The month of April was not kind to traditional video games. According to the NPD Group, which tracks sales of traditional video game software and hardware, said that the industry as a whole contracted 26 percent year over year for the month.
Total industry revenue for the month was $766.2 million, compared to $1.03 billion last April.
“The industry experienced its worst year-over-year decline in April since July ‘09, and the fourth largest year-over-year percentage decline ever after September 2000, June ‘09 and July ‘09,” said Anita Frazier, analyst at NPD.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the decline. Was it a soft title lineup? Was it that nice weather caused gamers to not purchase as many games as they used to? Have social games caused a meaningful bump in what consumers are willing to pay for a gaming experience?
Considering that many video game analysts expected year-over-year growth for the month of April, a 26 percent decline in overall sales either means that the analysts are way too optimistic about the video game category or this was simply an odd, momentary glitch.
It will be interesting to see how the May NPDs pan out, considering a much stronger launch lineup. If traditional games continue to struggle, publishers will have to look at the impacts that social games are having on their bottom line and how they might be able to enter the space to keep up.