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NPD: 5% Industry Decline

NPD's data for January shows overall revenue for the game industry down 5% compared with January 2010, reports Gamasutra. Word is: "New retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories totaled $1.16 billion for the month. With PC sales excluded, the industry drew a total of $1.14 billion in revenue, down 4 percent from the year before." They also note: "Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops was the best selling new retail title for the third month in a row in January, after selling over 12 million units across five separate platforms in 2010." They also offer a list of the ten bestselling titles for the month of January:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard) - Xbox 360, PS3, Wi, DS, PC
  2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft) - Wii
  3. Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts) - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
  4. Little Big Planet 2 (Sony) - PS3
  5. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) - Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
  6. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive) - Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC
  7. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) - Xbox 360, PS3
  8. Dance Central (MTV Games) - Xbox 360
  9. Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft) - Wii, DS, PSP
  10. DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony) - PS3, PC

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39. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 21, 2011, 12:41 Beamer
 
I was obviously turning his comments into what I thought they meant, I was not directly quoting him and you know that.

What he literally said is that the model of games that are "free to play" or rather "play now, pay later" is the way he sees the future being.

These games tend to be dumb, shallow, and are geared less around you doing something and more around keeping you in as long as humanly possible.



If this is what we're applauding these days...
 
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38. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 21, 2011, 12:18 Verno
 
Someone is getting awfully defensive over AAA decline this year. It's a down economy, use that.  
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37. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 19, 2011, 02:57 StingingVelvet
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 18:38:
Thanks for playing though.

But you're still wrong.
Nowhere does he say that consoles were wrong. And absolutely does he say that they "backed the big $60 console horse."

Here, I'll put the whole thing down:
"Through this last transition to the PS3 era... for a whole bunch of reasons that are worth getting into, I think it's fair to say we dropped the ball," he said. "Our IP deteriorated, our costs went up, and we didn't really have an answer for the rise in digital."

Since that transition, though, Riccitiello said EA has refocused by cutting its title slate in half, reducing rampant growth in costs and paying more attention to the growing digital business, moves that have helped make it the fastest growing public company in the industry, he said.

A large part of that turnaround has been an embrace of the free-to-play model, which Riccitiello said "on balance... in its current state of rivalry, is a better model than pay to play."

He pointed out that total revenues from FIFA Ultimate Team quadrupled from $10 million to $40 million when the price of the core game went from $10 to zero.

"As the head of our Playfish division likes to say, 'There's no such thing as free to play... it's play first, pay later,' and that's a very compelling model," he said.



Note that the word "console" isn't used there.
Note that he doesn't say "the PS3 and 360 were mistakes."


What he says is that free-to-play has been a better business model than pay-to-play. And then he quotes the head of Playfish. I think that has implications that go way fucking beyond "we made a mistake backing the $60 consoles." I mean, think about what kind of games are free to play. Think about what kind of games Playfish makes.

I think you'll find yourself preferring console ports over what's being discussed, and I think you'll find the type of PC games you love are lumped in with the "$60 console horse" you seem to mention.




By the way, here's the THQ quote that still sounds more like your original EA statement than anything in what you posted:
At the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference this week, THQ CEO Brian Farrell said the console makers must take the lead and start thinking about new strategies that accommodate emerging business models, and go beyond the $60 retail packaged game.

"What we really need, and we've been talking to them about it, is for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, if they really want to stay at the cutting edge of the games business, they need to adjust their business models to allow for these new consumer experiences. Consumers are going to demand it, in our view," he said.


It mentiones the $60 and the console manufacturers by name, at least.

I was obviously turning his comments into what I thought they meant, I was not directly quoting him and you know that.

His comments are obviously directly related to relying on huge $60 productions that sell at retail as a one-and-done proposition. Every major publisher except maybe 2K is trying to move away from that. By "backing the $60 console horse" I meant counting on that as the revenue stream of the future.
 
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36. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 18:42 Beamer
 
It's also worth pointing out that, when talking to GS analysts, you may want to emphasize how similar you are to Zynga, considering Zynga is the only video game company on Fast Company's most innovative list, Zynga is being considered the most valuable video game company and Zynga is the only video game company anyone has any interest in investing in right now due to their insanely rapid growth. Hell, last GDC was pretty much considered ZyngaGDC as the only thing discussed was casual games, and mainstream investors have caught up.




Again, you can gloat over consoles all you want, but you're missing a much bigger picture in these quotes and the reasons for them - a bigger picture that leaves you far less happy than you are right now.
Then again, maybe you're like ASeven and you'd rather see AAA gaming completely disappear because you hate these companies so much. You'd be happier without them and any huge games than with huge games not aimed directly at your narrow niche.
 
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35. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 18:38 Beamer
 
Thanks for playing though.

But you're still wrong.
Nowhere does he say that consoles were wrong. And absolutely does he say that they "backed the big $60 console horse."

Here, I'll put the whole thing down:
"Through this last transition to the PS3 era... for a whole bunch of reasons that are worth getting into, I think it's fair to say we dropped the ball," he said. "Our IP deteriorated, our costs went up, and we didn't really have an answer for the rise in digital."

