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US Videogame Sales Have Biggest Drop In 9 Years

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-RPGs-be-the-food-of-love-play-on dept.

Businesses 310

alphadogg writes "The recession appears to have finally caught up with the video game market. Sales of video game hardware and software were down by around one-third in June compared to the same month last year. After initially showing positive growth as the US slid into recession, the latest figures mark the fourth month of declines and the largest year-on-year decline in almost 9 years. 'The first half of the year has been tough largely due to comparisons against a stellar first half performance last year, but still, this level of decline is certainly going to cause some pain and reflection in the industry,' said Anita Frazier, a games analyst with NPD Group. She added, 'The size of the decline could also point to consumers deferring limited discretionary spending until a big event (must-have new title, hardware price cut) compels them to spend.' The entire video game market in the US was worth $1.2 billion in June, down 31 percent from the same period last year, according to NPD Group."

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310 comments

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No good games (5, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730139)

June was a dry month for video gaming. Not many good games were released (except for Infamous).

Re:No good games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730165)

And Plants vs Zombies

Re:No good games (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730773)

PvZ was awesome. Loved that game.

Re:No good games (4, Insightful)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730171)

Yeah, after reading the summary I though, If the video game industry needs sales of crap in order to be profitable, maybe the lesson should be make better games.

Also, they should look further than the current economic situation. It is getting too easy for people to site that as the cause for decline.

Re:No good games (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730465)

If the video game industry needs sales of crap in order to be profitable, maybe the lesson should be make better games.

Actually, the good games don't sell that well. Hence the pile of crap on the market.

Re:No good games (5, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730561)

Same-month sales in videogames is a useless statistic. If there's a new WoW expansion, new Call of Duty, new Valve shooter title, new SSB, new Halo, etc. titles released in one month, its obvious the next year same month will be down, probably 50-80%. They must account for the games released during that time. This past June had no significant releases, so it makes sense sales would be down. This is not (necessarily) evidence of a recession. More info is needed.

Re:No good games (5, Insightful)

SlashJoel (1145871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730853)

They must account for the games released during that time.

Precisely. And what was released on June 12, 2008? Metal Gear Solid 4.

Re:No good games (2, Interesting)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730861)

Same-month sales in videogames is a useless statistic.

True. Good statistical analysis has in large part - at least in popular media - yielded to sensational headlines and talking heads.

An interesting study would be to compare video game release and sales figures (FPS, RPG, online, 'thinking games' like Portal, etc.) with the development of image rendering techniques, hardware advances, and anything else with a supposed effect on video game production or sales.

Re:No good games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730587)

Agreed. Shitty Games + Shitty Ports + (Expensive Hardware * Greater Failure Rate) + A Dash of crappy backwards compatibility; is exactly what I'm looking for.

Re:No good games (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730711)

Perhaps lessons of the past haven't born the changes in the industry that they ought to have. I'm looking at you, Atari 2600 Pacman and E.T. The Extraterrestrial!!!

Careful what you wish for (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730723)

Looking further would invariably produce "it's the pesky pirates".

It's a very human trait to look for the culprit outside of oneself. I.e. it's pirates. Not that I make sequels of games nobody wanted in the first place or that customers don't accept the rental system (aka SecuRom) DRM.

Produce games that people want and stop including crippling DRM that people loathe and they will buy. I just recently bought a few old games for a total of less than 50 bucks. Yes, on Steam, and yes, it's a bit hypocritical to rant about rented games when buying from Steam. But Steam offers pretty much what I want at the "price" of having it tied to my account. I can accept that. That's about as much DRM as I can live with. I don't resell games. But I expect my games to work whenever and however I want them to. Steam offers that.

Gimme what I want and I'll buy. Don't and I won't. Simple as that.

Re:No good games (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730185)

Nah, I'm sure there's been at least some decrease in impulse buying, even by people with no reason to worry beyond "the economy is bad."

Re:No good games (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730207)

Just June? My GameFly queue was empty for about 4 months. June is when they started releasing games I'd play again!

Re:No good games (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730219)

Yeah there hasn't been anything good out for a while.

Re:No good games (1)

burr101 (1301459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730451)

Aion Beta this weekend. That's coming out!

Re:No good games (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730621)

Sorry Games Industry, but I'm all set right now. I've got a list of games I'm waiting on, but the only thing released recently that I want is Ghostbusters (and it's not a "must-have on launch day" purchase).

* Ghostbusters (Not worth the full price to me right now)
* TIger Woods 10 for Wii (weather is nice, I'm playing real golf, thanks)

...and I'm waiting on
* Rock Band Beatles
* Metroid Prime Trilogy special edition (Yes, I'll gladly rebuy games I already own with the Wii controls)
* Scribblenauts DS (This, I'll buy on launch day!)

