suffered a drop in revenues.

Overall, the industry saw about $1.43bn in sales during the month, compared to $1.72bn in March 2008. Software sales dropped 17 per cent year-over-year to $792.8m and hardware sales fell 18 per cent to $455.6m.

NPD correctly notes, however, that March 2008 saw the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, which went on to become the fourth best-selling game that year. That tosses a bit of a wrench into comparing sales year-over-year, but NPD may be giving one game too much credit. March 2009 had some potentially big releases too, most notably additions to the popular Resident Evil, Pokemon, and Halo franchises.

The bean counting firm also attributes the sales dip to Easter falling in March last year, whereas it was in April this time around. Apparently, the Easter Bunny has been known to squeeze out the occasional video game disk along with her usual repertoire of chocolate eggs. NPD claims Easter accounted for $121m in sales last year, with the following breakdown for consoles:

  1. Nintendo Wii: 601,000 units
  2. Nintendo DS: 563,000 units
  3. Microsoft Xbox 360: 330,000 units
  4. Sony Playstation 3: 218,000 units
  5. Sony PSP: 168,000 units
  6. Sony Playstation 2: 112,000 units

Per usual, Nintendo's Wii beat the snot out of every other company's consoles. But the surprise here is that Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the only console to achieve year-over-year growth. Xbox 360 sales increased 25 per cent compared to March of last year. In comparison, Wii numbers dropped about 14 per cent and the PS3 slipped about 13 per cent.

On games, NPD ranked the top-10 software sales as follows:

  1. Resident Evil 5, Xbox 360, 938,000 units
  2. Pokemon Platinum Version, Nintendo DS, 805,000 units
  3. Halo Wars, Xbox 360, 639,000 units
  4. Resident Evil 5, PS3, 585,000 units
  5. Wii Fit w/ Balance Board, Wii, 541,000 units
  6. MLB '09: The Show, PS3, 305,000 units
  7. Killzone 2, PS3, 296,000 units
  8. Wii Play w/ Remote, Wii, 281,000 units
  9. Mario Kart w/ Wheel, Wii, 278,000 units
  10. Major League Baseball 2k9, Xbox 360, 205,000 units

Guess we'll see next month if the Easter Bunny laid the missing cash in the games industry's basket for April. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.