Since that transition, though, Riccitiello said EA has refocused by cutting its title slate in half, reducing rampant growth in costs and paying more attention to the growing digital business, moves that have helped make it the fastest growing public company in the industry, he said.

A large part of that turnaround has been an embrace of the free-to-play model, which Riccitiello said "on balance... in its current state of rivalry, is a better model than pay to play."

He pointed out that total revenues from FIFA Ultimate Team quadrupled from $10 million to $40 million when the price of the core game went from $10 to zero.

"As the head of our Playfish division likes to say, 'There's no such thing as free to play... it's play first, pay later,' and that's a very compelling model," he said.



Note that the word "console" isn't used there.
Note that he doesn't say "the PS3 and 360 were mistakes."


What he says is that free-to-play has been a better business model than pay-to-play. And then he quotes the head of Playfish. I think that has implications that go way fucking beyond "we made a mistake backing the $60 consoles." I mean, think about what kind of games are free to play. Think about what kind of games Playfish makes.

I think you'll find yourself preferring console ports over what's being discussed, and I think you'll find the type of PC games you love are lumped in with the "$60 console horse" you seem to mention.




By the way, here's the THQ quote that still sounds more like your original EA statement than anything in what you posted:
At the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference this week, THQ CEO Brian Farrell said the console makers must take the lead and start thinking about new strategies that accommodate emerging business models, and go beyond the $60 retail packaged game.

"What we really need, and we've been talking to them about it, is for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, if they really want to stay at the cutting edge of the games business, they need to adjust their business models to allow for these new consumer experiences. Consumers are going to demand it, in our view," he said.


It mentiones the $60 and the console manufacturers by name, at least.
 
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34. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 17:23 StingingVelvet
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 15:33:
EA's CEO just said in an interview that EA screwed up by backing the big $60 console horse this generation... that's a pretty huge statement.

Two things wrong with the statement:
1) It was THQs CEO, not EAs
2) He didn't say THQ screwed up by backing the "$60 console horse," he said consoles screwed up by maintaining the $60 price point. Rather than games launching at $60 then dropping to $40 after 2-6 months he'd rather they launched at $40 and stayed there indefinitely. This isn't necessarily better for consumers, as many of us buy lower than that.

No, my EA story is accurate. The THQ thing is a whole separate news story. Here is the EA story: clicky clicky

Thanks for playing though.
 
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33. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 17:23 Luther
 
Oh and the ongoing complete global collapse of capitalism.

Yeah, that kind of puts things in perspective a bit.
 
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32. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 15:33 Beamer
 
EA's CEO just said in an interview that EA screwed up by backing the big $60 console horse this generation... that's a pretty huge statement.

Two things wrong with the statement:
1) It was THQs CEO, not EAs
2) He didn't say THQ screwed up by backing the "$60 console horse," he said consoles screwed up by maintaining the $60 price point. Rather than games launching at $60 then dropping to $40 after 2-6 months he'd rather they launched at $40 and stayed there indefinitely. This isn't necessarily better for consumers, as many of us buy lower than that.
 
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31. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 15:13 ASJD
 
The Wii bubble burst and the handhelds are old and stale.

That is the reason behind the decline.

Oh and the ongoing complete global collapse of capitalism.

Sources put Steam's revenue last year at $1 billion. Not huge but pretty big : http://www.devicemag.com/2011/02/03/steams-1-billion-sales-in-2010/
 
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30. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 14:19 badasscat
 
Ruffiana wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 13:30:
Not a single PC exclusive title on that list. Wonder why publishers keep targetting the consoel market?
Derp?...why do you think the previous posts were discussing Valve,...and why now I'm gonna mention WoW and Starcraft....
Also,...as a reminder....PC sales were excluded in this worthless "list".

Derpa Derp...
 
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29. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 13:45 StingingVelvet
 
Quicksilver wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 12:39:
I know Valve is hiding their financial data to stay profitable and independent but does anybody else feel like they're doing the industry a disservice by not telling the world how much money they're raking in?

I feel like PC gaming would have a good resurgence if the rest of the world would just wake up to digital distribution and the indie game market.

Publishers know what they are selling on Steam and that's all that matters really. Publishers have access to complete worldwide digital and boxed PC sales totals. They keep making PC ports, so we know they're profitable, but they also keep focusing on consoles, so we know we're in third place. That's about the best summary you're going to get.
 
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28. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 13:30 Ruffiana
 
Not a single PC exclusive title on that list. Wonder why publishers keep targetting the consoel market?  
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27. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 12:39 Quicksilver
 
I know Valve is hiding their financial data to stay profitable and independent but does anybody else feel like they're doing the industry a disservice by not telling the world how much money they're raking in?

I feel like PC gaming would have a good resurgence if the rest of the world would just wake up to digital distribution and the indie game market.
 
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26. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 07:40 StingingVelvet
 
Verno wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 07:15:
That or it's a telling statement of how the traditional publisher model is having problems. EA is a huge company with a lot of cruft and like other publishers they spend far too much money on marketing.

