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February Game Sales Flop

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the buying-too-much-chocolate dept.

131

Some financial news from the gaming industry today; NPD Analysts predict that game sales for February will be much lower than hoped-for, down eleven percent from last year. Take-Two Interactive, the publisher for studios Rockstar and Firaxis, posted a loss of $29.1 Million in their first quarter, which ended at the end of January. Not everything was doom and gloom. Newly linked Bioware/Pandemic did great in 2005, with more than 28 million games sold. From that 1up piece: "Neither company has laid out much of their plans for the next-generation consoles, though BioWare's brief showing of their planned Xbox 360 trilogy Mass Effect suggests the companies are poised to be just as ambitious on the coming consoles as ever before. "

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131 comments

February (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878380)

Well, they don't call this month Febturday for nothing.

Re:February (0, Offtopic)

Super Robot Destroye (959947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881252)

The super robot destroyer machine has arrived. I welcome myself to the boards! prepare to be destroyed.

It was my fault, sorry. (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878385)

My game consumption was down to zero in February because all the local retailers were telling me that they'd be getting the Xbox 360 in regular stock come March. I put a permanent freeze on my PS2 game purchases as a result. Then March came and I bought the 360 and a couple games, with a couple more purchases likely to follow.

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (0, Troll)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878427)

Haha, you almost had me there, except for the "the 360 has games" part.

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (1)

engagebot (941678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878756)

Modded insightful? Don't worry, i caught the joke...

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (4, Interesting)

keltor (99721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878770)

My guy at EB told me a little story ...

The reason they aren't getting that many copies of each 360 game ... cause they didn't sell well enough in the first place.

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879027)

My guy at EB told me a little story ...

The reason they aren't getting that many copies of each 360 game ... cause they didn't sell well enough in the first place.


That varies by store. Stores that sell more 360 games get more copies. The EB I work at has a pretty good stock of games, new and used.

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (1)

pnice (753704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879319)

That varies by store. Stores that sell more 360 games get more copies. The EB I work at has a pretty good stock of games, new and used.

No joke, you would think the poster above you would have thought about that but I guess not. I can go to the only store to buy games (Wal-Mart) in the town I live in and they don't even bother to get some games now. It almost seems like they aren't carrying some of them at all. I can drive 15 miles away to the next town over and they have everything I could want at that store (but the town also has a Gamestop, Target and Best Buy with games as well).

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (2, Interesting)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879974)

I didn't buy any games because I was still playing through the ones I got for Christmas. The next game I buy will likely be Space Rangers 2 [excalibur-publishing.com] , when it makes its way to North America later this month.

Re:It was my fault, sorry. (1)

Donjo (797935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880990)

I did the same thing to be honest. I haven't bought games in ages but once I got a chance to buy a 360 I bought 4 games right away.

Damn PS3! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878408)

We're seeing the effects already. The analysts were right!

Next Gen Consoles (4, Insightful)

mexter2005 (854056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878424)

The fact that we have two different next-gen consoles coming down the pipeline can't possibly be helping game sales. That, and the quality of the games.

Re:Next Gen Consoles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878450)

Look at the line up that's gonna be coming out in March:

Oblivion
Metroid Prime DS
Brain Age
New Tetris

It's no wonder that February wasn't too hot for game sales.

Re:Next Gen Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879907)

Oblivion's gonna suck on 360. It doesn't seem able to handle it.

The more relevant question is... (4, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878442)

Are there any new games out there worth buying when they're not in the bargin bin already?

Re:The more relevant question is... (1)

Not-a-Neg (743469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878587)

Chibi-Robo (Gamecube)

Re:The more relevant question is... (3, Funny)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878610)

Super Mario Strikers (Gamecube)

nope, and that's the key here (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878648)

There has been nothing released in the recent months that has been a "must have". No one wants to buy your shitty games, take that as a hint and try something new and innovative game companies. Oblivion will probably be a big seller, but there's been basically nothing for the PC. I can't speak for consoles as I don't own one. That and with all the current and upcoming MMO's, its not really surprising.

Re:The more relevant question is... (1)

sehryan (412731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878658)

Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS)

Re:The more relevant question is... (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878742)

Yeah, my first thought was "They released games in February?!?!" It seems like releases have slowed to a trickle over the past year or two. Although I get confused sometimes, because it often seems like I'm playing the same game over and over with new graphics. Although sometimes I suspect they just change the title on the box and sell the same games twice. Or "Oh, it's an expansion, it's an expansion. We left out some content, and now you can purchase it for 75% to 100% of the original title price."

