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US Videogame Sales Have Biggest Drop In 9 Years 310

Posted by kdawson
from the if-RPGs-be-the-food-of-love-play-on dept.
alphadogg writes "The recession appears to have finally caught up with the video game market. Sales of video game hardware and software were down by around one-third in June compared to the same month last year. After initially showing positive growth as the US slid into recession, the latest figures mark the fourth month of declines and the largest year-on-year decline in almost 9 years. 'The first half of the year has been tough largely due to comparisons against a stellar first half performance last year, but still, this level of decline is certainly going to cause some pain and reflection in the industry,' said Anita Frazier, a games analyst with NPD Group. She added, 'The size of the decline could also point to consumers deferring limited discretionary spending until a big event (must-have new title, hardware price cut) compels them to spend.' The entire video game market in the US was worth $1.2 billion in June, down 31 percent from the same period last year, according to NPD Group."
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US Videogame Sales Have Biggest Drop In 9 Years

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  • No good games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:08AM (#28730139)
    June was a dry month for video gaming. Not many good games were released (except for Infamous).
    • Re:No good games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thedonger (1317951) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:12AM (#28730171)

      Yeah, after reading the summary I though, If the video game industry needs sales of crap in order to be profitable, maybe the lesson should be make better games.

      Also, they should look further than the current economic situation. It is getting too easy for people to site that as the cause for decline.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jurily (900488)

        If the video game industry needs sales of crap in order to be profitable, maybe the lesson should be make better games.

        Actually, the good games don't sell that well. Hence the pile of crap on the market.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BakaHoushi (786009)

          Not only do they not necessarily sell as well, they cost more to make, too.

          Remember, you COULD work on an artistic, original game that blends genres, hire GOOD voice actors, take your time developing it and testing it thoroughly, or you can make a knockoff of a movie in 6 months, period. And it will likely sell better.

      • Re:No good games (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Haffner (1349071) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:35AM (#28730561)
        Same-month sales in videogames is a useless statistic. If there's a new WoW expansion, new Call of Duty, new Valve shooter title, new SSB, new Halo, etc. titles released in one month, its obvious the next year same month will be down, probably 50-80%. They must account for the games released during that time. This past June had no significant releases, so it makes sense sales would be down. This is not (necessarily) evidence of a recession. More info is needed.
        • Re:No good games (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SlashJoel (1145871) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:55AM (#28730853)

          They must account for the games released during that time.

          Precisely. And what was released on June 12, 2008? Metal Gear Solid 4.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by thedonger (1317951)

          Same-month sales in videogames is a useless statistic.

          True. Good statistical analysis has in large part - at least in popular media - yielded to sensational headlines and talking heads.

          An interesting study would be to compare video game release and sales figures (FPS, RPG, online, 'thinking games' like Portal, etc.) with the development of image rendering techniques, hardware advances, and anything else with a supposed effect on video game production or sales.

        • Ya (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:29PM (#28731297)

          I've never gotten why people like that comparison metric. I mean I understand wanting to compare to how you did last year but at least to a 6 month rolling average. Games do not come out on rigid schedules, it isn't like "On the 4th day of June each year a massively popular game WILL be released." No, they come out when they are done, particularly in the case of better games. So you have to look at the sales over a period of time, like 6-12 months. If less games are sold for the whole year of 2009 than 2008 then yes, clearly there is a problem for the game industry. However if one month is down, so what? Maybe it just means that something people really want slid a month.

          I know as a gamer I don't go around saying "Ok, it is time to buy my May game," I buy games when one I want comes out and I've got time to play it. That could mean I buy 3 games in a month, or that I buy no games for 3 months. It all depends on what is coming out when, and how my time is looking. Currently, I'm having to hold off on purchasing more games because I have too many, I've got a backlog. I bought games that I haven't yet got around to playing. Did that with Fallout 3. Picked it up not long after release since I love Fallout and it was on special. However, other than playing the intro, I haven't got around to it. Not because I wasn't enjoying it, just because I've been playing other things. However I want to play it, and I will, it is just an issue of time.

      • Perhaps lessons of the past haven't born the changes in the industry that they ought to have. I'm looking at you, Atari 2600 Pacman and E.T. The Extraterrestrial!!!
      • Looking further would invariably produce "it's the pesky pirates".

        It's a very human trait to look for the culprit outside of oneself. I.e. it's pirates. Not that I make sequels of games nobody wanted in the first place or that customers don't accept the rental system (aka SecuRom) DRM.

        Produce games that people want and stop including crippling DRM that people loathe and they will buy. I just recently bought a few old games for a total of less than 50 bucks. Yes, on Steam, and yes, it's a bit hypocritical to

      • Re:No good games (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BOUND4DOOM (987004) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:15PM (#28731129)
        I would totally agree with this. I mean I fit the demographic, I am male, in my 30's now own my own home, car, and I am employed with job security. What is keeping me from buying games.

        Simply 2 things.
        1. There are no new games out that sound any fun.
        2. Game that are out that I want are DRM loaded and I am waiting for them to come to their senses.

        That's it. Its that simple. There are games I want to buy and play but the DRM keeps me away from buying them they can thank Sony for me not wanting to install DRM crap to screw up my computer. So if you put DRM in it, to prevent piracy, you keep the honest person away not wanting the extra crap. The latest Grand Theft Auto was the first one of the GTA series I never bought. I wanted to buy it and I hate to leave that line behind but DRM, bleh.

