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U.S. Video Game Sales Up 15.5% in April

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the lots-of-people-in-tamriel dept.

51

kukyfrope writes "According to The NPD Group, game sales are up 15.5% for April 2006 thanks to strong PS2 sales, Xbox 360 availability and the release of popular titles such as Kingdom Hearts II, Oblivion and Tomb Raider: Legend. GameDaily BIZ talks in-depth with analysts Michael Pachter (WMS) and Anita Frazier (NPD) on the current trends of the industry and whether this last month was just a fluke or an upswing for the industry. 'We are completely baffled by the sales trend reversal for current generation software,' said Pachter."

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51 comments

Xbox 360 (3, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353508)

The answer seems clear to me: the huge jump in Xbox 360 sales is starting to drive software sales again. The 360 is finally the best-selling console, and consumers are buying new games for it. If there's continued demand for the 360 (and I doubt they've hit anything near saturation yet), game sales should keep on going up.

We'll see.

-Erwos

Re:Xbox 360 (2, Interesting)

ByteGuerrilla (918383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353627)

This is true. I an my friends watched the E3 coverage over the 'Net. Beforehand, we were pretty keen on the 360, quite psyched for the Wii, and, as usual, fairly ambivalent towards the PS3. Afterwards, we're all getting 360s and definitely getting Wiis.

I think the trend identified here is set to continue well into the year. The 360 has some really top notch games coming out, with Gears of War and Chrome Hounds just two of them. Huxley is also shaping up quite well, even though it has recieved mixed reviews.

Turns out console gaming in 2006 is going to be just as awesome as PC gaming in 2006 [gamespot.com] ."

Re:Xbox 360 (3, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353704)

The answer seems clear to me: the huge jump in Xbox 360 sales is starting to drive software sales again.

The "huge jump" in Xbox 360 sales was only to 295,000 units. 295,000 units in a whole month, after MS said they were shipping more than a million to retailers. And this after there was supposedly so much pent-up demand caused by the shortage. I think a lot of people had assumed there were literally millions of people out there who just couldn't get an Xbox 360; well, now they can, and only 295,000 of them showed up.

It is true that the 100,000 or so extra Xbox 360's sold probably do mean another 150,000 or so games added to the tally for the month too. But from MS's point of view, that's really got to be a pretty disappointing number. They're still barely even outselling the PlayStation 2, for god's sake, a last-generation system, and by MS's own numbers, there's now a whole bunch of unsold inventory out there.

In other words, whether or not this is sustainable is still up in the air.

Re:Xbox 360 (1)

Doytch (950946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353914)

MS wanted to ship a million 360s. They never got that many out the door because Celestica(or whoever the new manufacturer was) didn't get in as early as MS would have hoped. 360s sold out in April, and finally in May the shortage looks to be over.

Re:Xbox 360 (5, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353939)

They're outselling the PS2 by 50% - surely, that shouldn't be described as "barely outselling".

As for the low number compared to what we expected, I suspect it's because the supply channel problems were only resolved near the middle of April. There's no serious evidence that there are piles of 360s in shops everywhere - indeed, someone recently mentioned that it was only last week that Newegg was even able to get any.

There's no hard proof that this is sustainable, but after Sony's poor E3 showing, I suspect 360 sales will be even stronger in May. But that's only my opinion...

-Erwos

Re:Xbox 360 (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354176)

A friend of mine got a 360.. we where all skeptical about it.. but honestly that on a 1080i plasma. is truly nice.. some games where designed alot better than others (to be expected) but to be honest i never liked consoles.. but if i had the money and the time to play i would defintly get one

Re:Xbox 360 (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354079)

A few points:

* NPD data covers US sales only
* NPD data does not account sales of all retailers in the US
* "Big" shipments started to hit retailers at the end of April

Or, conversly:

* NPD data does not include sales from Europe
* NPD data does not include sales from Canada, Mexico, etc
* NPD data does not include figures from retailers like Walmart
* "Big" shipments weren't occuring during the sampling period

Re:Xbox 360 (2, Interesting)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354317)

I've never understood comparing how many PS2s are selling now compared to how many 360s are selling now. The markets for them at this time are completely different, the prices are completely different, and the library of games are completely different. Just seems a VERY strange comparison.

