Jeffrey Grubb on the latest numbers from the NPD Group:
Gamers and holiday shoppers were obviously drawn to retail outlets to pick up the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems from Microsoft and Sony. While those new boxes sold well, the Xbox One’s $500 price and PlayStation 4′s $400 price left little for consumers to spend on games.
Software sales were down 17 percent from $1.54 billion in 2012 to $1.2 billion in 2013. Essentially, consumers are spending just a little bit more on gaming, but most of that is going into buying the new systems.
This strikes me as a much more optimistic take than it should be. Yes, hardware sales were up — but only 28 percent over last year, despite the first two major console launches from Sony and Microsoft in seven years. And yes, there was talk of supply constraints, but these consoles are also significantly more expensive than their predecessors and sales were still only up 28 percent.
The fact that game sales were down 17 percent despite the aforementioned information is an awful sign. They’re blaming it on consumers spending too much money on the consoles, but it’s clearly more about a lack of must-have games — and the overall trend downward continuing for the industry.
Watch what happens next. My guess is that it’s not only Nintendo who starts to see red…