How about GalCiv II? (2, Interesting)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878890)

How about Galactic Civilizations II [gamerankings.com] ? Three editor's choices from GameSpot, GameSpy and IGN. Yes, I work for Stardock, but it's still a cool game [wikipedia.org] . :-)

Re:How about GalCiv II? (2, Interesting)

AgentDib (931969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879211)

A little more on GalCivII from a non-stardock employee. If you've ever played a game of Civilization and then been disappointed when the game ends at the space age... you'll be happy to know that Galactic Civilizations II follows a similar style but starts where the Civ franchise leaves off.

Highlights of the game include a split production system between social and military, a very interesting futuristic tech tree for research, and the strategic split in damage types (energy/physical/missile) and damage resistances (energy/physical/missle). The ability to create your own ships mixing and matching every part you've researched is also pretty enjoyable, especially the part to design the exterior.

The best thing about GalCivII, however, is the distribution model. When compared to the other releases of late that use aggressive DRM and highly annoying copy protection schemes that force you to constantly swap CDs, it's amazing that Stardock simply delivers the game. They've already released patches based on customer feedback and they respond to issues posted on their forums very promptly.

GalCivII is definitely worth purchasing and easily the best game I've played this year.

Re:How about GalCiv II? (1)

dhoonlee (758528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880750)

GalCiv, while a great 4X, is not exactly the type of game that would drive millions of sales. I know not the question that was asked, but relevant to the overall post.

I thought it was already March (3, Funny)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878470)

NPD Analysts predict that game sales for February will be much lower than hoped-for

Crazy me. I thought it was already March.

MMO effect? (5, Interesting)

whysanity (231556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878473)

I know that console and PC gamers tend to be different breed, but could the huge success of WoW be a contributing factor to declining revenue in the game industry?

Blizzard's intent is to continue thier current subscription by introducing long-lasting content. With 6 million users, does anyone else think that this could have a definitive effect on other games (both PC and console).

It's not called Warcrack for nothing.

Re:MMO effect? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878576)

I agree about MMORPGs. Every friend I have who plays WoW or EQ or one of the others has completely stopped buying any new games where they used to buy pc games at least every month or two even if just for the sake of buying something.

The fact that Geometry Wars is the most talked about game on the 360 should be a pretty good idication of the sorry state of games for the system. And there doesn't seem to be much on the horizon - at least nothing that isn't going to be on the pc too.

The PS2 seems to be still doing pretty well. SotC, RE4, Burnout, DQVII are all major titles.

GameCube had a fantastic holiday season but has dropped off a lot in the past month. People seem to be waiting for the next Zelda and not buying anything else.

The pc game market was already in a pretty steady decline. I don't think it will ever really go away but I think MMORPGs are going to suck much of the viability out of the pc segement of the market for a lot of big pc game developers leaving the market to mostly little pc game developers doing more low budget titles with almost all of the big budget titles being done on consoles.

Re:MMO effect? (1)

boobavon (857902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878620)

I played FF11 for a while. People still play other games. Only maybe 5% of an MMO's playerbase plays so hardcore that they dont do anything else. The rest of everyone gets tired of it at some point and does other stuff, be it real life activites or playing other games. Hell, half the time friends of mine would play other games while waiting for stuff to happen (yea, mmo's can be that boring). I suppose MMOs have an effect, but not such a drastic one as to preclude future purchases of all, or even most subscribers.

Re:MMO effect? (3, Interesting)

whysanity (231556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878689)

Even prescribing to your suggestion of 5%, that's still a significant amount amount of revenue a company could lose out one. Let's do a little math:

WoW active subscriber base: 6 million
Percent of hardcore players: 5%
Total active hardcore players: 300,000
Cost of a game: $40 (this is very conservative)
Total potential lost revenue: $12 million

If we increase the cost of a game to $50 (a much more realistic amount), the revenue jumps to $15 million. However, I don't think the cost of a game is really a variable here. I think the real problem lies in the 5% assumption. While this may be accurate for those that are hardcore players (and do not much else), another very large subset of players falls into the "doesn't play much else" category: casuals. Why? Becasue they're casual. They only play an hour or two each night, maybe not every night. This is typically because they have additional real life obligations. This would suggest they don't have time to play yet another video game.