The PS2 was the fastest selling console ever upon release reaching 10 million in just under 13 months. Despite people waiting to see the other consoles before committing, supply issues, and all that the 360 is on pace to at least come very close to that. Not to say either is better but that seems a much more usable statisic. Compare them when they were both new, both the upper end machines available, both in the higher price ranges, and both with at least similar game libraries.

Re:Xbox 360 (2, Informative)

Serapth (643581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354686)

It is true that the 100,000 or so extra Xbox 360's sold probably do mean another 150,000 or so games added to the tally for the month too. But from MS's point of view, that's really got to be a pretty disappointing number.

Not really sure where you learned math, but wasntit 295,000 units sold. On top of that, even if it was only 100,000 units, the attach rate with the 360 is close to 4 games per unit. That adds up closer to 400,000 extra games sold using the 100,000 number and 1.18 million games sold using the 295K number. Neither should cause Microsoft to lose sleep. Plus, these numbers were from April, before Sony shot themselves multiple times in the foot. I imagine Microsoft staff are sleeping pretty soundly these days.

Kinda kills earlier analyst comments that "The 360 is bad for the industry" as an 15.5% rise in sales sounds like a pretty damned good thing for the industry. Although Kingdom Hearts2 really does need to get the credit it deserves.

Re:Xbox 360 (-1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353847)

Based on what? Cause the sales chart [gamespot.com] don't show the 360 in the lead.

A next-gen console loosing to the oldest console is NOT that big an endorsement.

I guess all those people who say it is gameplay and not graphics that matter are right after all.

A PS2 game should NOT be the best seller but it is.

It does however make sense. Even if the 360 is going to be a success it simply isn't out there in enough number yet to compete with the PS2. No point in buying a game if you don't have the console after all.

Claiming that the 360 is behind this revival reeks of fanboyness.

What is far more likely is that some big titles have finally launched, titles that people cared about who actually buy games, not just fanboys.

Charts are all very nice but I would like to see some hard figures. I am willing to bet there is a big gap between the number one seller and number two seller.

Oh well. Guess all the reports about the death of gaming were premature. Once again.

Re:Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353941)

Modded you up, even though you don't seem to grasp the concept of paragraphs... :P

Re:Xbox 360 (2, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353961)

I guess you don't understand that you linked to the March sales stats, do you? April's are much different.

-Erwos

Re:Xbox 360 (2, Informative)

joshsisk (161347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353963)

Uhhhh.... this story is about APRIL. The link you posted is about March.

The April Charts look a bit different [joystiq.com] .

What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15357541)

There's no way the 360 is selling that much, nor that many games. In fact, it's falling short of expectations. See? I can make plausible statements without backing them up too!

wii!!! (-1, Offtopic)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353530)

i dont need to wait for nintendo to play with my wii...

Re:wii!!! (0, Offtopic)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353710)

im surprised you didnt get it... it was a joke on the lines of not needing a concole, not needing to buy videogames, i guess it just went over your head all like WII!!!!!!

Re:wii!!! (-1, Redundant)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353765)

In re: offtopic mod: "im surprised you didnt get it."

Got it. Didn't want it. Threw it back.

Re:wii!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353854)

There was no lack of getting. However the joke was unfunny. End of message.

Re:wii!!! (0, Offtopic)

jpardey (569633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354239)

Marijuana is also nature's solution to slashdot karma, it would seem.

As for me... (3, Interesting)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353533)

"'We are completely baffled by the sales trend reversal for current generation software,' said Pachter."

Well, I can tell you that I just bought 6 new gamecube games for myself & the kids for summer break. I can't be the only one getting ready for that, right?

Re:As for me... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353860)

Which is especially amusing since the industry typically considers summer to be a low point because everyone is supposed to be outside playing in the sun or on vacation away from their consoles. Summer usually sees the lowest number of new releases.

Re:As for me... (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15355726)

Which is especially amusing since the industry typically considers summer to be a low point because everyone is supposed to be outside playing in the sun or on vacation away from their consoles. Summer usually sees the lowest number of new releases.

They forget that so many gamers are pasty distant cousins of vampires, with an acute allergic reaction to the big yellow approximately-point light source in that blue room on the other side of the door.

The freaks don't even know their own customers.

Re:As for me... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15356169)

Take your kids outside you bastard... Hate to have you as a dad.

Re:As for me... (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15357133)

Take your kids outside you bastard... Hate to have you as a dad.

