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June Game Sales Fall 31% From Same Month Last Year

16 Jul, 2009 By: Stephanie Prange

Game sales are suffering from the recession and poor comparisons, tumbling 31% in June from the same month in 2008. Year-to-date sales are down 12%.

“The video games industry realized a significant decline when compared to June 2008, the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines,” said Anita Frazier, analyst with The NPD Group, which released the data. “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.”

She attributed part of the drop to consumers closing their wallets.

“This is one of the first months where I think the impact of the economy is clearly reflected in the sales numbers,” she said. “While the aggregate of content may not be as strong as what we saw in the first half of last year, and while the consumer base willing to spend dollars on hardware at the current price points may be thinning, 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.”

Software sales fell 29% in June, compared to the same month of 2008, while hardware tumbled a whopping 38%. Accessory sales fell 22%.

“The Xbox 360 is the only platform to have realized a unit sales increase over last June,” Frazier noted.

Sony has come under increasing industry pressure to cut the price on its higher-sticker PlayStation 3. The PS3 sold 164,700 units in June, compared to the Xbox 360’s 240,600.

Frazier dismissed any real effect from digital gaming.

“While some of the decline in retail sales could be a migration on the part of consumers to acquiring content via digital distribution, our reports on downloads and subscriptions reveal that it's not yet having enough impact on the console market to be an overly meaningful factor in the retail downturn,” she said. “That said, there are increasing avenues for consumers to game, including via mobile devices, and it’s clear the industry is sorting through how to manage all these opportunities while deploying resources appropriately.”

A recent report from Nielsen found thrifty consumers were spending more time playing games they already own and were buying more used games.

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