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Fallout From NCAA Lawsuit Sinks July New Video Game Sales

15 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A federal judge’s decision earlier this month reversing decades-old provisions of the NCAA forbidding financial payments to college athletes hit close to home in the video game industry.

Publisher Electronic Arts, whose popular EA Sports NCAA college football and basketball video games routinely top sales charts upon launch, last year ended its contract with the NCAA due in large part to the litigation.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon filed the class-action suit in 2009 contending he and other players should be paid for their images in video games. The NCAA has always classified the players as student-athletes, and thus prohibited from profiting financially.

With no EA Sports NCAA Football 15, July new physical games sales plummeted, according to new data from The NPD Group. EA Sports NCAA Football 14 was the top-selling title in July last year.

“As that title is no longer being produced, new launch sales declined steeply by close to 70% in July,” The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan said in a statement.

Indeed, total sales of new video games in July fell 15% to $178 million, from $210 million last year. The top 10 selling games in July represented 20% less unit volume than the top 10 in July 2013.

Hardware sales doubled to $198 million, stemming from growth in eighth-generation consoles, which offset declines in seventh-generation consoles and portable hardware.

“When combining life-to-date sales of Xbox One and PS4 after nine months, and comparing them to the combined totals of nine months of sales for Xbox 360 and PS3, sales of the newest consoles are larger than the prior generation by close to 80%,” Callahan said.

As a result, with hardware sales offsetting software declines, and accessory sales posting modest growth, total physical video game sales increased 16% to $514 million.


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