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#1 Posted by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

April sales results for North America have been released by NPD group and things look like shit. Software sales are down 25% from last year according to a Gamespot tweet and Xbox 360 was the top selling console/handheld with 130k sold. That 130k is down 44.9% from last years number from MS. The 360 had a 42% market share among all current consoles as well, this includes 360, PS3, Wii, and Wii U.

With those numbers and another month of very poor sales from the Wii U, I'm getting worried that the Wii U's troubles are coming primarily from an industry problem rather than a result of Nintendo's incompetence. A month or two ago, I was pretty confident Durango and the PS4 would be totally fine and Nintendo just fumbled the Wii U launch, but I'm not so sure. So, this begs the question of whether or not next gen will save us or if all consoles will suffer fates similar to the Wii U? Maybe not as severe as the Wii U, but I doubt they will perform up to MS and Sony's expectations.

#2 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@skytylz said:

April sales results for North America have been released by NPD group and things look like shit. Software sales are down 25% from last year according to a Gamespot tweet and Xbox 360 was the top selling console/handheld with 130k sold. That 130k is down 44.9% from last years number from MS. The 360 had a 42% market share among all current consoles as well, this includes 360, PS3, Wii, and Wii U.

With those numbers and another month of very poor sales from the Wii U, I'm getting worried that the Wii U's troubles are coming primarily from an industry problem rather than a result of Nintendo's incompetence. A month or two ago, I was pretty confident Durango and the PS4 would be totally fine and Nintendo just fumbled the Wii U launch, but I'm not so sure. So, this begs the question of whether or not next gen will save us or if all consoles will suffer fates similar to the Wii U? Maybe not as severe as the Wii U, but I doubt they will perform up to MS and Sony's expectations.

people just waiting for next gen. This gen was way too long that why you have this slump. PS4 and next Xbox will generate a ton of hype to start the next gen. The Ps4 meeting alone was watched by over 20 or even 30 million people alone.

#3 Edited by Tru3_Blu3 (3187 posts) -

Tons of people don't have jobs, so awesomely costly things are not bought often. It could also be because plenty of consumers interested in gaming already have these consoles, so there isn't much demand as much as there was in the past. So the best course of action is to make some new products.

Also keep in mind that the rise of handheld devices is killing off the desktop market, and also keep another thing in mind that Windows8 is getting quite a bad reputation right now, so the NPD is surely taking a big hit with all of these events.

#4 Posted by Getz (2989 posts) -

THE RECESSION'S OVER, THAT'S WHAT THEY TOLD ME.

#5 Edited by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

@darji: DId 20 million really watch the PS4 announcement? That's promising if true. I understand this gen has went way to long, but I think it has caused damage that new consoles can't repair. It also doesn't explain why the Wii U is totally tanking.

#6 Posted by Sackmanjones (4652 posts) -

This gen went on 2 years too long in my opinion. When the console race starts heating up and consoles get released sales will bounce back

#7 Posted by mosespippy (4044 posts) -

@darji: I don't think the sort of consumer who buys a 7 year old console is the same type of consumer who is waiting to buy a brand new console. They are very different. No one who is waiting for next gen hasn't bought the current systems already.

I think the problem is that the current consoles haven't dropped in price for a long time. When the PS2 dropped to $200 its sales jumped an insane amount. It took another huge jump when it dropped to $160. We haven't seen the current consoles drop in price and it's keeping them from that large segment of the market that is price sensitive.

#8 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

@skytylz said:

@darji: DId 20 million really watch the PS4 announcement? That's promising if true. I understand this gen has went way to long, but I think it has caused damage that new consoles can't repair. It also doesn't explain why the Wii U is totally tanking.

Yeah it was a really big hype around this meeting I tink it were something like 24 million if you include all the streams which showed it. Microsofts one will be aired on television as well and will also get a ton of hype. Nintendo or the Wii U never really had the Hype after their first presentation who people even thought its a controller addon.

