Recently, the National Purchase Diary released sales figures for the first fiscal quarter of the year, and found sales have declined 29% compared to last year. In the first quarter of 2012 $3.4 billion in sales have been made, compared to the first quarter of 2011, where that number was $5.9 billion. Not only this but for the 8th straight month, video game sales have been down as reported for July.
What does this really mean? Are we due for a new console? Are developers running out of ideas? Is the video game industry really growing stale? I wanted to think about this a little to give a my view on lower sales, to give a little insight. I looked at numbers to exhaustion, and the numbers gave me an indirect source-The year 2011. I felt 2011 was a very rare year in gaming. More blockbuster, triple A titles were released in 2011, than they were in 2012. At least up to this point.
Dead Space 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Killzone 3, Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, L.A. Noire, and inFamous 2 were some of the major titles, released in the first half of 2011. I can remember off the top of my head because I either own, have played, or remember the ad campaigns. By comparison, the titles that stood out in my mind, in 2012 were Twisted Metal, Mass Effect 3, and Max Payne 3. There were a handful of other titles I remember specifically simply because I reviewed them for the site, however I don’t feel like they stood out for the right reasons, or necessarily stood out altogether.
This isn’t to say 2012’s games have a worse quality or than 2011’s games. I simply felt 2011 had not only a higher supply of quality games, but the higher demand from consumers to buy those games. So what does it mean for the immediate future? Well, we’ll have the usual suspects of Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, and EA’s first person shooter, plus the latest installment of Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Resident Evil 6, plus Bethesda’s latest original IP in Dishonored. Sales could pick back up again in the holiday season due to these games.
Another thing that might pick up sales this holiday season could be the Wii U. Despite, my personal views of Nintendo’s image now, I feel the Wii U has a chance to bring Nintendo back to a prominent gaming company with quality games, rather than the company that succeeded despite itself as it was with the Wii. Sony and Microsoft should be paying attention the Wii U for their own reasons. One of which is to test the market to see if it is indeed ready for a new console.
So at the end of the day, I don’t feel it’s right to compare sales to last year and say “Sales are down because (enter reason)”, especially coming off such a remarkable year. Of course sales will be down, the industry had a great 2011, and 2012…Well, let’s just say it has it’s moments. Still, the end of this year might see sales pick back up, but if you’re interested in comparing sales numbers, keep an eye on early 2013. Games like the Tomb Raider reboot and Bioshock Infinite delayed until February, 2013 is already off to a pretty big start. Though the gaming forecast might look gloomy now, brighter days are ahead.
What do you guys think? Do you have your own theories? Voice them in the comments. Let us know why you think 2012 has slumping game sales, and if you think the fall and winter games have a shot at turning sales around.