Re:No good games (-1, Troll)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730663)

wow first post was dead on. Games have gone from "made for quality" to "made for quantity/filler/gametime", especially this year it's become more prominent. Is this supposed to be a surprise?

Surprisingly Level Headed Analysis (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730175)

Well, I'm glad to see someone's correlating a drop in sales with the recession. If the history of the MPAA/RIAA is any indication, the game industry will claim OMG Piratez! and ask congress to pass whatever bill they want to make it punishable by death to pirate a game.

Re:Surprisingly Level Headed Analysis (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730443)

Movie and music piracy CAUSED the recession! Video game piracy is now contributing, and soon the entire economy will collapse and we'll all be reduced to cannibalism to survive and it's all YOUR fault, you filthy pirate! This is precisely why Congress needs to pass strong anti-piracy legislation, to include death as a punishment for severe cases and the chopping off of thumbs for less severe (5 or fewer minutes of copyrighted material stolen) cases.

Sure, you might not consider piracy to be that big of a deal, but you'll change your tune when you're sitting around the burnt out husk of your home surrounded by a post-apocalyptic hellscape, stomach rumbling like crazy because you finished off the last of Aunt Sally 3 days ago and the rest of the family was eaten by a roving band of zombie werewolves. Maybe then you'll recognize the error of your ways...but I doubt it.

What a Game! (5, Interesting)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730835)

They should make a game of your post.

Re:Surprisingly Level Headed Analysis (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730841)

Sure, you might not consider piracy to be that big of a deal, but you'll change your tune when you're sitting around the burnt out husk of your home surrounded by a post-apocalyptic hellscape, stomach rumbling like crazy because you finished off the last of Aunt Sally 3 days ago and the rest of the family was eaten by a roving band of zombie werewolves

You know that the average geek would find that scenario quite cool, if you tried to convince people to stay away from copying, I think this isn't how you should describe it. Maybe say something like "And if you continue copying, you'll soon live with a wife and kids in a suburb and have no time for computers anymore".

That should scare the pants off them!

Queue "Piracy" reasoning (3, Insightful)

XenoPhage (242134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730177)

Watch.. this will turn into a big "See? Piracy is ruining the gaming business" blamefest... It's easier to blame piracy rather than crappy game design.. Of course, I'm sure the economy is playing a part as well. Although, from what I've read, people are reluctant to give up their hobbies, even in the face of a bad economy.

Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730227)

Gaming doesn't actually require a steady stream of new materials - you can go back to old games, if you're willing to trade slightly more boredom for saving money.

Or wait a few extra days and get your games from Gamefly instead of buying them.

Old games FTW (2, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730415)

I agree that the piracy card will be played and that we'll see some more fire aimed at Gamestop and that darned used games market. I find myself playing some old games right now... Grand Theft Auto III, Aerobiz Supersonic and Third World War. Pedantic... but the word you want is "cue". I don't understand why this is confusing... these words are not homophones. I suppose it all boils down to overthinking while typing.

Re:Old games FTW (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730647)

Offtopic, but "cue" and "queue" are, in fact, homophones.

Re:Old games FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730755)

Shitty catch phrases FTW EPIC LOL ROFL

Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730849)

Going back to old games won't change the sales though. Old games generally = used sales which = no sales going back to the publishers and developers

It's "CUE" you dumbfuck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730277)

Stop trying so hard. The word with the obvious spelling is the right choice.

captcha: souped

Re:It's "CUE" you dumbfuck (2, Funny)

XenoPhage (242134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730401)

Stop trying so hard. The word with the obvious spelling is the right choice.

captcha: souped

Sorry to offend your sensibilities. I blame way too much network tuning and programming.

Re:It's "CUE" you dumbfuck (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730803)

Stop trying so hard. The word with the obvious spelling is the right choice.

captcha: souped

Nah, there are just so many idiots making the "Piracy is killing our bottom line" excuse that we've decided to make them stand in line.

Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (3, Insightful)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730289)

I was just about to say the same thing. Then They'll use it for further argument to fuel their DRM plans, further destroying business.

Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (2, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730375)

To be honest, I don't think piracy is necessarily to blame here. Sure, there are plenty of pirated games out there, but downloading the torrents, installing them, running the cracks, and other stuff, isn't quite as straightforward as downloading a torrent of 15-20 songs on a CD and loading them into iTunes (or whatever you use). The only game I've ever actually "pirated" is Civilization IV, but that's only because the CD that I legitimately purchased got worn out, and I didn't want to deal with the hassle and bureaucracy of replacing it. So I just downloaded a new one. I wouldn't exactly call that real and true "piracy".

