$743 million may sound like a lot of money, but in real terms it represents a 14% reduction year on year of boxed video game sales in the US. Market research firm NPD provided these figures, which also indicate that May was the lowest selling month for games since 2006.
Of course this number fails to take into account downloaded titles, which are increasingly taking a larger portion of the market, and also that early summer is traditionally a slow sales time for games as people spend more time outdoors and the majority of big name releases are held back for September onwards to compete in the holiday maelstrom. The major exception to the rule this May was LA Noire which sold very well across both PS3 and 360.
Another couple of mitigating factors to these low numbers could be that the xbox live/PSN Call of Duty: Black Ops expansion pack, Escalation was released in this period, also the PSN outage hit which may well have persuaded some gamers to hold off on their retail purchases, or even to hang on for the free games they knew were coming their way to scratch their gaming itch.
“A light slate of new releases is at the heart of this month’s performance.” Said NPD analyst Anita Frazier, perhaps failing to acknowledge that both LA Noire and Portal 2 were a couple of the most anticipated releases of the year. It remains to be seen whether these numbers pick up, with some blockbusters on their way soon, as well as a pickup in quantity and quality of 3DS releases and the Vita on its way. Are boxed games dying? Tell us what you think.