I think the percentage of World of Warcraft players that don't play other games on a regular basis is much higher than 5%.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

Re:MMO effect? (2, Insightful)

MISplice (19058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879245)

I know I am one of those players.. and a lot of my friends are. Most articles I have read have said that is one of the appeals of WoW is that it is relatively easy to level by yourself or in a small group and appeals to the more casual gamers. I would say that the % of casual gamers is probably more like 20%.. I bought WoW in August and have not purchased another game since.

Re:MMO effect? (1)

holySherm (916265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878721)

I used to play many other games very frequently but since getting WoW I raid about 4 hours a night or so after work which leaves little to no time for any other games. I bought Civ 4 when it released and that is the only one over the past year. Usually I get about a game a month on average and have also used gamefly. You don't have to be a hardcore WoW player necessarily for it to take most of your leisure time up. Either you play fewer other games or you keep playing them and do fewer alternative leisure activities you would've normally had been doing. I suppose I'll just wait till the new zelda and then the revolution to break my habit.

Re:MMO effect? (1)

Anamanaman (97418) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878700)

I dont think so. The game is fun for a few months (like many other good games) but it eventually gets old and I think most people move on to other games.

Re:MMO effect? (1)

br0ck (237309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878794)

Well, game sales should pick up soon since users in China--they have 500,000 there--are threatening a mass protest [qj.net] .

My PC game purchases have declined (2, Interesting)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878811)

Since I started playing MMOs. I played City of Heroes for almost a year, then moved to WoW. Played Wow for close to a year, jumped over to City of Villains for a few months and now I am playing EverQuest 2.
I still play other games besides the MMOs, but my purchasing frequency has gone down. I probably buy a game every other month now, rather than 1-2 a month two years ago. It also takes me longer to wear out a single player game because of time spent with MMOs. I've barely scratched the surface on Civ 4 and am only about halfway through Quake 4. Both games I've had since Christmas.

Re:My PC game purchases have declined (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879357)

now I am playing EverQuest 2.

You have my condolences.

Re:My PC game purchases have declined (3, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879760)

Your right, it would have been much more fun to keep playing WoW. Like all that fun I was having with:

1. Running the same content over and over again in hopes of maybe getting an item that might drop
2. Waiting in a queue for an hour to even get on the server to play
3. Sitting around waiting for hours in game for a chance to play a PVP battleground for 5 minutes
4. Doing repetitive faction grinding quests over and over
5. Enabling, disabling, updating my UI addons for every little patch that Blizzard releases
6. Running through the exact same lower level content for the third or fourth time with an alt

I'm sure EQ2 has plenty of these issues at the high end and I'm sure I'll quit when I get annoyed at it. Right now there are tons of quests for both solo and groups, new zones and dungeons to explore, solid combat and a good player community.
Oh wait, I'm sorry SOE is the devil incarnate and Blizzard is capable of doing no wrong.

Re:My PC game purchases have declined (1)

rujholla (823296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879788)

As someone who has hear mostly negative things about eq2, it was interesting to see someone who moved from wow to EQ2. I to am starting to get frustrated with WOW's lack of casual content at 60 and would was interested to read that maybe there is worth to buying EQ2. THX

I'm no marketing expert, but... (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878487)

Game sales for February were possibly down in part because: there weren't many good games released that month? Or was that the point? /stayed at a Holiday Inn last night

March (3, Interesting)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878497)

March will be an absolute monster

Fight Night Round 3, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Burnout, College hoops 2k6 for 360, etc.

Re:March (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878527)

So you might just say it would be a Monster March? I hate that song.

Re:March (1)

stringycheese (949470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878763)

Or you might say it will be March Madness

Re:March (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878678)

> Fight Night Round 3

Don't waste your money. The 360 is getting the crappy version. EA is making the real next gen version for the PS3. EA seems to really have something against MS.

> Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Yeech! Massive texturing problems. So much for all the hype about that game. Turned out to be nothing more than your average pc military sim with affine texture filtering and vsync turned off. Pass.

> Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

The pc version is the only one to get. Only an idiot would get the gimped 360 version and miss out on the killer mod community.

> Burnout
> College hoops 2k6

Snore...

I am so glad I didn't bother with a 360 and instead got a nice 300 dollar NVidia card for my pc. I can't believe how many 360s I see in stores these days. The non-functional 360 demo kiosk at my local BestBuy can't be helping Microsoft move units.

I am honestly shocked by how bad the 360's graphics have turned out to be. Not only are they no better than a decent gaming pc, they are riddled with graphics problems. Jaggies all over the place, lack of affine filtering, tearing problems, low frame rates. ATI really botched things badly for MS. I don't want to think how bad 360 games are going to look comapred to pc games a year from now.