#9 Posted by EXTomar (4506 posts) -

"Will next gen save us?" The answer is probably "no".

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#10 Posted by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

@mosespippy: It's ridiculous how stagnant prices have been this gen. We've been at $250/$300 for like 3 or 4 years right?

#11 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4330 posts) -

Only time will tell.

#12 Edited by TruthTellah (8552 posts) -

The industry is fine, and the next gen will likely help. Though, it doesn't need "saving" . The last cycle has just gone a little too long, and companies are still in a time of transition. Things are changing a lot for gaming, but gaming will continue to grow as it has been.

#13 Edited by mosespippy (4044 posts) -

@skytylz: I think there was an 360 at $199 but it had like a 4GB hard drive or something. It was the SKU that is terrible to encourage you to buy the expensive one. I think it went away when Kinect came along.

#14 Edited by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

@truthtellah: I fully believe the gaming industry will continue to grow. I just don't think it will grow in the way of traditional games as we know them. Console games and traditional PC games are probably at their peak right now if you ask me and shitty F2P stuff and mobile games will continue to grow. Phone games are already taking most of the market share away from traditional handhelds and I could see stuff like the Ouya (certainly not the Ouya, but cheep tv boxes) doing the same thing to home consoles because the games would be cheap to make and cheap to buy. Microsoft, based on rumors, is focusing on a lot of non-gaming things with Durango because of this, not because they're dumb or hate gamers.

#15 Edited by TruthTellah (8552 posts) -

@skytylz: Casual and mobile games will continue to grow as part of total market share, but that's in conjunction with an overall growing market. Traditional games will continue to have their audience, as gamers aren't exactly converting to casual and mobile as much as fans of casual and mobile are being brought into the full picture of what the industry is. As long as there is an audience, these games will continue to be made. While developers are seeing growing pains with deciding where their investments go, between just trying to make one or two big AAA titles or take more risks on lower budget projects, they'll still be out there trying to fill a clear demand that is out there.

In a decade, you'll realize that now wasn't the apex of traditional games, just as it wasn't a decade before. Games have continued to change, and they will still do that in the future. But as long as there are audiences out there for content you prefer, you will find offerings of such content now and in the future.

#16 Posted by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

@truthtellah: Why will that happen with consoles when it didn't happen with mobile games? I won't even discuss the Vita which likely had poor sales becuase it's in free fall right now, but the 3DS is down year over year and it is a fairly new platform while Android and iOS are both growing. I will mention that there were 2 3ds games in the top 10, but that's more because nothing else sold anything last month and not really because they did exceptionally well.

#17 Posted by Undeadpool (4913 posts) -

Do we need saving or are they not taking digital sales into consideration? I remember Prototype 2 being held up as evidence of a GAME INDUSTRY CRASH OH NOOOOOO!!! because it was a massive sales drop the month it came out VS the previous year...despite the fact that it was the week after Trials HD broke a sales record and then Minecraft broke it AGAIN the week after.

I'd be curious if it's that sales are down, or if it's just that they're not taking downloads into account.

#18 Posted by TruthTellah (8552 posts) -

@skytylz: Not sure what you mean. I'm talking about types of games. Platforms will continue to change, but types of games will ebb and flow depending on what people want to play. If one has a very narrow vision of what gaming can be, I can see why an expansion of that concept and its audience might frighten them, but now is a pretty good time for gaming. And there's reason to believe the future will be rather interesting, as well. More than at any time before, I'm seeing more options for the kinds of games I like, and it seems like I can find them on even more platforms. Gaming may be changing, as it always has been, but as long as you and others want certain types of games, there will be skilled people who share that sentiment and want to make more of those types of games for you to enjoy. :)

#19 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Seems weird to care about NPDs if you're not actually employed in the industry.

#20 Edited by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

@truthtellah: Fair enough, but I feel that the vast majority of games are going to end up being free to play stuff and mobile games, which usually aren't the best delivery methods for the types of games I traditionally enjoy.