I think the real problem is that the game content has just gotten old, repetitive, and has lost its "wow factor". I mean, when Doom and Quake came out in the 90s, we were amazed at the graphics, and the levels, and searching for stuff, and blowing up monsters. But that sort of shoot-em-up mantra gets old after awhile. Plus, we've been promised a hugely awesome Duke Nukem Forever game, and they've hyped that like crazy every 2-3 years, for the past 15 years,... and we've still seen nothing. So if they can't figure out why their sales are dropping, I got nothin' for 'em!

Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (1)

XenoPhage (242134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730617)

I completely agree, thus my post.. Typically these types of reports turn into blamefests about piracy and those damn kids and whatnot.. In reality, the economy sucks and there just aren't that many truly decent games coming out.

I miss the days of shareware when you could try a game before buying it. Nowadays, you spend $40-$60 on a new game for your shiny console and if you hate it, you're pretty much screwed. Most places have a no exchange policy, so the only real alternative is to sell it used. GameStop will be happy to give you $10 for that $60 game you bought 5 minutes ago...

In the end, I find myself having a problem justifying buying any game I haven't directly played. So, I end up not buying any. This is probably a very good thing for my wallet, but not such a great thing for game developers. :)

Re:Queue "Piracy" reasoning (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730827)

I rent games before I buy them. My library has an extensive collection that loans out games for free.

yeah... (5, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730199)

Money's tight. And honestly, I'm sick of seeing games priced at $59.99. I can wait until they hit ~$30 and buy them then. I'm long past the time when I HAD to have a game as soon as it releases.

So yeah. Lower the price of the games at initial launch, you'll make more sales....IMNHAAO (in my not humble at all opinion)

Re:yeah... (5, Insightful)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730341)

No kidding.

I used to regularly grab the must-have new release the day it hit shelves. Once they started passing my self imposed $50 mental barrier, I stopped.

I just can not physically bring myself to spend so much. I'd rather grab 4 used games from last year for the same total price.

I mean really, at the end of the day, they are just pushing gamers to Half.com, eBay, Gamestop, Amazon, and other used game outlets.

Where the publisher could potentially sell two copies at release for a slightly lower price ($39.99-$49.99 is a lot more attractive than $59.99+), they only sell one copy and then the re-seller retail stores take the profits from there for many years to come.

Re:yeah... (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730515)

You're ahead of the curve, for now. The only way your used games make it to GS is if someone buys it in the first place. As less people buy them new, less will appear as used, making them more in demand and raising their used price value. It took gta like 6 months before the used price in GS was cheaper than I could get it at Costco. You'll start to see this trend continue and extend.

Re:yeah... (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730795)

It also seems to depend on the popularity of the game. GS always had a ton of copies of Gears of War, but I didn't see their used copies drop below $50 until the month GoW2 came out (which is foolish, really, because at that point I just bought GoW2 instead, which is a smaller profit margin for GS).

Re:yeah... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730899)

It took gta like 6 months before the used price in GS was cheaper than I could get it at Costco. You'll start to see this trend continue and extend.

Continue, extend, and reverse. Either gamestop will have to eat a hit against their 500% margin on used games and offer more, or go kablooey.

As less and less people buy games at $60, waiting for price drops, they will probably push back against said price drops, keeping the game at brand-spanking-new prices longer. If enough people don't get tired of waiting, they'll just sell even fewer games. The obvious conclusions are that they'll either drop new release prices, or slowly bleed to death.

Since they haven't shown that much intelligence or foresight to date, I'm inclined to think the latter is more likely.

Not that I care. My current collection of Western and J-RPGs ranging back to the SNES has enough playtime in it to keep me in games for the next 30 years.

Re:yeah... (2, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730397)

Heh, I wait till Newegg or GoGamer has them for $25 or less or if Impuse has a good sale..

Re:yeah... (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730609)

I browse the Steam weekend deals. Usually once a month there's something worth buying for $10-$20 and I never have to worry about losing the disc (Half-Life 1 + Blue Shift - where hath you gone?) as long as the Steam servers don't roll over one day.

Re:yeah... (1)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730517)

If money is an issue, why not buy the game new, play it through, then sell it for half the price? That way you won't pay too much, you'll give someone else the pleasure of playing the game (for fraction of the cost), and you won't have piles of games cases lying around.

Steam (1)

Piata (927858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730537)

I've started buying all my games off Steam for precisely this reason. I've picked up:

  • Left 4 Dead for $45. I've played it a lot but wasn't worth the money considering L4D2 is right around the corner and L4D lacks content.
  • Empire: Total War for $25. I haven't played it much but it was definitely worth the $25.
  • Dawn of War II for $25 and I've played it a lot, probably worth more than $25 which means I'll be much more likely to pick up an expansion should it come along.
  • Fallout 3 for $40. This game gets a lot of mileage, so it's worth the money imo. The DLC, not so much.

