Videogame sales are down, down, DOWN!

Sales of video games and gaming hardware continue to fall: 17% down year-on-year. IT Blogwatch Extra tells you all you need to know in one page...

Yesterday, market researchers NPD said April sales of consoles and games dropped to $1 billion. Richi Jennings watches bloggers wonder what it all means for Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and their (ahem) ecosystem partners.

Not to mention more things with faces.

[Bit of a topic departure, isn't it? Oh well, I suppose it is Saturday. -Ed.]

Matt Rictel tells all:

This is the second consecutive month in which sales have fallen sharply compared with a year ago, suggesting that the industry is not as recession-proof as it had hoped. Software sales fell 23 percent, while sales of consoles and handheld players dropped 8 percent.

Todd Bishop can't escape his conclusion:

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the downturn is taking its toll on the video-game market. Year-to-date sales are down 4 percent.

Each of the Big 3 consoles experienced a decline in unit sales for the month, compared with the same period a year ago ... However, the big gainer in the console market for the month was the long-lasting PlayStation 2. Sales of the ancient Sony console benefitted from its $99 price.

Dan Frommer knew the Economics 101 module would come in handy:

The cheaper PS2 may have also cut into Nintendo Wii sales, which was the whole plan. Nintendo Wii [sales were] ... down 52% year-over-year.

Price elasticity at work! And exactly why Sony is finally preparing to cut prices on the PS3.

Eric Savitz runs the numbers:

In the hardware sector, the Nintendo Wii sold 340,000 units, down sharply from 601,000 in March, while the Microsoft Xbox 360 sold 175,000 units, down from 330,000 in March. Sony sold 172,000 Playstation 2 units and 127,000 Playstation 3 units in the month; that compares to March sales of 112,000 PS2s and 218,000 PS3s.
Among the handhelds, Sony sold 116,000 PSPs, down from 168,000 in March, while Nintendo sold 1.04 million DS units, up from 563,000. The big jump in DS units reflects the debut of the new DSi.

Ben Kuchera notes the Nintendo news:

The Nintendo DS line of products absolutely crushed the competition this month. ... The question is, how many of those 1.04 million units were DS Lites, and how many were the new DSi systems? ... It turns out that the DSi fueled last month's sales far more than anyone had assumed.
For any piece of hardware, that's a successful launch. For an updated DS unit that faced strong criticism on pricing, that's amazing. ... Anecdotally, it also seems that that many people aren't getting rid of the older system when they buy their DSi. Instead, we're seeing the DS Lite systems being passed down to family members. That's further expands Nintendo's reach.

But Troy Wolverton sounds a note of caution:

It would probably be wise, though, not to read too much into the the latest data.

April 2008 was a particularly strong month for video game sales, boosted by “Grand Theft Auto IV” for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and “SuperSmash Bros” and “Mario Kart” for the Wii. This April didn’t see the release of any titles that were remotely comparable.

So what's your take? Get involved and leave a comment.

And finally...

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter or FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: contact Richi.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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