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Opinion: NPD Analysis Report on Video Game Sales

A yearly report from NPD analysis show a decline in the video game sales in all categories except portable gaming. While the news is not good, there isn’t much surprise. This year has not been a good one for games, with the number of decent titles small enough to count on one hand. This is assumed to be contributed to the change in the Madden schedule from August releases to September, but even still, that wouldn’t account for the lack of sales in hardware which is down by 12% and accessories which is only down by 1%.

Software was down the worse, with a massive 34% down from  last year, which even with a Madden release in August couldn’t change the figures enough to bring them into the positive. With the delay of Mass Effect 3 until next March and Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 not arriving until later this year the big releases of this year being Infamous 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, L.A. Noire, Portal 2, Dead Space 2, Killzone 3 and Little Big Planet 2. Adding all those titles together you get about two games that stood out as being anything impressive; L.A. Noire and Portal 2. Most of this years releases have been a giant let down and games like Duke Nukem Forever, Killzone 3 and Dead Space 2 were quickly forgotten among the mass of games not even worth mentioning.

NPD broke the report down into groups, which outlined what did well in Hardware and Software, which only serves to make my feelings about this year all that more validated. In hardware, the price cuts from the Playstation 3 and Nintendo 3DS this summer were able to bring the sales of each devices up by just a little bit, which was we mentioned in the Podcast on the topic of the 3DS price cut, doesn’t make the device itself anymore valuable and only caused consumers who purchased the device early in its release to be upset over the almost immediate price drop after being on the market less than a year. Playstation users also didn’t have much luck in buying their consoles cheaper either when the Playstation Network was hacked and forced to be rebuilt after an attack by anonymous a day before the Socom 4 release and offline for almost a month.

As for the Software, Deus Ex was the top seller of the month, releasing 5 days before the results were collected. While this will quickly be out-shined by Madden once it is released later this month. NPD, much like the rest of the gaming community see the next year to be most profitable in software sales, with highly anticipated titles such as Diablo 3, Boarderlands 2 and Mass Effect 3. One can even look to the end of this year to see a range of decent titles being released like Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

For the most part, the NPD report is not of much surprise, and clearly reflects how successful this year has been in the video game world. While there is some hope for next year in the software section, I think things will not change in terms of hardware besides the release of the Playstation Vita, but I would be lying if I said I was holding my breath in anticipation for yet another handheld device to dilute the market.

Learn more the author of this post:

Andrew Wilson
Andrew has been poking and prodding computers for 11 years who occasionally writes about Technology and Video Games while working towards getting his Bachelors in Computer Engineering. He is also one of the contributors to the Let's Play's on the site.
  • http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com Tristan Thomas

    Piracy adds to the decline. 

  • Andrew Wilson

    Yes, but that is a problem with every yearly report, so how is it this year was so bad in sales? Piracy hasn’t become any more popular than the previous year. When it comes down to it, if you make a great game, the sales will outweigh the pirated copies, if you make a garbage game, then the piracy might be far greater than your sales. It has been seen with a lot of games, like Mass Effect 2 and Starcraft 2. Both of them were very popular and still managed to make a fair amount of money vs all the people who probably pirated the game. 

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