I've actually stopped buying games for my Wii because I don't want to shell out $50 for something I may or may not like. There are a lot of games out there and price is the biggest deterrent from trying something new unfortunately and Steam seems to be the only place to get new games at reasonable prices.

Re:yeah... (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730815)

Well only console games are priced so high, pc games cost less!

chat (-1, Offtopic)

chatsohbet (1600061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730209)

your website very quality http://www.sohbetbox.net/ [sohbetbox.net]

Re:chat (0)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730271)

Hey look everyone! It's a spammer! Be sure to point and laugh before this is modded to oblivion!

Re:chat (0, Offtopic)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730645)

A logged in account and everything. I'll be sure to enemy it in case it comes up again while I have mod points.

Re:chat (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730409)

"The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression."

I don't think I've ever seen that web error.

Buying used games? (4, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730223)

I don't believe NPD keeps track of used game sales, and a lot of gamers will be turning to Gamestop, Ebay, and Amazon to pick up used games there instead of buying them new. I've personally been buying more used and even selling a bit of my collection as there seems to be a lot of buyers out there (and of course, more sellers).

Games are too expensive to keep buying new. I let the suckers do that for me.

Re:Buying used games? (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730293)

Irrelevent to the article, which is the the game industry revenue is down.

Re:Buying used games? (5, Insightful)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730441)

Irrelevent to the article, which is the the game industry revenue is down.

It's actually extremely relevent. If the game companies are selling less total copies because gamers are turning to used game outlets due to the ridiculous price of new releases, they are going to see hits to their bottom line.

Is that the only reason for the sales decline? No. Of course not. But it is definitely a contributing factor and one of prime concern for game makers [sfgate.com] .

Why I don't buy video games (5, Interesting)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730225)

I realize that the issues are probably mostly economic (lack of capital both to produce and buy games), but here's my spiel: I just don't see the point. First of all, the games shouldn't be that expensive to produce. At >$50 a pop, if I find that I don't like it, it's just a waste of money. Maybe if prices came down, I'd experiment more. But now, I'm more than happy to buy games that are a few years old to save $20 when I know that I'm only going to play it for a month or so.

Second of all, what good games have come out recently? I realize that it's a hugely subjective topic (I recall a topic on Slashdot a few weeks ago on graphics and video games), but honestly, all I want in a game is good gameplay and a nice multiplayer environment. And all my friends play nothing but Melee, I don't see why I'd bother playing anything else. That's how it usually ends up anyways; no matter how many games I have, Ijust end up playing one over and over again while the others gather dust. So why bother buying?

And to add to the cost, so many consoles (especially the Wii) require buying extra peripherals, which will also end up going to the wayside. It's just not worth it anymore.

Re:Why I don't buy video games (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730317)

TF2

Re:Why I don't buy video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730499)

Can you host games on TF2?

I almost bought it, but I didn't because the game is worthless to me, if there are no local~ish servers.

Re:Why I don't buy video games (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730651)

Yeah, you can. The game is lag compensated so even if your ping is 130 you're still competitive. I've seen people play spy on laggy computers with a terrible connection and still get kills. They weren't at the top of the scoreboard, but we were all having fun (it's hard to not have fun playing TF2)

Re:Why I don't buy video games (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730569)

Good recent games... or somewhat recent... Fallout 3, Gears of War 2... umm... Call of Duty whatever it's up to now... 4 or 5...

Horde in GOW2 is a lot of fun online. 50 waves of enemies against you and a few buddies. If you get a good team it's great.

Games are obviously too cheap (5, Funny)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730233)

How long before they raise prices to $70-80 and up? I mean, it's obviously the best, no, the only way to make more money. Oh yes. The only way indeed.

Re:Games are obviously too cheap (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730529)

Well, to be fair I remember paying $50 or $60 for new SNES games, and that was 15 years ago. If prices had kept up with general inflation, games would be costing $80-90 a pop today. I certainly don't complain about $60 for a game that I genuinely want, and if I'm not sure then I wait for the price to drop or rent/borrow/demo it first.

Re:Games are obviously too cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730533)

It's already started. The UK CoD6 is going to be listed at 55 UKP for the standard edition, that's almost $90 at today's exchange rate! They're blaming the exchange rate, but that's bogus. 1.6:1 is pretty good from UK's perspective, and that's ignoring their crystal ball predictions. The game isn't out until the holiday season.

Re:Games are obviously too cheap (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730649)

10 years ago the price was $70-80 for a game if not more. If I hadn't tossed the boxes for some of the games I had from back then I'd scan them. Some games like like Independence War, MechWarrior(1-4), BG/BG2 PS:Torment and the like you'd see a sticker price of $69.99-78.99

That's easy.... (5, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730241)

Most of the games that are coming out, suck.

