July video game sales show sharp decline

Aug 14, 2009 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Hurt by the recession and few hit game launches, U.S. retail sales of video games dropped sharply in July, showing an even bigger decline than what many analysts were expecting.

Market researcher NPD Group said Thursday that sales of hardware, software and accessories plunged 29 percent from the same period last year, to $848.8 million.

July marked the fifth straight month to show a sales decline this year. On top of that, the drop was steeper than what analysts were looking for. Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey, for example, had expected a 15 percent decline. Year-to-date sales were down 14 percent at the end of July, totaling $8.16 billion.

"While year-to-date results are weak, there are some big titles set to be released over the next several months, including 'Madden' this month, which should help spur sales," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in a statement.

Squeezed by the recession, customers are being more selective about what video games they buy, and many are waiting for blockbuster game launches coming later in the year.

They are also hoping for console price cuts. NPD said hardware sales slowed down considerably in July, and analysts attribute much of this to anticipated price cuts for the gaming consoles.

Sales of portable gaming systems and consoles tumbled 37 percent, to $280.9 million. The handheld was by far the month's best-selling system, with 538,900 units sold. It was followed by the Wii with 252,500 units and Corp.'s with 202,900 units. Corp.'s sold just 121,800 units.

"We need hardware to turn around or the industry is going to be in trouble," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. He added that the industry will most definitely turn around, in September, because of huge game launches planned for that month.

But, he added, the trough on the decline "is worse than I thought."

Last year's spring and summer saw the launch of blockbuster games like "Wii Fit" and "Grand Theft Auto IV." In comparison the first half of 2009 has been unusually slow when it comes to top-flight game launches. Combined with the recession, the retail games industry is not doing too well.

But Frazier said the worst comparisons "should be behind us, and looking beyond August we have 'The Beatles: Rock Band,' 'Halo 3: ODST,' and of course, 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' to look forward to."

July's software fell 26 percent to $437 million. The No. 1 game was Nintendo's "Wii Sports Resort," followed in No. 2 and No. 3 by Electronic Arts Inc.'s "NCAA Football 10" for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, respectively. " Fit," which launched in May 2008, and "Mario Kart" from April 2008, rounded out the top five.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: US judge rejects Apple bid to ban Samsung smartphones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

June video game sales drop sharply

Jul 17, 2009

(AP) -- Squeezed by the economic downturn, U.S. retail sales of video games dropped sharply in June, the largest year-over-year decline the industry has seen in nearly nine years.

April video game sales decline 17 percent

May 15, 2009

(AP) -- Lacking the big hits that made the year-ago period a standout, U.S. video game sales dropped sharply in April for the second month in a row as customers continued to watch their wallets.

US video game sales slide 23 pct in May

Jun 12, 2009

(AP) -- U.S. video gamers spent less on games, hardware and accessories in May compared with a year ago, a sign that this year's release schedule couldn't compete with Take Two Interactive's "Grand Theft Auto IV" last spring.

March video game sales slump more than expected

Apr 17, 2009

(AP) -- U.S. video game sales slumped more than expected in March and were flat in the first quarter when compared with a year earlier - hurt by the recession, a shift in the Easter calendar and fewer big game launches.

Video game industry faces tougher year

Feb 22, 2009

After enjoying a banner year in 2008 despite the slowing economy, the video game industry may find the coming year to be more of a challenge.

Recommended for you

Hackerspaces used to turn ideas turn into reality

19 hours ago

At HeatSync Labs, the tables are littered with computer chips, pens, pads and tools while the room is abuzz with the chatter of would-be inventors hoping to change the world—or just make cool things. They are part of a ...

China Telecom profit rises as mobile data grows

20 hours ago

China Telecom Ltd., one of the country's three main state-owned carriers, said Wednesday its profit rose 11.8 percent in the first half of the year as its Internet and mobile data businesses grew.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bob_Kob
not rated yet Aug 14, 2009
how about make some original games instead of the old shit remakes.