@ravenlight: I like video games, big and small. The big ones only tend to get made when they make money. If things sell poorly, big games I like don't get made.

#21 Posted by TruthTellah (8552 posts) -

@skytylz: Maybe one day, but by then, you'll probably prefer it that way. ha. Things change. But a big shift like that is gonna take a while if it happens. Even if the monetization might be different, there will still be different types of games for those who want them.

#22 Edited by Marokai (2811 posts) -

This generation went on for way too long, technology and creativity has largely stagnated, all of the excitement is placed on the horizon for the Ps4 and Durango, and there just aren't that many games coming out right now. All of those are good reasons to take some comfort. The Wii U is also it's own special little problem. Not all is going poorly; the 3DS is doing great and for the right reasons.

But if the gaming industry does shrink a bit.. that's okay. Things aren't going to be this grim for much longer, but I strongly doubt any of the three console manufacturers will match their previous generation numbers, and that doesn't mean this industry is going away. Industries do this all the time; the television industry shrank and readjusted itself, music after the 90s basically took the better part of a decade roughly restructuring, and video games will follow a similar path. But television shows are still here and so is music. It's okay for an industry to become a little smaller.

#23 Edited by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

Every game I bought in April was through PSN, including Injustice, Guacamelee and Soul Sacrifice. Maybe a significat number of gamers are like me and prefer to buy the digital versions of games. I am sure that is at least partially responsible.

#24 Posted by zoozilla (978 posts) -

@mosespippy: I wonder how much those consoles cost to make now? Could they really only need 50-100 bucks each to manufacture?

#25 Posted by GorillaMoPena (1943 posts) -

The bubble has burst!

MOVE ALL YOUR MONEY INTO POGS

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#26 Edited by villainy (538 posts) -

Do the NPDs still exclude most/all digital distribution? If so then those numbers will continue to trend downward regardless of the actual state of the market until they become completely meaningless.

#27 Edited by Elwoodan (764 posts) -

If I recall correctly the NPD doesn't do a very good job of reporting on digital sales (software) and at this point I would be surprised if XBOX sales weren't down from last year, there are a finite amount of households and, regardless of price drops, sooner or later your going to get diminishing returns. PC also seems to be seeing a boom right now, the indie scene is huge, and with consoles now preforming worse than even mid-low end PCs its not a leap of logic to think that some people are grabbing steam copies of multiplatform games, rather than running out to a retailer for a console copy.

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#28 Edited by Mrsignerman44 (1100 posts) -

The next gen won't save us immediately, but once each console gets their flagship titles I anticipate a big burst in sales.

#29 Edited by maskedarcstrike (701 posts) -

@skytylz said:

@mosespippy: It's ridiculous how stagnant prices have been this gen. We've been at $250/$300 for like 3 or 4 years right?

I think that console software prices for multi platform games should be included in this as well for new titles. I don't have a desktop that can run current AAA games on high settings. But I don't want to pay more or the same for a console version with inferior graphics. I want Metro:Last Light but I don't want to spend 60 bucks for a graphically inferior version on consoles, especially when it's 10 buck less on Steam. Publishers should have really considered lowering the price of console versions to stay competitive with PC ports. It's really dumb how the industry shoots itself in the foot with this crap.

Even when next gen consoles arrive I think that publishers should consider lower prices on the console versions of multi platform games, especially single player games. Otherwise a chunk of money is lost from consumers who will either wait for a Steam sale thinking they might have a PC to play it when the price drops or an Amazon sale for the console version.

However this is a great time for lower priced downloadable titles. People still want to play new games and if the game looks fun at a $15 price tag then consumers will jump on it.

#30 Posted by Slag (4035 posts) -

Every game I bought in April was through PSN, including Injustice, Guacamelee and Soul Sacrifice. Maybe a significat number of gamers are like me and prefer to buy the digital versions of games. I am sure that is at least partially responsible.

^This

until digital numbers are properly accounted for We really have no idea what is actually happening. NPD numbers are almost worthless now.