Plain and simple. The problem with developers is that they are confusing great technology with great games. They can go hand in hand, but largely speaking -- games need story, innovation, depth. I played Defcon a few years back and was amazed at what innovation was put into such a small game.

Too bad the only thing developers do is give us some form of a shooter lately, and change the graphics and call it amazing. Bioshock had a good story, but that was like 2 years ago already.

Re:That's easy.... (4, Insightful)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730615)

Most of the games that are coming out, suck. Plain and simple. The problem with developers is that they are confusing great technology with great games. They can go hand in hand, but largely speaking -- games need story, innovation, depth.

I'd like to disagree - but I can't. I definitely consider myself a gamer, but many of the games that have come out recently just aren't that compelling.

  • Tomb Raider Underworld? Not that interesting - and too short, even though they helpfully added extra rooms just to give you something to traverse.
  • I thought Mirror's Edge would be more awesome than it is. Oh, it's a very pretty game, visually amazing, with great FPS platforming. Unfortunately, most of the platforming requires 100% perfect timing. Repeated failures just made me quit.
  • The Ghostbusters demo is way cool, but I suspect it's all nostalgia-value. I'll pick it up again in a month and see if the demo still makes me want to play more.
  • Killzone 2 was a ton of fun, but has little re-play value. Still, I'd rate this as the last really good game I've played. And that's going back a few months now.

The games I'm really waiting for are the next Ratchet & Clank and the next Uncharted.

Honestly, I'm having more fun with PlayStation Network titles. The price point is certainly lower, but I also don't expect as much out of a $10 or $15 game - compared to the punch a $55 game should bring. As a result, I'm not that disappointed if a cheap PSN game doesn't turn out that great. So I'm willing to take more of a risk for a PSN title than a $55 retail title.

  • Battlefield 1943 is entirely an online multiplayer game, but mildly addicting.
  • I thought Burn Zombie Burn was fun for the first level, then kind of stunk. But I don't regret buying it, because it was so cheap.
  • Flower was (and continues to be) awesome. I went back and re-played a few stages just last weekend.
  • I'm almost finished with Last Guy (and have been since the week after I got it) and just can't work up the excitement to go back and finish the game. I've gotten my fun-value out of it.
  • I got hooked by Pixeljunk Monsters, bought the expansion, then played about one stage of that before I lost interest. But I definitely got my money's worth on that game.

Recession (3, Informative)

santax (1541065) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730245)

With 1.5 million forced house-sales in the US one should be able to imagine that people have less money to spend on more critical things, like food. So I am not really suprised with this.

Re:Recession (2, Informative)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730385)

I just think it is a problem with blockbuster game spacing.

It seems like every year, until this one, there have been some really amazing games that get pushed past there Christmas season schedule. This means that people buy some games around Christmas, and they have some choices for great games in the Spring and Summer. This year, nothing worth paying full price for is coming out until fall/winter.

Re:Recession (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730875)

Depends on your taste, this year for me so far has been great with two monkey island games having come out and Wallace and Grommit as adventure game. Btw. it is really amazing how many adventure games generally have come out lately.

Finally (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730259)

It's *about time*. Maybe now we'll see Nintendo initiate a price cut on their hardware. But boy, it's really amazing to see how long it's taken for people to limit their spending on video games. They really seem to value their entertainment a lot more than I realized. Perhaps video game entertainment has become so immersive that in the minds of people stressed by the economy and life in general, video game escapism has become almost a necessity. I could be wrong, but I know that for myself they've always provided a great place to retreat while I sorted out my thoughts.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730807)

Or, alternately, you could wonder if the fact that 3rd parties are largely ignoring the market leader may be a contributing factor...

wtf (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730265)

Recession, my ass....try game exchanges, emulators and the iPhone/touch.

Going back to old games (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730283)

With the lack of decent games (especially those that are playable under linux or wine) recently, I found myself digging out Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 to play.

Waiting on Diablo 3 and the new Monkey Island though

Re:Going back to old games (5, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730411)

Diablo 2 ... Baldur's Gate 2 ... Diablo 3 ... the new Monkey Island

Ahh back to the golden age of gaming where every game wasn't a sequel or a remake of an older game.

Re:Going back to old games (1)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730421)

With the lack of decent games (especially those that are playable under linux or wine) recently, I found myself digging out Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 to play.

Waiting on Diablo 3 and the new Monkey Island though

Yep, I dug out Diablo II again the other day and even bought the digital download for the LoD expansion since I can't seem to find my damn jewel case and key anywhere (even though I have several of the actual CDs.. Blizzard jewel cases are always the ones that disappear for some reason).

On a side note, I probably would not have bought that copy of LoD if the new battlenet account and purchasing system wasn't in place. Valve and Blizzard are my heroes right now for Steam and Battlenet, respectively, and for recognizing that purchasing the game once is enough and for allowing us to keep our game keys online and download the client whenever we wish.

