On the whole, the games industry took a hit to revenues to the tune of eight percent last year. A small number though that may be, it counts as millions of dollars when talking about numbers close to the billions. Naturally, when people don’t make as much money as they used to, they try to find the reasons behind it. Here to explain the sales woes of videogames in 2009 are some choice industry analysts.
The music game genre seems to be taking a lot of the flak for the year. Among several analysts, Michael Pachter stated that taking the music genre’s losses out of the equation would show a steadily growing industry. He adds that the genre’s $1.66 billion revenue from the previous year was just “not sustainable.”
Jesse Divinich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research said the slumping music genre was “likely the biggest factor,” but also explained that a lack of innovation had a pretty big hand in it as well.
“All too often the economy is blamed for the recent industry contraction. In reality, decreased sales in 2009 had more to do with a lack of innovation than economic recession. The growth of our industry now rests more on innovation than it ever has before, especially since nontraditional and casual markets consist of a larger share than in previous years. No longer can developers update a few maps, design some new weapons, add a few new characters, then throw a roman numeral at the end of the box and call it a ‘sequel.'”
Some interesting stats are also mentioned. With most casual-oriented games such as Boom Blox, Guitar Hero 3, or Cooking Mama, sequels tend to not perform as well as the originals. Also, M-rated games are some of the most consistently well-selling titles, suggesting that hardcore action games are more likely to get away with less innovation than titles aimed at wider audiences.
The outlook for the coming year is that it’s looking to be one that will rake in more money, though how fast isn’t quite agreed upon. I’d wager the quality of games like Mass Effect 2 can make for at least a decent start.