USA Retail Preview for August 2011 - NewsVGChartz Staff , posted on 06 September 2011 / 5,509 Views
NPD is set to release data for the USA video game market covering the four weeks to August 27, this Thursday at 6:30 PM ET. Data from VGChartz for that time period is already available.
August is typically NFL month in the US market, as EA's Madden series launches with the hype for regular season football building. This year, due to the arguments between the millionaire players and billionaire owners, Madden did not launch in August. Since virtually nothing else of any consequence happened on the software side in August, the industry had a huge decline compared to the figures of August 2010. By my count, the lack of Madden in August 2011 accounted for about 70% of the fall in software revenue compared to last year.
Even without Madden though, it would have taken one other huge title to keep software revenue flat year over year. given users for each pre-3DS platform continue to buy less and less software per year on average.
Hardware figures were slightly more encouraging, although both the 3DS and PS3 price cuts appear to be having a somewhat limited impact due to the dearth of recent big software, a similar scenario to what happened with the Wii price cut in spring. Over the long term though, the 3DS cut will probably end up being much more effective since entire fanbases for various games have yet to move to 3DS and now have far more incentive to do so, whereas PS3 is a much more established platform already. PS3 figures in fact remained slightly down from August 2010, even with the cut in effect for half the month.
On a percentage basis, both lifts were respectable for August, its just the absolute numbers are not at 'strong monthly levels', 400,000 units per four week month, and neither 3DS nor PS3 look capable of selling 400,000 units over any four week pre-holiday period in the US anytime soon despite their cuts.
With hardware discounted, and numbers still mediocre, its becoming increasingly difficult to see the USA hardware market reach even the 29m units of 2010 - trends currently suggest 25m-27m units - way down from the 31.5m to 34.5m units sold in each year from 2007 to 2009.
Software also sold very poorly in August, basically across the board, whether on a multi-platform basis or a single platform basis.
Not a single title, even on a multiplatform basis, topped 500,000 units in August.
As bad as software sales were in August, there should be a huge recovery over September to November. Gears of War 3, Madden, Resistance, and Dead Island should all do at least as well as Deus Ex did in August, with Madden and Gears all but assured to top 1m units for the month. September also has a decent slate of more minor software, Star Fox 64 for 3DS, Fifa, PES, Kirby DS, and so on. October then builds on the major September software with Forza 4, Rage, Just Dance 3, Kirby Wii, Silent Hill, Ratchet & Clank, Battlefield, Arkham City, NBA 2k, and sequels to several Kinect launch games. November then follows with an awe inspiring variety of software - everything from Disneyland Kinect to Uncharted 3 to Call of Duty to Rayman to Halo Combat Evolved: Anniversary to Skyrim to Need for Speed to Lego Harry Potter and many others. Although September and October should be good for software, its not hard to see both slightly trailing the 2010 software pace. November has so much strong software coming though the entire market could be up even with hardware likely to continue tracking below 2010 levels.
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