Re:Going back to old games (1)

Jorth (1074589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730775)

During a dry early year a few of my friends and I re-installed Diablo 2 and had some of the best gaming we have in a long time... We'd never completed it on Hardcore mode, and 3 weeks later and a lot of gaming, and a few dead characters a peice, we all killed Hell Diff Baal. To great feelings of satisfaction. D3 can't come out soon enough, SC2 has been gutted with no LAN, everything is stupidly online with not enough CO-OP modes. Randoms online are almost always complete tards to strangers, and/or will quit as soon as they are not winning. I have a few good friends who are as avid gamers as me and we want to co-op everything, but no one seems to care...

Re:Going back to old games (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730593)

With the lack of decent games (especially those that are playable under linux or wine) recently, I found myself digging out Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 to play.

Waiting on Diablo 3 and the new Monkey Island though

You know the first chapter of the new Monkey Island is out already, right?

Still Catching Up (2, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730301)

Personally, I haven't bought any games recently because I'm still catching up on all the great games that came out recently!

I'm re-playing FEAR 2. I'm playing FAR CRY 2 for the first time. Need to start and finish DAMNATION. Need to finish the LOST: VIA DOMUS crap-heap. Recently beat PLANTS vs. ZOMBIES. All whilst still playing TEAM FORTRESS 2.

My laundry list for games to buy is long, but I'm waiting until I finish these! I want to play TRINE, I want to buy and re-play all those LUCASARTS games that just came out again on Steam, I want to start another MMO like the new Star Trek Online or Knight of the Old Republic MMO.

This is actually a great time for games, for me personally.

Re:Still Catching Up (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730485)

Yeah, I'm with you. I spend maybe four hours a week on games, so they take me a loooong time to finish. I only just got around to playing Call of Duty 4! So I have a huge backlog of great games to play yet.

I actually find games to be good value compared to going to a first-run movie ($12 for two hours) or even buying a novel (around $15), particularly since the resale values are so high. I sold Killzone 2 recently for $40 after buying it for $60. That's pretty good value, I'd say.

Re:Still Catching Up (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730495)

My laundry list for games to buy is long, but I'm waiting until I finish these! I want to play TRINE, I want to buy and re-play all those LUCASARTS games that just came out again on Steam, I want to start another MMO like the new Star Trek Online or Knight of the Old Republic MMO.

  This is actually a great time for games, for me personally.

I've been on a Virtual Console buying spree, in fact. I'd never played Majora's Mask before so I grabbed that. I'm completely stumped by the Bit.Trip series (so simple and yet so HARD). And I love that Monkey Island and other Lucasarts games are back.
New games on a disk in shrinkwrap... not so much lately.

Well, I'm not stopping! (0, Troll)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730355)

I am unbelievable wealthy and I will continue to buy a lot of games! The economy? Pah! It matters not one whit to me! Now, fetch me my gold-plated Playstation 3! While I play the role of "Snake" in Metal Gear Solid 4, you plebes can stick to playing "Snake" on your outdated mobile phones! Hah, hah, hah! Worms!

Rent (3, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730391)

I wonder how many there are like me who started renting games due to so many disappointing releases. Gamefly has saved me far more than it costs with games I might have bought and wound up not enjoying. I've been buying more used games as well. And I'm not even suffering to any real extent from the current economy. It's purely the result of too many "Holy crap, I spent $60 on this turd?" reactions.

Re:Rent (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730831)

I did, about 3-4 years ago now. After I bought 2 $60 pieces of crap in a row, I decided enough was enough. Now I spend $15-$35 a month on rentals (depending on how many good games are out there that I want to play) and probably save $30-200 a month on games. If it's really, really good I might buy it immediately. If it's just good, I might buy it later when I see it really cheap. All the rest just go back.

So yeah, the game industry really shot themselves in the foot. Too many crap games, especially ones that look great in the previews and ads, means I almost never pre-order a game. (I've preordered a few since then, and a couple were crap... Reinforced my rental decision, I can tell you.)

Innovation? (3, Insightful)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730419)

seriously ... I'm not surprised. What happened to innovation? Most games now are all sequels to previous games with better graphics or newer engines than the previous release and the principal is still the same. Where is the cutting edge ? Something new that hasn't been done before ? A must have, giving the player full control of the virtual world . I think back on earlier rpg's for e.g. The player was actually allowed to input text instead of choosing from some stupid presets. Think of this with today's technology. In the end its not really the development studios its the damn publishers and other companies funding development studios so they can have their ads on startup screens and rape the profits.

No good games! (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730477)

I can only speak for my wife and I but there just aren't any new titles we want to buy right now. Last game I bought was Fallout 3. Since then I've bought all 4 expansion packs. Next game I was planning on buying was Bioshock 2 but now that's been pushed back. There aren't any other games I'm caring about right now. Between Fallout 3 and Gears of War 2, I'm happy.

