Friday, June 12, 2009

Video game sales drop 23% in May


US videogame sales declined by 23 percent in May from a year ago, falling below one billion dollars for the first time since August 2007, market research firm NPD Group reported on Thursday.

NPD said sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories dropped to 863.3 million dollars in May from 1.12 billion dollars in May of last year.

Hardware sales fell 30 percent to 302.5 million dollars while software sales fell 17 percent to 448.9 million dollars. Sales of accessories were 25 percent lower at 112 million dollars.

"The video games industry continues to struggle with difficult comparisons to last year," NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said, although she added that "May is typically one of the lowest revenue-generating months."

"Every category declined versus a year ago with the exception of portable hardware sales which was bolstered by the continued strong sales of the Nintendo DS including both the DSi and the Lite," she said.

Nintendo's Wii remained the top-selling game platform in May on sales of 289,500 units followed by Microsoft's Xbox 360 on sales of 175,000 units, Sony's PlayStation 3 on sales of 131,000 units and Sony's PlayStation 2 on sales of 117,000 units.

Nintendo's DS was the top-selling handheld on sales of 633,500 units. Sony's PSP sold 100,400 units.

"There is a lot of new DS content coming to market this month for a wide variety of gamers, so we should see strong hardware sales continue," Frazier said.

Among game titles, the top-seller in May was UFC 2009 Undisputed on sales of 679,600 units for the Xbox 360 and 334,400 units for the PS3.

Wii Fit With Balance Board was next on sales of 352,800 units followed by EA Sports Active Bundle for the Wii on sales of 345,800 units.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sony Joins Universal, YouTube Video Site keep-alive
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Videogame industry prays for resilient 2009

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Game publishers, in a rare moment of solidarity, joined forces on Wednesday to convey optimism for the future of their $30 billion industry despite spiraling consumer spending and a global economic downturn.

Electronic Arts, Activision and THQ Inc -- with Activision the sole profit-maker in its last reported quarter -- hope to focus on developing mainly blockbuster titles while finding ways to eliminate costs.

A year-long recession has slowed sales growth. Research house NPD estimates spending on U.S. videogames dived 17 percent in April. With top titles often costing as much to produce as a Hollywood film, publishers have had to make tough choices.

After a wave of belt-tightening in the past year, including widespread job cuts, studio closings and title cancellations, many now adopt a strategy of diverting resources to only their most bankable franchises.

"Our actual net development budget has been significantly reduced this year to $120 million ... but its focus is on a few of these quality titles," THQ CEO Brian Farrell told Reuters.

Executives see glimmers of hope in new audiences and more casual users, expanding beyond the industry's traditionally heavily male demographic to women and older people.

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello sees 1 billion game players from just a few hundred million now.

Crucial to that vast expansion will be games that appeal not just to the hard-core, but also to families andcasual gamers, as exemplified by the enormous take-up of Nintendo's Wii and its best-selling Wii Fit fitness title.