LOL, have some unresolved issues with your parents? Your reply honestly made me laugh out loud, I'm not just saying LOL. And yes, we have locked them in their rooms with bags of candy, soda, and video games. They're not allowed to come out until they've mastered all the games. Also, I've covered the windows with tin foil as to not let any natural light into their rooms. And they're not allowed to bathe either. If I'm particularly impressed with their gaming skills, I'll throw them some beef jerky every once in a while.

Re:As for me... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15357520)

OK, maybe I am being a tad cynical. I know there are people out there who treat their kids like this (not to the same extent that you just described, but letting the tv entertain their kids during the holidays), and I feel the need to speak up against this sort of thing. (Because I like being a pain in the ass)

Re:As for me... (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15357630)

OK, maybe I am being a tad cynical. I know there are people out there who treat their kids like this (not to the same extent that you just described, but letting the tv entertain their kids during the holidays), and I feel the need to speak up against this sort of thing. (Because I like being a pain in the ass)

This was a very rational and well thought out response. Let me reply in the same vein now...

My wife and I limit the time allowed on the Nintendo to an hour a day. Maybe that's still too much, I don't know. But it seems good to me. Because my kids are used to these limits, it's not really a big deal for them. In fact, we rarely have to actually turn it off. They know how easy it is to save the game and shut it down, and know it's waiting for them tomorrow. Anyway, I'm an avid fisherman, and my boys and I get to the lake every Saturday. (Or at least 3 out of 4). They're fortunate enough to have a stay at home Mom, so they get plenty of time at the park, mall, community pool when summer break rolls around. So yes, we went out and bought them 6 new video games for the summer. But I guess we did it in part because of good grades, and so they could have a variety of games to play. (And not necessarily A LOT of games to play).

Re:As for me... (1)

tealover (187148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15357658)

No offense to you, but I too thought it was weird the way you phrased your original post. 6 games for the summer break ? I'm glad I didn't have a father like you either.

So they're proven wrong yet again (2, Insightful)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353539)

I wonder when people are going to get tired of predicting another video-game crash every time there's a dip in sales.

Rob

Re:So they're proven wrong yet again (1)

d!rtyboy (969507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353818)

David Wong must be eating his socks right around now.

Re:So they're proven wrong yet again (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354275)

Well, David Wong's a satirist so it makes sense that he'd be mocking all of the other Chicken Littles. But I'll admit that I didn't even realize that he wrote the last "sky is falling" article until you mentioned it.

Rob

Re:So they're proven wrong yet again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353981)

Well, the increase in sales could be attributed to a price drop in the PS2 a steady supply of XBox 360's and some good games being released in April; the fact remains that this is an unexpected upward blip in months of slow sales.

Basically proclaiming that there is no industry crash look at april's sale data is like proclaiming oil is not expensive it went down by $1 per barrel today. No one doubts that the factors that people are saying will lead to the next videogame crash are still there; too high of development costs with too little original content. The fact is that if too many people yawn at the next Grand Theft Auto game there are companies that are going to go out of buisness because of it.

Re:So they're proven wrong yet again (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354484)

I'd agree with you if this was the only time that this happened, but periods of relative sleepiness punctuated by sharp spikes in sales have made up the pattern of the video-game industry for many years now. Going by your logic, that means that we've been on the verge of a crash for a long time. Why hasn't it happened yet?

Rob

Re:So they're proven wrong yet again (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15355610)

I'm surprised the RIAA/MPAA haven't come out and sued the game industry: "Your increase in sales is encroaching on our entertainment turf!"

Dammit, now I've given them the idea.

Idiot analysts (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353547)

Strong PS2 sales caused by Kingdom Hearts 2? 360 sales caused by Oblivion? Go figure. No games no sales, isn't that obvious?

Why "baffled?" (2, Funny)

BTWR (540147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353559)

It's very simple: release great games, people will buy them. This [thewiitalk.com] looks like a great game, and I'll buy it. See? Very simple strategy.

Guy 1: Hmmm, so weird. We released Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, and it tanked!

Guy 2: Yeah, then we released a new Tomb Raider that was actually pretty decent, and not bug-ridden, and it sold well. Weird!

Guy 1: I know! SO weird!

Re:Why "baffled?" (1, Troll)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354568)

Guy 2: Yeah, then we released a new Tomb Raider that was actually pretty decent, and not bug-ridden, and it sold well. Weird!