Maybe rather than blaming everything on the economy they should compare what came out this time last year to what has come out this year. I spend money when games I want to play are released. No good games = no spent cash. It's that simple. For me at least.

Are they seriously using (3, Insightful)

runningman24 (1172197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730513)

a 1 month sample size? As a gamer, I can say that I had disposable income this month and wanted new games for my 360, but didn't see anything worth my $60. I ended up buying some games that came out last year used from Gamestop. You would also expect hardware sales for the major consoles to be declining, as they've been out for so many years now. There's nothing in those numbers that makes linking this to the recession, anything more than a random guess.

Not just the recession (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730521)

The problems discussed in TFA aren't being felt across the entire home entertainment industry [homemediamagazine.com] . Overall sales of DVD, Blu-ray and digital content fell just 3.9% in the first half of 2009, though sales of physical media fell more. Rentals are up over eight percent in the same period.

High prices and the recent lack of diversity in titles have kept us out of the market for videogames. We own a PS3, but no PS3 games. We use it to play DVDs and Blu-rays, and to play our collection of PS2 games. Every so often we rent a new PS3 game to try it out, but none of them has yet made the case for spending $60.

Re:Not just the recession (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730631)

There are lots and lots of great, cheap PS3 games. I think I saw Dead Space the other day for $20. I picked up Rainbow Six Vegas for $20 also. Even Metal Gear Solid 4 is only $30-$40 now.

not the recession (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730567)

I'm sure that folks are being more careful spending their dollars these days. If the economy goes to hell and you've got less money to spend you won't be throwing it away on crap. But the problem isn't really that the economy has gone to hell, it's that there's just a glut of crap to buy.

It seems to me that very few video games are actually worth their price these days. You pay >$50 for a game with good games have been released this year?

Plus you've got the vendor lock-in... Gotta buy your console for $300ish... Then you're looking for games that run on that console... And then something good will come out that's exclusive to some other console... So you're looking at a real price of $350 to play that exclusive game (unless you already bought every console there is)...

I don't think the problem is that people don't have enough money to buy video games. I think the problem is that people are finding better ways to entertain themselves. Maybe they're replaying old games... Maybe they're milking an MMOG subscription... Maybe they're renting movies... Maybe they're reading books... Maybe they're just hanging out... Whatever.

bah (1)

pgag45 (1541755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730597)

summer months are always down time for video games... especially with no recent hardware/consoles released in the past 2 years.

I've been buying more... (1)

Mango Fett (1457557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730599)

I've found the recession to actually cause me to buy more games. Here's the kicker - I rarely buy them at $59.99 at release (maybe 1 per month, down from 4-6 across PC, 360, Wii, PS3, PSP, DS). So, I'm spending less on games, but playing more.

Considering the typical game release lifecycle:

1. Hype game months before release
2. Fanboys proclaim it the next big thing
3. Release game
4. Lukewarm community reception
5. Fanboy revolt/denial - "the game is great, you have to know how to play it"
6. Play for 5-10 days
7. Game is all but abandoned on-line.
8. GOTO 2

What I'm doing is hitting up games on the cheap. Say I'm mildly interested in a game, but it's not a ZOMG GOTTA HAVE NOW!!!, I've just learned a bit of patience and will get it on a price drop. It's amazing how a middle of the road game can be a bad experience at $60, but a decent play at $20(FEAR 2 for example).

There are good games! (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730641)

I am a gamer, and there are plenty of good games out there. (Note: Good, not great, but Great games are very hard to come by). There just aren't that many new game releases right now. Most of them are waiting until it is closer to the holiday shopping season. I know I'm saving up for Halo:ODST and Left 4 dead 2 before I make a new purchase. Yes, the economy has hit me, but I still want to consume new games!

Really? Are they that expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730661)

I don't really think video games are that expensive if you put everything in the right context. I remember back in the day (1995) that most new video games cost $40 a piece. Using this handy inflation calculator [bls.gov] , a new video game should cost $56.61 adjusted for inflation from 1995. Unlike computer hardware, which follows Moore's law and consistently decreases in price per goodness, the amount of programming required to make a game is roughly constant, so the price of games should roughly follow inflation.

Or to think about it in a different way, it's a really cheap form of enteratainment if you compute the hourly cost of it. A typical computer game is worth about 40 hours of entertainment, which means you're paying about $1.50 per hour for a $60 game. Compared with watcing a movie in theaters or on DVD ($4/hr), or dining out ($15/hr), or paintball/lasertag ($10/hr+) it's a remarkably inexpensive form of entertainment.