#31 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6386 posts) -

Do we need saving or are they not taking digital sales into consideration? I remember Prototype 2 being held up as evidence of a GAME INDUSTRY CRASH OH NOOOOOO!!! because it was a massive sales drop the month it came out VS the previous year...despite the fact that it was the week after Trials HD broke a sales record and then Minecraft broke it AGAIN the week after.

I'd be curious if it's that sales are down, or if it's just that they're not taking downloads into account.

I believe it was spoken of as more of a symbolic shift from the mid-tier games doing fine in the past, and not indicative of a crash in the entire gaming industry itself.

Also, that game is awesome and the fact that it sold poorly was a huge bummer.

#32 Posted by gaminghooligan (1418 posts) -

Do these factor in mobile game sales? Like I-phone and Android games? I know they are smaller titles, but it seems like a lot of kids are playing games on their phones/parents phone/tablet. Which leads me to wonder if they will really care about getting the hot new game console. Of course I have no idea, just a weird trend I've started noticing. Right now I think the current gen has grown so stagnate and the games are looking so dated that the new consoles even coming close to that high-end PC performance will bring sales.

#33 Posted by BaconGames (3295 posts) -

I thought the common talk around the water cooler is that NPD is bad data for this stuff? NPD is only really good for tracking boxed copy sales of games from certain retailers in the US (maybe North America, don't know). In a gaming world immersed in subscription services, digital distribution, DLC, trading card systems, smartphones/tablets, and the lot, I imagine a lot of the new revenue coming in for game companies is not being tracked by the NPD. In fact, most game sale data is damn near wholly proprietary and I'm pretty sure NPD only acted as the middle man between retailers and publishers for the data when it was more relevant anyway.

Also, I wouldn't trust year over year console sale percentages outside the context of the number we're into the 360's lifecycle. Honestly, that it sold more than 130,000 units so far this year seems high. Whether next-gen will "save us" from the slump, I don't think games are bigger than the economic trends its being affected by right now. What the next-gen will bring is a new round of early adopter excitement which will drive capital investment in AAA titles. That investment will create the market demand and infrastructure for new consoles to sell but I'm behind Patrick's assessment. The WiiU while likely to do worse than it's competitors, is not enjoying a sales experience wholly outside the realm of what Sony and MS will have this fall.

#34 Edited by AiurFlux (901 posts) -

Fact is that we're in the middle of a recession that isn't going away because the assholes in the US government in the Senate, Congress, and Obama himself can't get their shitty act together, so people might not have much money to buy luxuries. Then add on the fact that the generation is dying down and people are probably saving their money for the next hardware, that NPD doesn't track digital sales (I think) because they're fucking stupid (that statement still stands), and that maybe just maybe people are getting sick of some of the bullshit game companies are doing. Stagnation does occur at some point given how everything fits into this respawn loadout perk mold now, and it's most certainly not helped by some of these companies coming hat in hand time after time for more money because of held back content.

They sky isn't falling, but I honestly do believe we need another crash to teach some of these people a lesson. They are, at times, taking blatant advantage of their customers in ways that wouldn't fly in any other entertainment medium solely because they view us as children that don't know better. And they're starting to learn that we know much more than just better.

#35 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

More expensive machines coming out isn't going to save anything.

The average person ain't going to buy a machine because the games look a bit better. And all of those PS4 demos were indeed only a bit better than the current gen, the tech demos were nice but the games on display were not very impressive at all, especially if you're used to PC gaming.

#36 Edited by Kosayn (452 posts) -

Next Gen will be okay. This decline in game sales represents consumers not being stupid for once. When new consoles hit, they will be major expenses for many gamers, and all the old stuff goes on clearance. $60 is a ridiculous amount to pay for any video game right now. That's why they always try to keep new consoles quiet till the last possible moment. Knowing new, exciting stuff is coming cannibalizes sales.

I mean, despite the general problems, Sony is making money this year. And PS4's looking promising. I've never bought a console day 1, but this time I'm considering it.