Re:March (2)

Dev59 (953144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878990)

>Don't waste your money. The 360 is getting the crappy version. EA is making the real next gen version for the PS3. EA seems to really have something against MS. I think it's more to do with getting product out the door. >The pc version is the only one to get. Only an idiot would get the gimped 360 version and miss out on the killer mod community. While I generally agree that the PC version of Oblivion will be a superior product, when it comes to graphics, you'll only have a better looking game if you've spent a minimum of $300 already on a graphics card. There are plenty of reasons to play the game on the 360. Not to mention that with the hard drive, you'll be able to download and use official mods released by Bethesda. >I am honestly shocked by how bad the 360's graphics have turned out to be. Not only are they no better than a decent gaming pc, they are riddled with graphics problems. Jaggies all over the place, lack of affine filtering, tearing problems, low frame rates. ATI really botched things badly for MS. I don't want to think how bad 360 games are going to look comapred to pc games a year from now. Blame the developers rushing products out the doors (and the fact that these are FIRST generation games), not ATI. The graphics chip in the 360 is plenty powerful - the equivalent PC version would cost almost as much as a 360 on it's own. What the heck is this affline filtering you're talking about? Are you speaking of anisotropic filtering? Or anti-aliasing? I'm not a fan of the 360 myself, but if you're going to bash it, try to think out your arguments a bit more.

Re:March (1)

Senobyzal (826207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879207)

Man, did Microsoft kill your parents or something?

Re:March (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879103)

"Fight Night Round 3, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Burnout, College hoops 2k6 for 360, etc."

And then of course you will have real volume-movers like Metriod Hunters.

March is another lame month. (0)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880624)

Sequel Round 3,Sequel Advanced Warfighter, Sequel: Oblivion, Sequel, Sequel 2k6 for 360, etc.

I don't care about that shit. You don't care about it. No one does.

There are some games I want to buy, but haven't because I'm shit outta money. None of them are in the list you mentioned. Those games are Animal Crossing and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. One has the unique feature of WiFi play (and also a nice touch-screen interface to a game that sorely needs it), and the other is the only law simulation I know of.

I'm also looking forward to Brain Training, and I'd probably get Elektroplanton if I didn't have Garageband on my laptop right now.

All those other games? Yea, I've got some form of them in my collection already, and those are free.

Re:March is another lame month. (2, Insightful)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881299)

You mean Sequel Crossing?

Just because a game is a sequel doesn't make it not good. Just because you don't care about that shit mean no one does. Get off your high horse, will ya? I'm quite looking forward to playing GRAW and Oblivion.

And forget GarageBand, give Elektroplankton a rent at least. Its quite fun.

Re:March is another lame month. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881424)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Good luck finding a copy. I've been looking for it for a month.

For Feb I bought... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878554)

RF Online. I am so sorry I did. (and I can't get a refund after using the key).

Other then that BF2 + Special forces (because my other disk was stolen).

TBH I have stopped buying games. I have budget for 2 MMO games. At the moment its COV. But looking for another to play as well.

Re:For Feb I bought... (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878657)

Is RF Online just looks-without-substance?
I had been considering it, but there were virtually no positive remarks in any of the comments sections of previews/reviews.

I really wonder at the staying power of WoW though. It does have a strong appeal for MMOG players, but Raids and PVP can't appeal to everyone. Something new is bound to come along, I just hope we don't miss out on a real treasure because it doesn't have the marketing power needed.

I know I want something new to explore. My kingdom for a Shadowrun/Battletech hybrid :)

Re:For Feb I bought... (1)

irablum (914844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879154)

patch 1.10 for WOW is supposed to have some neat epics for level 60 non-raiders. they're also adding some eye-candy in weather effects.

And of course, everyone is waiting for burning crusade (delayed again. :( )

Ira

Re:For Feb I bought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14881603)

Delayed again? It never had a release date in the first place, how could it be delayed? The closest thing Blizzard has ever announced to a release date is in the contest rules for the leveling contests that just started on the test servers, and all they say is that the beta will begin any time before Dec 31 of this year.

Re:For Feb I bought... (1)

irablum (914844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879173)

I know I want something new to explore. My kingdom for a Shadowrun/Battletech hybrid :)
Me, I want something new from the PCGames Mechwarrior series. Maybe a Mechwarrior Online? or even some kind of MMORPG for Battletech. Start as either Inner sphere or clan (clan are harder to level, IS have IS mechs and weapons initially and only clan stuff at really high levels).

