The month of January represented a 34 percent year-over-year decrease for the Video Games industry, as combined software, hardware and accessory sales dropped from $1.14 billion in January 2011 to $750.6 million this year. According to Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter, January 2012 sales are lower than those of January 2004.
“January retail performance experienced steep declines with a lack of software launches, and poor Hardware and Accessory performance partly related to bad comps from Kinect-related success in Jan’11,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan.
“Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other ways to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $350 – $400 million in sales. Our final quarterly estimate of the Q1 2012 consumer spend in these areas will be released in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S.,” he added.
On the software front, sales fell a massive 99 percent compared to 2011. One of the contributing factors, according to Callahan, “was the lack of new launches.”
“New Launches in January ’11 represented 13% of dollar sales and new launch performance dropped 99% in Jan’12. Games like Dead Space 2, Little Big Planet 2, and DC Universe Online ranked within the top ten last year, making for a poor comparison in January ’12 where there were no major releases.”
While the lack of new launches was a major reason for software declines, games which launched in Q4’11 also performed poorly in Jan’12, down 31% in units compared to Q4’10 launches in Jan’11. As shoppers were not drawn to stores due to new launch activity, this potentially impacted additional software purchases made on impulse.”
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 lead the way, placing number 1 for the third consecutive month, and while Battlefield 3 managed to hold the fifth position, it was Skyrim that posed a real challenge to Activision’s juggernaut, as it came in second place.
The Full Quencher
1 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PC, PS3, Wii, X360)
2 – Just Dance 3 (Wii, X360)
3 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC, PS3, X360)
4 – NBA 2K12 (PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360)
5 – Battlefield 3 (PC, PS3, X360)
6 – Madden NFL 12 (PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360)
7 – Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
8 – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures (3DS, PC, PS3, Wii, X360)
9 – Zumba Fitness 2: Party Yourself (Wii)
10 – Saints Row: The Third (PC, PS3, X360)
Microsoft made known that its Xbox 360 moved 270,000 units in Janaury, a 29 percent year-on-year decrease. Redmond also claimed it held a 49 percent console market share in the U.S. for January, putting combined sales of PS3, Wii and 3DS at about 270,000 units sold.
This marks the thirteenth consecutive month that Xbox 360 has outperformed all its competitors in January, and has been the bestselling platform six months straight.
“Historically, after several years in the console lifecycle there is a softening of demand, but Xbox 360 continues to defy that convention. Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the lifecycle of the console by re-imagining entertainment and delivering new technologies like Kinect for Xbox 360, a new Xbox dashboard, and new entertainment content partners in 2011,” MS said in a statement.
“In 2012, Xbox 360 will again launch blockbuster games, including additions to the famed Halo and Fable franchises. The more than 50 Xbox LIVE entertainment partners will continue to expand with many more launching this year. Xbox 360 will also launch entirely new ways to interact with favorite television shows with groundbreaking experiences like Kinect Sesame Street TV and Nat Geo TV, forever changing the way people interact with entertainment.”
Sony didn’t brag about much this month, only stating: “Following a strong December at retail, PlayStation continued the momentum in January through multi-retailer promotions such as ‘Play Days’ where we saw a 2x lift over forecast in peripheral sales and solid results for the PlayStation 3.
February will be a landmark month for PlayStation and the gaming industry with the launch of PlayStation Vita on February 22. Pre-order sales for PS Vita and the launch lineup of 25 titles continue to accelerate as more consumers seek the ultimate in handheld gameplay.” – Sony senior corporate communication’s director Patrick Seybold.