How's it going guys!? This week I wanted to talk about something I started to notice late last year, and continued into the early part of this year. While I was listening to my various gaming podcast and websites, I started to notice a dip in video game sales. I wondered, "What could be causing this dip in video game sales?”. Here are five reason why I think this could be happening. Let's talk about it. Give me a shout over on Twitter. You can reach me @WebHeadNick86 or @Nerd_901. All the best everyone.
A report came out in early December of last year. It stated that games took a 24% dip in numbers in the month of November. November is known in the gaming community to be one of the busier months of the year in gaming sales. Well, last year the numbers were at $1.97 billion in sales. That may seem to be a lot at first glance, but in comparison to 2015 when the sales were at $2.6 billion, that is a significant difference. I wouldn’t say it's anything to hit the panic button about, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on for the years to come.
Take for instance the new Resident Evil game. The seventh game in this illustrious gaming series has shipped 2.5 million copies. That seems to be trending lower than both Resident Evil 5 and 6. Both games to be considered less than stellar to most critics inside the gaming industry. This current trend with RE7 caused shares in Capcom to drop 6.5%. Seeing a report like that has caused me to look into the industry a bit and think of different reason why we are seeing this dip in game sales.
Twitch is possibly one of the most amazing gaming stream services we have ever seen. This platform allows many gamers around the world to not only connect with another, but to make a profit. Twitch users can be some of the best gamers in the world at certain genres. Over time they start to gain followers, and the more followers they gain eventually they can link PayPal to their account to turn a profit. Basically, the more followers you have add up to more subscribers and equal out to making more money.
The reason I feel like Twitch has a hand in the dip of sales has to do with the service it provides. A popular Twitch streamer can be playing the newest game, like RE7, and play through its entirety. This lets other video game fans who may not have the time or money to stay current with what's going on in the gaming world. It's as easy as tuning into an app to see how a game plays out. Someone like myself, who hasn't played much of a series like Resident Evil or Final Fantasy can easily watch someone streaming it to know how it all ends. That all being said, it could easily be seen why Twitch could have a direct line to the decline in gaming sales. There is no reason to go out and get every new game if all you have to do is log into this service (for free I might add) and watch your favorite streamer knock out a game of your interest.
Earlier I mentioned about a gaming fan possibly not being able to afford newer games. I think that obviously has a huge part in the lower sales numbers. A G.O.B or "Gamer on a Budget" makes up a good portion of the video gaming ecochamber. The hit to our economy years ago, hit everywhere, including the gaming industry. Many gamers that wanted to stay current in new releases had to make other priorities at the top of their list. Spending $50 to $65 every month or so could not cut it anymore. This is not news to anyone of course. Though, still that doesn't mean it has gotten any better. People continue to get back to some normalcy, and buying video games still sit at the bottom of their list.
I feel like this reason could go in hand with the previous one. Companies like Redbox or GameFly understand that purchasing a game at $65 can take a toll on the bank account. That is why they have decided to dip into the video game world. Redbox was known at first for renting movies for cheap. Hell, it basically put Blockbuster out of business. Not too long did they figure out another way to add money to their stocks. Gamers wanted a different way to get the newer games. Even if it was only for a couple days they wanted to be a part of the conversation. So, for a mere $3.29 a day video game fans were back in business. Blockbuster rented games at almost $6 a day!
Redbox doesn’t always get the rights to these games right away. Sometimes you would have to wait a few weeks to even get some of the games to their kiosk. Though over the past couple of years they have gotten better at gaining the rights to some of the marquee games. I am a huge fan of this service. I have used this many times in the past. Every Madden or Call of Duty game that has released in the past 3 years I have rented through Redbox. I happen to be one of those G.O.Bs I talked about earlier. So, with annual games like Madden or COD the best way for me to play them are through Redbox.
I mentioned GameFly earlier. This services works basically like Netflix. You can have physically copies of games sent to you or you can stream them. This has been taking away from people having to buy games new. GameFly charges $15 a month for a one game rental. They have different pay options that allow customers to have two or three games out at once. Of course, that comes at a higher price. I’ve used GameFly a couple times in the past. The only issue I have with them is availability. Sometimes I would have to wait weeks to even receive a game, notably, most of the newer games.
It feels weird to live in a world where there are too many games. Seriously, it feels like there is a fuck ton of games out there. I'm not even talking about big AAA games. I'm talking a bunch of smaller, indie games that fill out PSN or Xbox Live services. PSN happens to be the biggest culprit of them all. Allowing any and all games onto their network. It feels much like iOS or Google Store on our phones (more on that in a moment). Kinda Funny co-founder Colin Moriarty put it best with his Colin Was Right segment from a few weeks ago. It's funny, if 10-year-old Nick heard me saying that there were too many games out in the wild no doubt he would kick me. Now as a consumer it seems like it has gotten to be a bit much. I respect people who want to be creative, but indirectly it hurts the market.
You knew I had to get to this reason at some point. Right? Ever since games started to be developed or ported to our smart phones, console games started to take a hit. Games like Clash of Clans, Angry Birds, or Candy Crush started to take away console sales quickly. These "free" games started to spread like a wild fire. People were putting hours and hours into these games. These games made consumers want to spend their money to get extra lives or the best tower defense other than spend it on the newest console game. It was evident that mobile games had changed the gaming landscape and the market that goes with it. Gaming companies now had not only other competitors to worry about, but now games are at consumers’ finger tips daily. It’s a double-edged sword, it was nice to see that everyone was a "gamer" now. Though, at what cost? Not to mention the rift that it has started to cause between console gamers and mobile ones. Another excuse for people to argue with one another. Just what we needed in the video game world.
Overall, I think that these reasons and probably ones that weren't discussed here could be the reason to lower video game sales. It could be a number of things. Annual games like Madden, WWE 2k, and Call of Duty could play a part in this. Maybe the hardcore of hardcore gamers are sick of the annual games. Maybe it has something to do with Nintendo being down. The original video game juggernaut has seen its stock and numbers go down over the past couple of years. Perhaps without Nintendo, causal video gamers don’t realize the industry still exists.
Sony and Microsoft continue to dominant the gaming market. Luckily, because of the brilliant minds at the two companies, we may not have to worry about the crash of this market for some time. Though, at the end of the day it's up to us to continue to help it thrive. I couldn’t start to think of a world where my son doesn’t get to grow up with video games. I know I will continue to do my part to help the video game market live forever.