Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, July 2, 2010

Traditional Console Game Sales Continue Lame

May sales for the traditional game industry were disappointing. While Red Dead Redemption and Super Mario Galaxy 2 sold well, everything else underperformed. Several high-profile games failed to hit 200K in sales, as was expected. It looks like gamers are making the big hits bigger, but they're not spending their money on as wide a variety of titles.

Which makes sense in hard economic times. Consumer spending in general is down, so it's not surprising that gamers are being more careful with their dollars. This is probably also a factor behind the rise in free-to-play games, and lower cost games in general.

If this is the new reality, how should publishers adapt to it? Currently they don't seem to be changing anything, except perhaps hoping that increased marketing budgets might make one of their titles into the lucky few superstars. A more logical effort that can be implemented in a short timeframe might be to produce more DLC for your hit titles, both to encourage sales of the title and to bring in more revenue.

In the longer view, making investments into new growth areas of gaming makes sense, and Electronic Arts has been doing this. Taking some of their marquee titles (like FIFA) into the social gaming arena is a good first step. We'll know real change is happening when we see EA turn Madden into a subscription model game.

For smaller publishers, these May sales are one more indicator that change is continuing to occur in the marketplace. Big publishers keep hoping things will turn around, but the more time that passes without a turnaround, the more likely it is that consumer behavior is changing permanently. Which is only good for companies that recoginze that change and adapt to it.

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