No, no, no! You're looking at this from a developer-nerd POV. Everyone who's taken Marketing 101 could tell you this is totally wrong.

A correct analysis and outlook by key analysts would go like this:

Guy 1: Hmmm, so weird. We released Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, and it underachieved optimum sales forecasts!

Guy 2: Yeah, then we released a new Tomb Raider that was also called Tomb Raider but featured a franchise asset with smaller key distinguation features (i.e. tits) but reduced unenveloping requirements (i.e. little black dress slit to the hips) for improved total reception index!

Guy 1: I know! Recommendation to management:

  • New Tomb Raider
  • Lara looks like a boy in a bikini
  • Revolutionized customer satisfaction
  • 400%++ sales increase
  • More bullet points!

And... (1)

gaveawaymyname (934554) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353569)

new X360 games are 20% more expensive than new Xbox games.

It's so weird (4, Funny)

cdogbert (964753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353680)

Every time a string of quality games are released that a lot of people like, sales go up! It's baffling!

I dunno (4, Funny)

UES (655257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353684)

"'We are completely baffled by the sales trend reversal for current generation software,' said Pachter."

Yeah, it's a real question for the ages

LOWER PRICE POINT FOR CURRENT GEN

why are so many people in such a rush to buy games lately?

LOWER PRICE POINT FOR CURRENT GEN

Surely the greatest minds in the country should attach this vast problem.

LOWER PRICE POINT FOR CURRENT GEN

If only there was some kind of economic analysis possible, perhaps some kind of law of supply and/or demand that says what happens when demand is high and prices come down.

Re:I dunno (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353970)

LOWER PRICE POINT FOR CURRENT GEN

If only there was some kind of economic analysis possible, perhaps some kind of law of supply and/or demand that says what happens when demand is high and prices come down.


Man, you got me there.

So, in April my son and I bought three really cheap games for the xBox and the Gamecube, and I got a Sims 2 Open For Business expansion for my laptop.

You think there's a pattern there?

Right... (3, Insightful)

Brothernone (928252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353700)

Well, lets hope they actually take this as a clue that GOOD QUALITY and FUN are what drive game sales. This is not the movie industry, we are not going to spend money on shit we don't want. The sooner the publishers and producers figure this out, the happier we'll all be. Then we'll also have games WORTH spending the money on again.

Re:Right... (2)

glenrm (640773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353779)

Preach on brother! Oblivion is a great game and I bought after not buying a game for almost a year straight!

Re:Right... (1)

d!rtyboy (969507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353865)

Yea, like Superman 64: the new adventure.

/end sarcasm

Tax refunds? (2, Interesting)

caesar-auf-nihil (513828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353763)

I wonder how much the upswing in sales is due to serious gamers spending their tax refunds on more games? While taxes weren't due until mid-April, those who got their taxes done early in Febuary would be getting their refunds in early April, and, those who went to H&R block got their refunds instantly.

The Price of Next Gen (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353943)

I Wouldn't at all be surprised if we see a continued boost in current gen game sales following the announcement of the PS3's price point. Most last gen gamers who owned the PS2 where eying the PS3, and the large price of the new console could easily make some considering blowing the money they were saving on current gen titles figuring it'd be years instead of months before they'll be able to afford the PS3.

Re:The Price of Next Gen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354324)

An announcement made in May doesn't really affect April sales.

It's because of.... (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354164)

...the soaring gasoline prices.

It's much cheaper to buy a console/PC and a stack of games to stay home at night, forget about eating and take your mind off how you can barely afford to go to work the next day.

Re:It's because of.... (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15355735)

It's much cheaper to buy a console/PC and a stack of games to stay home at night, forget about eating and take your mind off how you can barely afford to go to work the next day.

You're a half-full kind of guy, aren't you?

Re:It's because of.... (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15356892)

Egads, how much driving do you do? At $3 per gallon, assuming you are driving the average number of miles per day (30) at a meager 20 miles per gallon will run you $135 per month. Compare that to the $90 per month you'd spend in the same conditions if gas were $2 per gallon. $45 won't even buy a used Gamecube and certainly wouldn't buy a new game.

And as you all know (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354264)

it's all the fault of piracy!!!!

Good games sell... duh! (2, Informative)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15355782)

So if you make some good games - people buy them. Lots of people buy them and sales go up?

Hrm.. interesting. Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?
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