Ira

Re:For Feb I bought... (1)

TXG1112 (456055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879636)

Same here. Mechwarrior is one of my favorite series of all time. Would be nice to see a new title that can use all the latest hardware.

 

Yes, please. (1)

MarauderIIC (841057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881367)

Agree. See my name XD

Re:For Feb I bought... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881636)

>Is RF Online just looks-without-substance?

I wouldn't even give it looks. The looks on the box are way better then in game. The UI is badly done, movement is painful and I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I couldn't for the life of me find a jump key.

COV/EQ2/WOW sets a very high standard to what a game should look like. COV/COH certainly sets the standard for character customisation.

Gee, never saw this coming. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878560)

I wonder if this has anything to do with cramming every single AAA game title into November's release schedule?

It's like the other 11 months of the year don't matter.

Re:Gee, never saw this coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879259)

It's probably not "every single AAA title," but you're right. The people who worked on the games that shipped during the holidays probably just moved over to different projects in November or December, so it makes sense that those games wouldn't be ready until late Spring.

Also, this is the time of the year when people do the least luxury spending in the US and Europe - they're still recovering from Christmas. A game will sell more units if it releases when people are willing to buy it.

WoW (3, Funny)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878589)

This is nothing special, half the gaming market is now addicted to World of Warcraft, and has lost contact to the physical world. Analysts expect this effect to become smaller in a few years, though the market will probably never go back to what it was, considering the number of starvation casualties expected.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14880008)

Starvation?
Is this an omen for things to come - WoW diet?

Re:WoW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14881999)

Seriously you gamers need to get outside. Troll me all you want, but some people are really using games as an escape from reality. For those of you hooked on WoW, answer me this: When was the last time you spent a week away from ever loggin into your game?

Spring is gearing up and you people really need to come out of the dungeon of your computer room and get some sunlight and good exercise.

I used to be a video game junkie. I would play Quake 3 for hours everyday, and when I wasn't playing that I was gaming on a console. Not anymore. I have bought games (about one a month) but now I have collection of games I have yet to complete.

Sorry MMOs aren't for me. I can't do playing games for hours on end anymore. I want to play for a hour then go DO something else.

Nothing I want (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878609)

My big purchase for February was Cubivore. Used. Waiting on two things at this point: Spore [ea.com] and a Revolution. I may pick up Chibi-Robo, but my schedule hasn't been game friendly lately.

Re:Nothing I want (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878977)

agree on wanting both Spore (from Will Wright of Sims fame) and the Nintendo Revolution. if Spore had come out, maybe I would have bought three games in February instead of two.

First quarter? (2, Interesting)

rvw14 (733613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878634)

in their first quarter, which ended at the end of January.

How does their first quarter end in January? I don't know of any insustry where the fiscal year begins in November.

Re:First quarter? (1)

keltor (99721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878793)

Pretty sure most start their fiscal year eithre September or January.

Re:First quarter? (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878901)

Well, the Army does 1 Oct... but for end of Jan to be a quarter that one would have needed to start on 1 Nov, which is odd to me. I dunno.

Re:First quarter? (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878920)

I am not an economist, CEO, or CPA but...

The fiscal year can begin anytime they want it to - depending on when they incorporated and how they were structured. I work for a company in the health field and our year begins in October and ends in September. It is pretty much arbitrary although most corporations tend to follow the major trend in their area since filings with the SEC and earning reports fall on the same time and Wall Street can compare them easier.

Re:First quarter? (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880085)

I don't know of any insustry where the fiscal year begins in November.


Another poster beat me to stating that a fiscal year can begin at any time, and that it is on a per-company basis.

Aside from that, November -> Janurary is still good for a fiscal quarter as it covers the Christmas season and post-christmas activity. The next fiscal cycle then covers the Feburary fall-off and March rebound.

New Monthly Headlines... (3, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878690)

I guess we might as well get used to seeing this from now on:
every month= game sales down, **AA crying that movie profits are down and music sales (CD's) are down, none of them can get a clue I guess, a lot of are tired of DRM, high prices, and slipping quality and us sheep are looking for better pastures.

There's a difference (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881451)

**AA will blame it all on piracy. Everything. Every time. It doesn't matter if they've just released less CDs in the same proportion, or they just had two months of crap movie releases that noone wants to watch, or whatever. It's those damn pirates. Why, surely our latest movie with bad acting, bad directing, and a cliched script that's a verbatim clone of a prescribed recipe, why, it must have been secretly a great success. Surely millions, nay, _billions_ of people were just dying to see it, and only piracy kept them from going to the cinema.

