Video Game Sales Strong Despite Financial Crisis

Hot-selling titles are bolstering the market even as consumers cut spending.

K.C. Jones

November 17, 2008

2 Min Read
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U.S. video game sales grew during the last quarter even as overall consumer spending dropped, according to a recent report.

Third-quarter total industry unit sales grew 8% versus 2007 despite the sluggish economy, according to NPD Group industry analyst Anita Frazier. "As would be expected at this point in the console life cycle, games sales are starting to take the spotlight even as the average retail prices of games increased slightly. Heading into the critical fourth quarter, the U.S. games industry is on solid ground," said Frazier.

The NPD Group, GfK Chart-Track, and Enterbrain found that video game software sales in the world's top three markets grew 1% in the third quarter. The United Kingdom experienced the most growth at 15%, while the United States experienced 8% growth. Sales in Japan declined 21%.

In the United Kingdom, console software sales grew by 25%, while portable software sales decreased 1 percentage point, according to the report. In the United States, console software sales grew 6%, while portable software grew 10%, according to Top Global Markets, a monthly report on video game sales.

"Taking into consideration the marked differences between the three territories, the U.K. market in particular is gearing up for a best-ever Q4 performance overall, even under the well-documented financial climate," Dorian Bloch, business group director of research company GfK Chart-Track, said in a statement.

The Japanese games market decreased 21% from last year, with 33% losses in console software, and 13% losses in portable software. Last year, Japan experienced 27% growth in the third quarter.

"Japan did experience sales declines in both software categories, but it is important to keep in mind that not only is Japan a more mature market than the U.S. and U.K., but 2007 was a banner year for the Japanese software market," said Ricky Tanimoto, global marketing analyst for publishing company Enterbrain.

Block said that consumers would drive the year's sales to "unprecedented heights, especially considering the lineup of exciting single and multiformat new franchises currently hitting the market, not to mention the evergreen portfolio of Nintendo-published Wii and DS titles, which have done such a great job of expanding the market to a far more mainstream consumer."

The United States was the only market to experience increased growth over the third quarter of 2007, with its 8% jump in the most recent quarter topping a 5% jump in the third quarter of last year. The United Kingdom experienced a 34% increase in the third quarter of 2007, more than double the increase in the most recent quarter.

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