Microsoft still sells a ridiculous amount of 360s, considering how weak their first party stuff and XBLA has become. They can obviously market - the Kinect has had about as many good games associated with it as the Power Glove, and it didn't matter.

Nintendo have money to burn. And tell me people won't buy the shit out of some HD Mario and Zelda after waiting so long. They've been training new long-term fans from each generation of kid more consistently than their two opponents - for twice as long. They should have waited and gotten closer to hardware parity with WiiU, but I really doubt they're done selling toys to kids at Christmas.

So some 3rd party publishers are folding, so what? Nobody really cared about Acclaim or Atari dying during the PS2/Xbox transition, because they weren't selling competitive, modern games on the hardware anymore. New publishers and new developers will turn up.

Steam and smartphone gaming is slowly growing, but I don't see any new thing about to arrive that would make them suddenly take over. Both of those services are more about maintenance.

#37 Posted by zels (204 posts) -

Compare the games that were realeased in Apr 2012 vs 2013 and you'll see why the numbers are lower.

H/W sales will keep falling until the release of the new consoles too.

@skytylz said:

So, this begs the question of whether or not next gen will save us or if all consoles will suffer fates similar to the Wii U? Maybe not as severe as the Wii U, but I doubt they will perform up to MS and Sony's expectations.

what?

#38 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

I'm not convinced it's entirely a hardware issue, though that certainly hasn't helped. If next gen just offers more of the same but a bit better looking then this trend is going to continue. The pace of game design innovation (at least in games with a reasonable budget) has slowed to a crawl over the course of this gen, for a lot of reasons. If they keep releasing the same three games over and over again with a different name on the box, eventually people are going to notice that and stop buying.

The new consoles have to be made to feel like they are going to be fresh and exciting and end this stagnation. If they're pushed as just a continuation of this cycle then I don't think it's going to go at all well.

#39 Edited by Time_Lord (714 posts) -

The Wii U is tanking because unless you like Nintendo there are no games for it that aren't on other systems. I think Sony and hopefully Microsoft will learn from this and have a bunch of Killer Apps on launch. If infamous, watch dogs and kill zone 4? Aren't launch titles then Sony stuffed up. I also think that Gran Tursiomo 6 should have been a PS4 launch title but that's just me.

#40 Posted by Marcsman (3120 posts) -

Exactly what was released that was going to post big numbers? April is always slow. No big deal. Chill and go play outside

#41 Posted by yinstarrunner (1182 posts) -

@jimbo said:

I'm not convinced it's entirely a hardware issue, though that certainly hasn't helped. If next gen just offers more of the same but a bit better looking then this trend is going to continue. The pace of game design innovation (at least in games with a reasonable budget) has slowed to a crawl over the course of this gen, for a lot of reasons. If they keep releasing the same three games over and over again with a different name on the box, eventually people are going to notice that and stop buying.

The new consoles have to be made to feel like they are going to be fresh and exciting and end this stagnation. If they're pushed as just a continuation of this cycle then I don't think it's going to go at all well.

I agree completely. Everyone I know who plays video games, from the most hardcore to the most casual, is buying and playing less and less videogames, and instead putting more time towards productive things. They're pretty much excited for Battlefield 4... and that's about it. Some of that could be chalked up to getting older, but I have a feeling its more than that. I think people are burnt out on the "cinematic experience."

I really hope we experience some innovation soon. The narrative elements of video games aren't strong enough to save them from stagnating gameplay, like some people think. They aren't movies, they're games. 90% of the time is spend actually playing them. We need more unique experiences.

#42 Edited by EXTomar (4506 posts) -

Lets frame it this way: It has been 8 some years for some where in that time a lot of life can change. What exactly in some new box from anyone is going to make them rush back to play console games they have no time for any more? I suspect the answer is "nothing". They've moved on where another new box isn't going to bring them back.

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#43 Edited by Nezza (334 posts) -

Why would anyone be surprised at console sales going down this far into their lifecycle? At 8 years in the only people that are going to be purchasing are new adults or people who wanted one earlier but whose circumstances didn't allow it.

