The NPD Group posted its results for April for the United States market late during last week, showing yet another decline of over 30 percent in sales when it comes to both hardware and software sales, and it seems that the drop is a symptom of a wider shift in the number of games that big publishers are ready to release.
Doug Creutz, who is an analyst working for Cowen and Company, has attributed much of the decline to the fact that just nine titles were launched during April 2012 in the United States while during the same period in April 2011, 28 games were out.
The analyst stated, “The lack of depth in the release slate is significantly impacting overall sales. While smaller titles may not individually contribute significant sales, in aggregate they do have a meaningful impact. Crucially, the major publishers have geared their expense structures for more limited release slates.”
Creutz added, “Thus, while the lower overall sales figures are a negative for game retailers and hardware manufacturers (who collect software royalties), we believe the U.S. publishers can continue to grow earnings despite declining industry sales. We believe that reduced industry competition is likely to be a positive for incumbent publishers when the next hardware cycle begins.”
The NPD Group numbers have shown that the top six video games in April 2011 have posted higher sales than those of Prototype 2
, the action adventure open world game from Activision, which topped the top ten during the previous month.
Most analysts expect to see a rebound during May, when Blizzard finally launches Diablo III and Rockstar will release Max Payne 3
Despite the positive trend, 2012 is expected to be an overall bad time for the industry, especially if neither Microsoft nor Sony officially announces new next-generation gaming platforms.