So did you buy any videogames last month? No? You’re in good company. It doesn’t look like many people picked up fresh new copies of Super Street Fighter IV or Splinter Cell: Conviction, because the industry trackers over at NPD Group are saying the sales dropped a whole 26 percent from last April’s.
Analysts are attempting to conjure up explanations for the slip, though there seems to be no concrete cause. Wedbush’s Michael Pachter called the numbers “baffling.” He added that while it’d be easy to blame it on a sparse lineup, and that the one big hit of the month, Splinter Cell, was exclusive to Xbox 360, he feels there is more to it.
“…the results suggest something is terribly wrong… Unfortunately, we are at a loss to identify precisely what was wrong, given relatively robust sales for the three months prior, decent weather, an improving economy, and a deep catalog of recently released titles…As we cannot explain the reasons for the shortfall, we can only conclude that April was a fluke, with many core gamers enjoying recently purchased games and looking forward to new releases coming out in May.”
Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research says that while the numbers are “depressing,” the overall outlook for the industry is still good. He also points out, however, that it does spell greater pressure on what we will see at E3, specifically from Project Natal, PlayStation Move, and the Nintendo 3DS.
“If these technologies fail to generate the excitement and anticipation needed for medium term sales performance improvements, this may accelerate the completion of this current hardware cycle.”
Here’s hoping it was a fluke. As neat as a new hardware cycle/console generation would be, if it’s because of harsh financial times, I can’t help but think that’d mean more expenses passed to loving consumers, and $60 still feels expensive to me.