Game Sales Tumbled in May
The latest NPD numbers are out now, and it’s official: the industry is taking a major hit compared to last year. Total sales in May were $863 million, down 23% from last May. The 2009 year-to-date totals are down 7% from a year ago.
According to The Wall Street Journal, total videogame spending dropped below $1 billion for the first time since August 2007. The most significant drops were in console sales, with the sales leading Nintendo Wii dropping 55%.
But it’s not all bad news. Since the sales figures for this month largely met the expectations of industry analysts, there is speculation that the recent contraction in the industry should end by August. Also driving these predictions is the fact that there are a number of high-profile games coming to retail release dates, starting with the Sims 3 this month. We can still look forward to games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Left 4 Dead 2, Dragon Age, and Brutal Legend to drive sales up later this year.
In all honesty, no one should be surprised by these numbers. After all, last May saw the release of one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year, Grand Theft Auto 4. That title alone drove more sales than the top two sellers for this May combined. Nevermind that had it hit its intended release date, it would have already been on store shelves for months at that time. 2008 was a phenomenal year for videogame sales, but in today’s economy, every industry is taking hits. Videogames may recover faster, because they allow consumers to stay home, and are one of the more cost efficient methods of personal entertainment.
I don’t think it’s time to panic yet, but if there isn’t a turnaround by August, then you may have to worry a little bit.