Who buys games anymore?! (1)

jinushaun (397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730703)

Renting or buying used games is a MUCH smarter alternative. Too many games bought to only be played for 3weeks before collecting dust.

mmo? (1)

bjornlevi (1600091) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730715)

are they tallying the MMOs in this too? ... as well as the micropayment model some games have? ... news item worthless without the reference to the data they use to calculate these results.

Circumstantial (1)

MalikyeMoon (1600085) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730719)

This isn't about the "economic recession". The decline in video game sales from last June to this June can be explained easily by the following: - Last June people were still buying a new system (this year is another year further from their inception). I bought a PS3 for the first time last year for example. - This year there is a HUGE absence of new, quality titles available right now. Most people are waiting for the large flood of games that are being released this coming fall/winter. This is usually the case seasonally, but this June seems dryer than last. - Last year the Guitar Hero/RB craze was still going strong, and since the "newness" has worn off quite a bit by now, so as the demand for $150-200 accessory packages. They were lucky to be doing as well as they were last June. They are still making a fair buck. People traditionally play fewer games in the summer do to: wanting to be outdoors instead of turning into mushrooms, vacations, sports, etc. This isn't time to cry "the industry is way down due to the recession". Just wait for the holiday season with: Diablo 3, Aion, Batman:Darkham Asylum, Rock Band: Beatles, and a ton of others being released.

Perhaps the EVO Can Help The Market (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730733)

I hang out with mostly college kids and I have to say that very few of them are wiling or capable to spend $60 on a given title. Even the latest OMGWTFAWESOME titles that have massive cult fanbases (I'm looking at you Halo) can't garner as many sales on a reputation alone when the sequels are just half-assed remakes of the original. As other slashdotters have mentioned, prices are just too high for the crap we are being sold these days.

That being said, I wonder if The EVO [engadget.com] can make any headway in this market since, according to that article, games should be roughly $20.00. Start offering gamers a chance to have a new title for the price of a used one and XBox, Nintendo, and Sony may wake up and realize that there is a new kid on the block. Of course, that is assuming that word about the evo gets spread around the population in general.

Cheers.

Three factors: (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730735)

1. Drastic increase of DRM disruptiveness and intrusiveness. This makes playing inconvenient.
2. Gameplay did not progress at all. I would say it stagnated, which means, no incentive to buy new games. Maybe people are NOT that infatuated with pretty graphics, after all?
3. Weak economy.

These three factors don't just add up, but multiply each other.

PRICE increases during recession? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730751)

Here in Canada the latest games are now $69.99 CDN each. Raising the prices to these extremes during tougher economic times simply hurts sales. I have refused to buy any new game over $59.99 CDN not because I don't think the games are great, but simply because as a consumer, I can no longer justify this much for a game. There is an economic limit and I'm sure that game prices have now passed the profit maximization point.

It's the quality of the games... (0, Troll)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730793)

...stupid. I recently picked up HL2 Orange Box. It does NOT work on 3 machines, one 3 years old, two new this year. Steam just downloads and downloads forever over 22 mbps cable connection and the game never starts. I also just picked up Neverwinter Nights 2. It needs to patch for about 5 hours before it's playable. I tried the unpatched before patching. The game deadends easily and crashes frequently and runs really slow. I feel sorry for the folks who bought this back when it was new and had to wait for the patches. Even if the games worked as designed, the general design of games is so poor when it comes to playability that playing them has become boring. So, when money is tight, people quickly figure out what's necessary and what's not necessary and broken crappy games at $40, $50 or $60 are simply not necessary. Expect sales to continue to decline.

Probably because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730801)

Probably because last June we had the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, as well as a very expensive, but popular with the casual crowd, Guitar Hero World Tour. With Grand Theft Auto 4 and Wii Fit launching close to June, that probably affected the sales as well.

Maybe...just maybe... (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730829)

It has something to do with the fact that developers continue to charge $60 for a game that's the exact same thing as the first version but with better graphics.

Don't Blame Recession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28730865)

I would have spent money on games, but there
a) aren't any good ones
b) the few good ones have too much DRM, or require are Steam style (you don't actually own them, you rent them)
Not the recession, the poor gaming companies.

Take your pick (1)

netruner (588721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28730887)

There's a recession, people are out of work (despite what some think, food and shelter are more important than gaming). Few good games have been released, (it's about the plotline, not how big you can draw the imaginary gun). MMORPGs supply ongoing gaming experience for a low, flat rate per month.

I realize that these are hard problems to fix, but the "silver bullet / soundbite" method appeals to the sheeple that follow the loudest voice that keeps its words small. So we're bound to hear from casual or even non-gamers how piracy and used game stores are the source of these woes.

Accept it - adapt and overcome. Figure out how to rebut these claims - keep your words small and your voice loud. Repetition never hurts either.
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