Video Games Sales Down – How come?

Video Games Sales Down – How come?  DownArrowGraph

Video game sales were down in November 2012 compared to the same period last year.  Sales were down 11%, from $2.87B in Nov. 2011 to $2.55B last month.  With a lot of great games coming out last month, how come sales were down so much?

Such a significant drop in sales is alarming, especially considering this is a the prime time of the year for video game sales.  Top selling titles like Halo 4, Black Ops 2, and even Assassin’s Creed 3 (it released on October 30th) sold very well, and yet game sales were still down in November.  There was even the Nintendo Wii U console release, a next-gen system that featured an attractive price and strong launch lineup which included New Super Mario Bros. U and other great titles.  Even with these major titles and new system, the industry still witnessed a significant drop off, a cause of concern for console manufacturers and game developers.

Part of the reason for this sales decline could be the popularity of the games at the top.  Take for example Call of Duty:  Black Ops 2.  The game reached $1B in sales in just 15 days.  While this is great for Treyarch and Activision, it also represents a hurdle that is possibly insurmountable for other games releasing around the same time.  It’s plausible that Grand Theft Auto V even pushed back its release date to avoid overlapping with the Call of Duty giant.  Many fans of the game play it year-round, to the point that games they might normally have purchased are passed over.  Add to that the fact that the game has a steady dose of DLC and it’s easy to see how people can “get by,” with just a few games per year.  As a result, overall game sales suffer.

Halo 4 had a great month. Other games?  Not so much.

Halo 4 had a great month. Other games? Not so much.

Despite the fact that the Wii U released, there could be some fans who are more reserved now as they wait for the other next-gen systems to come out.  The Xbox 720 and the PS4 (or Orbis) have drawn considerable attention, and even though they’re still quite some time away, some fans could be dialing back their current gaming needs and waiting for the next big thing to arrive.  Such a line of reasoning would further support playing just a few games exclusively, i.e. playing Black Ops 2 primarily for the majority of the year, and getting only the games that you’re most excited about.  Consequently, game sales will be stagnant or fall in anticipation of the better technology that is on the way.

Which games did you buy during November?  Were you among the millions that got Halo 4 or Black Ops 2, or possibly one of the lucky ones that snatched up a Wii U?

Robert Birmingham is Editor-in-chief at



One thought on “Video Games Sales Down – How come?

  1. Pingback: When will the next Xbox and PlayStation come out? « flydrs

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