Gaming sales down 17 percent

Shane Kaiser

Despite the gaming industry’s great success in previous months, it was hit hard in March. High profile franchises such as Resident Evil and Halo could not even prevent the steep decline.

As we all know, the country is in an economic recession, and it has been negatively affecting nearly every industry as consumers attempt to save their money.

Against all odds, the video game industry has been more successful than ever during the last holiday season after raking in $5 billion dollars in the month of December alone, making more in one month than ever before.

To put this into perspective, last December alone made more money than the entire year of 1997.

With the amazing success from the holiday season, analysts had high hopes for the industry during the first quarter of 2009.

As March just ended, the gaming industry published extremely disappointing numbers of only $1.43 billion, which is 17 percent lower than last March of 2008’s numbers of $1.72 billion.


One of the biggest reasons for this decline was that hardware sales only brought in $4.55 million, while last year’s sales made nearly $1 million more.

Of the five systems from this generation, every console decreased in sales except for the Xbox 360 by selling 330,000 consoles, which is 68,000 more than last year’s sales in March.

This lack of console sales is very disappointing, but could be explained by this year’s disappointing slate of games.

Additionally, console accessories, like controllers and the Wii Fit balance board, fell by 15 percent.


The largest factor in this decline is that this year did not have nearly as many game sales.

By only making $792.83 million in March, nearly $200 million dollars less than last year in game sales, it hurt the industry significantly.

This decrease in game sales is due to the fact that this year’s lineup was relatively weak in comparison to last year, with the top three games of March Resident Evil 5, Pokémon Platinum and Halo Wars.

While all these games are very good, they are not the type of games that are a must-buy.

Many times when there is a game that comes out that is a must-buy, consumers will go out to buy the system just to play them.

For example, last year in March, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the best selling game. It was such a great game, many consumers purchased the Wii because of its release.

Sony was hoping for this kind of effect on their struggling PlayStation 3 with the release of Killzone 2, but it only made $296,000 in the month of March.

What now:

Despite the disappointing sales, there is little need to panic. This is the first time that the video game industry has really been affected by the recession, and there is a major possibility for it to bounce back.

March is usually one of the slowest months in video games, and there is a very impressive release schedule for this summer, with games like X-men Origins: Wolverine, Punch Out and Batman: Arkham Asylum.