(To be fair, though, they do occasionally have candid moments when reality and common sense hit them upside the head. A la the "whoa, people SMS their friends that the movie was crap. Who would have guessed it? We were so sure everyone takes _all_ their information _only_ from our marketting." kinda interview that was linked to on /. last year, IIRC. Well, ok, phrased less stupidly, but that was the gist of it. Someone was dead surprised that people talk to each other.)

The games industry also has other scapegoats. E.g., it was WoW. Surely the only reason why noone bought our game is that they were playing WoW. E.g., we didn't astroturf enough message boards, publish enough screenshots (surely 1000 wasn't enough), and buy enough ads-disguised-as-reviews. Surely that's the only thing the competition did better. E.g., it's the PS3. Verily, the only reason why people didn't buy our game is that they're waiting for the PS3.

Basically both will blame someone else, but the games industry members still point the finger at each other too. The game industry still doesn't have an *AA kind of cartel, so they don't have to be careful about stepping on each other's toes. So Nintendo blames Sony, Sony blames Microsoft, and all 3 blame Blizzard. The *AA on the other hand, acts as a block, so whatever arch-nemesis they have it _must_ be something from outside the block.

Game Overload, Time Restrictions (4, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878750)

I've got too many games from last year (and before) that I haven't got around to playing seriously.

Why would I buy more now?

Let me get through those games, or at least get my money's worth from them. Then I'll think about new games. By that time the Revolution will be out anyway, and I'll only have time for games that provide immediate fun.

Re:Game Overload, Time Restrictions (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881798)

Let's see... I have the 2nd expansion pack for NWN to play, and the Kingmaker expansion.
I haven't finished TES III: Morrowind, nevermind the two expansions.
I haven't played Civ4 half as much as I'd like, maybe half a dozen games.
I've Myst 5 to play.
I'm only about halfway through Guild Wars with my first character.
I have Fable to play (yeah, it seems that it isn't too great, but I'll enjoy playing it through all the same, it looks reasonable pretty and has a story to follow).

And to cap it all, I'm buying TES IV: Oblivion at the end of the month.

Perhaps I should stop buying games. Mind you, some of the above games are old, and I've only a backlog due to not having a good PC to play on till last summer (or money to buy many games/games at release price).

Whoops... forgot to add my unfinished console games (PS2) - A Bard's Tale and Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance.

Oh yeah - I have Baldur's Gate II (the old PC game) to play as well.

There's no way I am going to run out of games for the next two years at least!

Hmm, Bioware... (0, Offtopic)

Dev59 (953144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878755)

I'm growing increasingly bitter towards them. Yes, Dragon Age is still supposedly coming for the PC, but other than that, it seems as if they have completely abandoned PC gamers for X-BOX land. Jade Empire will never be coming our way, and it seems as if the same will be true of Mass Effect - even though it's a first-person oriented game.

Re:Hmm, Bioware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14881266)

As if they would owe you anything. Other game makers are abandoning the PC completely (Lionhead) or mainly (Obsidian) so Dragon Age is at least a silver lining on the horizon for the PC users. Given the cost of next gen games, any kind of system exclusives become increasingly unlikely. My prediction will be that nearly every game will release on all three major systems in two or three years.

Steam (3, Interesting)

glenrm (640773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878776)

I bought Half-Life 2 through Steam and paid for a month of City of Heroes. Does NPD track this these kinds of purchases?

Re:Steam (1)

startled (144833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880721)

NPD neither tracks online purchases, nor monthly subscriptions. They need to address this to preserve their credibility, but many developers and publishers are unlikely to want to release their (undoctored) sales information to anyone.

What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (5, Insightful)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878834)

As a GC owner, I'm looking forward to Zelda Twilight Princess, but other than that, I can't think of any other game I'm supposed to be looking forward to or is making any kind of movement on the Excite-o-Meter. DNF? I gave up looking forward to that years and *years* ago. Shenmue 3 (yes, I played and loved 1 & 2)? Who knows if that will ever see the light of day.

The malaise stretches across the board: Nobody's talking about a new GTA game (GTA: Akron maybe?), no Dooms or Quakes or Half Lifes, or even Katamari Damarcys; no AAA titles to make me even inquisitive.

