John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Videogame Industry Suffers Massively Multiplayer Sales Decline


April was another lousy month for the videogame industry. With overall revenue down 26 percent and hardware down 37 percent, it was the worst monthly year-over-year sales decline since last July, according to research house The NPD Group. It was also the 10th time in the last 13 months that sales have fallen year-over-year.

  • Nintendo sold 277,2000 Wiis, down from 557,500 in March and 340,000 a year ago. The company sold 440,800 Nintendo DS’s, down from 700,800 in March and 1.04 million a year ago.
  • Microsoft sold 185,400 Xbox 360s, down from 338,400 in March, but up from 175,000 a year ago.
  • Sony sold 180,800 PlayStation 3s, down from 313,900 in March, but up from 127,000 a year ago. And it sold 65,500 PSPs, down from 119,900 in March and 116,000 a year ago.

What’s driving the drops? Blame the portable gaming industry, which contributed more than its fair share to the industry decline, said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

“The portable business across hardware, software and accessories accounted for 25 percent of total industry dollar sales in April,” Frazier explained. “But declines in portable sales compared to April ’09 accounted for 61 percent of the total industry decrease.”

That’s just abysmal, even if April is traditionally the slowest month of the year for videogame sales. Consider this: At 440,800, sales of the Nintendo DS tanked by more than 50 percent from more than one million last April.

So what’s going on? Perhaps consumers are postponing new portable game system purchases in anticipation of Nintendo’s new 3DS. Or perhaps they’re finding that their smartphones make fine gaming devices.

It’s not yet clear. But what is clear, and painfully so, is that the hardware refresh promised by Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT), which are adding new motion technology to their players, and Nintendo, which is debuting the 3-D version of its DS handheld, can’t come soon enough.

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