I think they have just put themselves in a position where they are built around making huge games for huge profits but the losses are immense when you screw up. Meanwhile smaller companies with smaller budgets are making a killing in the online, phone and indie markets by making focused titles for particular audiences.

On Gamasutra today the head of THQ is talking about the Xbox and Playstation being on borrowed time unless they adapt to this idea. EA's CEO said similar things... we've heard Kotick from Activision talk about games turning into services and how the consoles don't deserve their cut, etc. etc.. I think a sea change is coming, to be honest.
 
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25. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 07:15 Verno
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 06:07:
AnointedSword wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 05:17:
The bottom line is we do not know why the numbers went down. 1% could be increase in pirating...3% economy is BAD. Yes, some of you might not want to be reminded of the numbers, but it is bad. 1% could be the lineups sucked. Don't act like you know when you don't. With that said, have a wonderful day.

Well they have been down for a long time, which is what you call a trend. That usually means an overall issue. It could be piracy or the economy though, you are right.

Still, most companies seem to be looking toward online services and small games. Those people set the tone of the industry and are paid to analyze and guess, basically, so if they are all jumping ship to that island then it's likely a sign of what is to come. EA's CEO just said in an interview that EA screwed up by backing the big $60 console horse this generation... that's a pretty huge statement.

That or it's a telling statement of how the traditional publisher model is having problems. EA is a huge company with a lot of cruft and like other publishers they spend far too much money on marketing.
 
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24. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 06:42 InBlack
 
Kajetan wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 04:34:
Luther wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 03:51:
Besides, those platforms are so locked down that developing for them is too much of an unattractive/expensive prospect.
There was an interview with some guys from Relic some time ago. They had been asked, why Relic is still making games exclusiv for the PC, while all other stduios left the plattform, making console games. They answered, that they welcome every studio switching to console games, leaving the PC market for them AND that Relic can produce games for less money because of the higher costs of console developement, so that they dont have to rely on preferably high sales from the console plattforms. They did just fine. And looking at all those console studios, EA, Activision and other publishers closed, because game sales were too low for the costs of producing them ...

Be small, be effective, be in control. Dont sell out unless you will make THAT MUCH money by selling out, that you dont have to work anymore

AMEN! NPD has long become irrelevant with regards to PC sales and gaming, as many have noted it disregards too many variables such as digital distribution and worldwide retail sales.

How much of that 5% drop has been compensated by the increase in digital sales i wonder?
 
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23. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 06:27 Luther
 
>>EA's CEO just said in an interview that EA screwed up by backing the big $60 console horse this generation... that's a pretty huge statement.

Ugh, maybe I'm seeing the world through polarising lenses or something but statements like that just seem short sighted. The big publishers risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater as they close talented studios. I don't think many of them really know the value of the staff and the work they do.
Anyway, I think many studios would love to try more smaller and adventurous titles (using the technology and tools that they've spent millions making) but are generally prevented by publishers holding the purse string. The ones who've succeeded are generally those with understanding publishers or no publishers at all.
Basically, the guys at the top are getting in the way of themselves (panic, probably). They've been risk adverse and condescending for years and this is the payback.

 
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22. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 06:07 StingingVelvet
 
AnointedSword wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 05:17:
The bottom line is we do not know why the numbers went down. 1% could be increase in pirating...3% economy is BAD. Yes, some of you might not want to be reminded of the numbers, but it is bad. 1% could be the lineups sucked. Don't act like you know when you don't. With that said, have a wonderful day.

Well they have been down for a long time, which is what you call a trend. That usually means an overall issue. It could be piracy or the economy though, you are right.

Still, most companies seem to be looking toward online services and small games. Those people set the tone of the industry and are paid to analyze and guess, basically, so if they are all jumping ship to that island then it's likely a sign of what is to come. EA's CEO just said in an interview that EA screwed up by backing the big $60 console horse this generation... that's a pretty huge statement.
 
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21. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 05:17 AnointedSword
 
The bottom line is we do not know why the numbers went down. 1% could be increase in pirating...3% economy is BAD. Yes, some of you might not want to be reminded of the numbers, but it is bad. 1% could be the lineups sucked. Don't act like you know when you don't. With that said, have a wonderful day.  
If you were right, I would be agreeing with you.
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20. Re: NPD: 5% Industry Decline Feb 18, 2011, 04:34 Kajetan
 
Luther wrote on Feb 18, 2011, 03:51:
Besides, those platforms are so locked down that developing for them is too much of an unattractive/expensive prospect.
There was an interview with some guys from Relic some time ago. They had been asked, why Relic is still making games exclusiv for the PC, while all other stduios left the plattform, making console games. They answered, that they welcome every studio switching to console games, leaving the PC market for them AND that Relic can produce games for less money because of the higher costs of console developement, so that they dont have to rely on preferably high sales from the console plattforms. They did just fine. And looking at all those console studios, EA, Activision and other publishers closed, because game sales were too low for the costs of producing them ...

Be small, be effective, be in control. Dont sell out unless you will make THAT MUCH money by selling out, that you dont have to work anymore
 
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