Comments on /. have been along the same way; lots of retro talk, but no buzz (planted or not) about anything. Anything! We're in a stasis; the 360 is here but there's nothing exciting coming down the pipe, the PS3 has been delayed, taking whatever launch titles we were hoping for with it, and the Revolution...well, that thing is so nebulous I can't even form an opinion of it (controller notwithstanding).

In short, you (the game industry) got nothin', and now we all know it.

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878999)

The malaise stretches across the board: Nobody's talking about a new GTA game (GTA: Akron maybe?), no Dooms or Quakes or Half Lifes, or even Katamari Damarcys; no AAA titles to make me even inquisitive.

I think there's a Katamari for the PSP out.

I'm holding out for GTA: Emerald City (Seattle) ...

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879490)

I'm holding out for GTA: Emerald City

Lions and hookers and bears, oh my!

(Sorry.)

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879626)

Um, ok. Seattle is called the Emerald City. GTA doesn't use Real City Names so they won't Get Sued.

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (3, Insightful)

Retroneous (879615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879361)

You own a Gamecube (and a Gamecube only), of course you can't see what's coming.

There were hundreds of titles out just before Christmas, and nobody could have played every single thing that they liked the look of, surely?

The UK's February release schedule is just as bad, but it ALWAYS HAS BEEN. This isn't news for Chrissakes. Every year, the industry suffers a massive downturn in February. Christmas shopping covers Nov/Dec, then January sales cover January, then February has...well, a bunch of crappy Gameboy Advance compilation packs and sod all else. Then March perks up as everyone prepares for the Easter/Summer holidays...

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14879711)

Europe (including the UK) is gaming's retirement home, where old games go to have their second (or third) shot at an active market life and eventually die, after already having become irrelevant everywhere else. Do you really think you have any qualifications to speak about the game release schedules of anywhere outside of your desolate, forgotten corner of the world? Your people are a collective industry afterthought, "for Chrissakes." (You are also a blasphemer; shame on you.)

Fucking >100K noobs, especially the near-millionites. Fie! A pox on your houses, the lot of ye.

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880186)

Actually, I own the GC, PS2, original xbox, a DS, a gamer rig for the PC, and keep both a Dreamcast and N64 handy. The problem was that apart from Zelda, there was nothing I liked the looks of. I used to go into the local EBGames/Gamestop almost every day, then it became every weekend, now it's once in a blue moon.

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (1)

Bjarke Roune (107212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879507)

Oblivion is coming out for the xbox 360 and PC on March 20. I think that is pretty exciting.

Oblivion! (1)

DoctaWatson (38667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879571)

Also Crysis, BioShock, Gothic 3, Heroes of Might and Magic 5, Metroid Prime: Hunters, Spore, Dreamfall (Longest Journey 2), Disgaea 2, Half-Life 2: Aftermath, SiN Episodes, Neverwinter Nights 2, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Hellgate: London, Sam and Max 2, Unreal Tournament 2k7, and Rise of Legends.

Just to name a few, mostly for PC.

Re:Oblivion! (1)

Dev59 (953144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880110)

The problem is, a good number of those games aren't coming out for some time now. There's not a chance in hell that we'll see Bioshock before 2007, for example.

Quake and Half-life (1)

2008 (900939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880244)

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Half-Life 2: Aftermath
Plus Metroid Prime: Hunters is supposed the be the DSes Quake

Both ET:QW and MP:H, judging by their reviews, have the potential to be the FPS of the year.
Supreme Commander might turn up soon too if we're lucky.

Re:What's coming? (Maybe an Ask Slashdot...) (1)

thelonestranger (915343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881911)

Im still looking forward to the UK release of Guitar Hero on April 7th, and to tide me over while I wait for that I've got Outrun, Deus Ex 2 and Forza all of which I picked up for £4 each. But I can see what your saying, a quick scan down the 2006 release schedule of my gaming rag of choice shows a very sparse line up with not to much to jump up and down about.

Ask who they poll at NPD (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878950)

during February, I bought:

1. Sims 2: Night Life - for my PC, as an upgrade to Sims 2: University
2. Sims 2 - for my xBox, since it's different in the console version

and guides for both (games at EBX, books at Barnes & Noble).

I'm still paying off Christmas! (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878986)

I won't be able to afford new games until at least April!

I "bought" GalCiv2 in February (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879294)

Well, I did get the game legally, but I didn't exactly buy it because I got it for free when Drengin.net transitioned into Totalgaming.net. But I would've bought it anyway if I wasn't getting it for free.