Plus a great many peoples financial status has changed from the point where a £40 software purchase is no longer an easily affordable luxury any more. Which in itself doesn't bode well if the marketing departments for Sony/Microsoft are expecting record breaking console sales right out of the gate.

#44 Edited by Baltimore (264 posts) -

NPD numbers aren't so hot but we need to remember that they don't represent the full picture of the games industry. They do not count digital sales at all. Nada. They only follow new packaged goods. So that is a major factor excluded. Also, there are a lot of companies that does report to NPD. So those numbers don't get added in either.

Overall, yes, we are seeing a loss in sales year over year. The economy still sucks no matter what anyone says. Unemployment is still very high, wage growth is stagnant but the bills keep going up. So there just isn't enough money to go spend on games. Also, free/cheap games are eating a massive chunk of the pie as well. Hell, GungHo (makers of Puzzles and Dragons) now has a market cap greater than Nintendo and in April alone they made $119 million on the back of one mobile game.

As it has already been stated, then console generation has gone on far to long. Devs are just churning out the same experiences over and over again so the average gamers are getting bored. Will the next generation fix this? I don't know, but I assure you that they have taken notice of the mobile trend and will most likely have a lot more free-to-play games on those systems.

Here's hoping the next gen shakes things up a bit because if it doesn't, there will be a whole world of hurt of the industry as a whole.

#45 Edited by Tom_Scherschel (120 posts) -

Console sales are slowing because we are in year eight of this cycle and prices aren't dropping fast enough, so for now most people who want these systems have them. When the new consoles launch they are going to have to compete for a smaller pool of available dollars, but I think that Sony is making interesting moves that should guarantee respectable sales at launch (no idea about Xbox since they haven't said anything yet). Mobile devices biting into the console and handheld market is a good thing, long term, as it increases competition.

I get that these NPD numbers combined with the Wii U launch could seem frightening, but you have to keep in mind how long this generation has lasted and that the Wii U is a disaster completely of Nintendo's making.

#46 Edited by Veektarius (4619 posts) -

I can really only imagine two kinds of people who are buying consoles right now, people replacing broken boxes and parents whose kids have just gotten old enough to enjoy video games (but who do not play them themselves). When you consider people who might hold out on either of these motives to wait for the next gen as it approaches, a few hundred thousand units per month seems like the most one can hope for.

Edit: I would also totally buy a PS3 if it dropped to $150.

#47 Edited by Nictel (2380 posts) -

Money is scarse, I wouldn't count on it

#48 Posted by Salarn (463 posts) -

@skytylz said:

April sales results for North America have been released by NPD group and things look like shit. Software sales are down 25% from last year according to a Gamespot tweet

NPD doesn't count any digital sales, which means the NPD numbers are worth almost nothing.

#49 Posted by Skytylz (4030 posts) -

@zels: I'm assuming Sony and MS are planning on their next consoles doing well. Why else would they make them? I'm just not sure they will.

The Wii U is tanking because unless you like Nintendo there are no games for it that aren't on other systems. I think Sony and hopefully Microsoft will learn from this and have a bunch of Killer Apps on launch. If infamous, watch dogs and kill zone 4? Aren't launch titles then Sony stuffed up. I also think that Gran Tursiomo 6 should have been a PS4 launch title but that's just me.

I am of similar feeling that having GT 6 releasing at launch but for the wrong console is going to hurt Sony, especially in Europe.

@salarn I know it doesn't count digital sales, but I doubt they went up enough from last year to make up the difference. NPD still gives us a good thermometer on how stuff is selling since it's all we really get.

#50 Posted by Salarn (463 posts) -

@skytylz: The NDP also doesn't count any iOS, Android, F2P, DLC, Micro-transactions, etc...

Boxed sales are shrinking, it's a close analogy to how iTunes changed the way music was consumed, does that mean anything to the whole of video games? Probably not.