I bought a lot of games in February (1)

jonathan_ingram (30440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879558)

... but companies that track new game purchases will almost certainly not count the money I spent, because it went into second hand games and private purchases on eBay.

Which sales? (2, Interesting)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879642)

Are sales in general down, or just sales of the cookie-cutter crap that the big studios have been pushing out? In Australia, February was a great month for games - Ico finally got a re-release, along with We Love Katamari and Shadow of the Colossus. Shadow was the most-sold game on the platform in the week it released, and Shadow and Katamari are sitting at #3 and #4 on the charts this week too. I know that Australian sales are a drop in the ocean overall, but this trend seems to be going on throughout the PAL territory.

I expect March to be slower... (5, Insightful)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879735)

Down here in Australia, we're two weeks away from the Xbox 360 launch (23rd March it hits shelves). The console itself is going to set us back AU$649.00 and games are an average of AU$120 each.

One hundred and twenty fucking dollars? Give me a break. I had a hard enough time justifying a game at $80 or $90, but to bust out a three figure pricetag is just ridiculous. I've got a "good" job, my wife and I have plenty of disposable income and we're both quite enthusiastic gamers but we've just been priced out of the market quite frankly.

If people with a few grand a month to basically throw away are being put off by the cost of this "next gen" crap, what's that going to do for the guy who will need to spend two weeks of his income just to pick up the console and a couple of games?

I really do hope the 360 launch flops down here, it sure as hell deserves to.

Re:I expect March to be slower... (1)

Profound (50789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14879865)

US games are ~$50 so back in 2000, when AU$1 = 0.50 $US it made sense for our games to be $100. Since then the AU has gone up vs the $US, but we're still paying $100 AU, which is significantly higher than the rest of the world. ($80 US/game)

Re:I expect March to be slower... (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880035)

Not wrong sir.

I can't see any justification for the high price of games these days. It's not like we've got massive amounts of money to throw around as a nation (the mean income certainly seems to be falling to me) and entertainment sure as hell isn't getting any cheaper.

Hell, neither are other aspects of life.

I'm not basing this on any real figures I have, just personal experiences.

Exciting career in market analysis... (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880268)

...here I come!

I predict that the Saturn and Dreamcast will flop, Nintendo will dominate the handhold market, Microsoft will eventually enter the console business, and Duke Nukem Forever won't make it out in 2002!

(Silly me, I always thought that predictions had to be made before the fact, this changes everything!)

It will all turn around soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14880754)

as soon as Duke Nukem Forever comes out, game sales on all platforms will soar to new unexpected heights. Guaranteed. In related news, DNF is expected to ship with new Phantom consoles.

This is so not surprising. (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14880769)

Did you actually look at the release lists for February. Not much of any actual interest was released in February. Fight Night Round 3 and Grandia III, and maybe Brain Age if it was actually released in Feb, are the only things I can recall. It's a bit of a slump month, nothing to see here. Look forward to March, where it's just started, and I've already purchased 2 games (both DS of course, but there's actually something to look forward to this month).

I bought Black... (2, Insightful)

payndz (589033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14881475)

...but then I returned it because I got bored with it, having seen everything it had to offer in just three days. So I guess that doesn't technically count as a sale.

Been playing games steadily (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14882000)

... but not the finish-in-one-week variety. I play MMOs like EVE Online, and have been for about three years now, as well as the odd other MMO that comes out here and there. I can't tell you how much persistent games like these have cut into my purchases of games such as Black, that latest Star Wars RTS, etc. I'm just not interested in playing a game that I can potentially finish in a low single-digit number of weekends, then shelve or trade in for a few measly bucks at EB and get another of the same.

Lets see, the most recent game I've bought since maybe Half-life2 has been Dungeons and Dragons Online. Technically, one can powerlevel like mad in that game and max their character out in days, but the fun of it is in playing with good groups, taking your time, and enjoying the experience. I've been playing it for now over one week, have seen a tiny percentage of what the game has to offer in total (I work for a living, thus cannot spend 8 hours a day playing games as much as I'd like to), and have had nothing but fun.

Most people I've talked to who've bought Black have become bored with it within HOURS, much less days. And they wonder why people aren't rushing out to buy it.

Anyway, my main point is that I, and presumably a bunch of other folks, are thoroughly playing games and enjoying their experiences in games such as EVE, WoW, DAoC, EQ2, the list goes on. These statistics only ever describe boxed copies sold, but it'd be interesting to see them combined with subscription-based games.
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