        I did buy 2 games in the month of June, they were older out of print games put up on Ebay. Why because I wanted to play those games when they came out but at that time something else was going on in my life and I have so far enjoyed those games.

        Also games are becoming less fun and more just wow graphics. I still to this day play the first Age of Empires. It was very strategic and well thought out, the graphics sucked but I wasn't in it for the graphics and some of the games would take 8-10 hours to complete you had the ability to go in create new terrains and random maps was never the same terrain twice, ever, after all these years. The new AOE games, pale in comparison. They have funky cool 3d graphics but the same lands and terrains over and over again. Once you learn a terrain there is no challenge anymore. AOE 1 In the most difficult modes I can still get my ass kicked by the computer once in a while. The new AOE, within a month it is mastered and of no use, so I quit buying those lines. Supposedly there is a new Thief game coming out, and I always loved the Thief lines, this is one of my favorite lines ever. But if they put DRM in it I will not buy it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thegnu (557446)

        Also, they should look further than the current economic situation. It is getting too easy for people to site that as the cause for decline.

        Except for the people who are highly unemployed are in their core demographic? I and the middle-aged lifer with a family is probably buying fewer games, too.

        So I don't know. Sure, to be successful in business, you have to work to get your sales regardless, but you also have to be conscious of the context that your operating in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      Just June? My GameFly queue was empty for about 4 months. June is when they started releasing games I'd play again!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MogNuts (97512)

      I was just thinking lately, I worry about the future of consoles. With PC DRM, the general consensus is that PCs can't play games years later because most likely the DRM servers are unavailable. It made me wonder--and now I worry about the console even more. When MS/Sony decide to pull the plug on patch support for games on XBOX Live/PSN, we're screwed. I can still play FF 1 or Dragon Warrior on my NES almost 3 decades later. And one can still find patches or a patched PC game *somewhere*. But Oblivion or G

  • Well, I'm glad to see someone's correlating a drop in sales with the recession. If the history of the MPAA/RIAA is any indication, the game industry will claim OMG Piratez! and ask congress to pass whatever bill they want to make it punishable by death to pirate a game.
    • by eln (21727) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:27AM (#28730443) Homepage
      Movie and music piracy CAUSED the recession! Video game piracy is now contributing, and soon the entire economy will collapse and we'll all be reduced to cannibalism to survive and it's all YOUR fault, you filthy pirate! This is precisely why Congress needs to pass strong anti-piracy legislation, to include death as a punishment for severe cases and the chopping off of thumbs for less severe (5 or fewer minutes of copyrighted material stolen) cases.

      Sure, you might not consider piracy to be that big of a deal, but you'll change your tune when you're sitting around the burnt out husk of your home surrounded by a post-apocalyptic hellscape, stomach rumbling like crazy because you finished off the last of Aunt Sally 3 days ago and the rest of the family was eaten by a roving band of zombie werewolves. Maybe then you'll recognize the error of your ways...but I doubt it.
  • by XenoPhage (242134) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:12AM (#28730177) Homepage

    Watch.. this will turn into a big "See? Piracy is ruining the gaming business" blamefest... It's easier to blame piracy rather than crappy game design.. Of course, I'm sure the economy is playing a part as well. Although, from what I've read, people are reluctant to give up their hobbies, even in the face of a bad economy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sircastor (1051070)
      I was just about to say the same thing. Then They'll use it for further argument to fuel their DRM plans, further destroying business.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by apoc.famine (621563)

        And?

        I mean really, so what? Let them do it. Lately, I've stopped paying big bucks for crippled games. I've been burned enough by shitty and crippled and broken games that my price-point is $20. If it's $20 or less, I can justify the gamble that it's good. If it's more than $20, then it's off my list.

        This does mean that I'm not playing the "OMG JUST RELEASED MUST GET IT!@!!!!!" games. But damn...how many games were released in the last 5 years? What percentage did I play?

        In the last

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cashman73 (855518)
      To be honest, I don't think piracy is necessarily to blame here. Sure, there are plenty of pirated games out there, but downloading the torrents, installing them, running the cracks, and other stuff, isn't quite as straightforward as downloading a torrent of 15-20 songs on a CD and loading them into iTunes (or whatever you use). The only game I've ever actually "pirated" is Civilization IV, but that's only because the CD that I legitimately purchased got worn out, and I didn't want to deal with the hassle a
      • by XenoPhage (242134)

        I completely agree, thus my post.. Typically these types of reports turn into blamefests about piracy and those damn kids and whatnot.. In reality, the economy sucks and there just aren't that many truly decent games coming out.

        I miss the days of shareware when you could try a game before buying it. Nowadays, you spend $40-$60 on a new game for your shiny console and if you hate it, you're pretty much screwed. Most places have a no exchange policy, so the only real alternative is to sell it used. GameS

  • yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <blameme>> on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:13AM (#28730199) Homepage Journal

    Money's tight. And honestly, I'm sick of seeing games priced at $59.99. I can wait until they hit ~$30 and buy them then. I'm long past the time when I HAD to have a game as soon as it releases.

    So yeah. Lower the price of the games at initial launch, you'll make more sales....IMNHAAO (in my not humble at all opinion)

    • Re:yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TaggartAleslayer (840739) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:20AM (#28730341)
      No kidding.

      I used to regularly grab the must-have new release the day it hit shelves. Once they started passing my self imposed $50 mental barrier, I stopped.

      I just can not physically bring myself to spend so much. I'd rather grab 4 used games from last year for the same total price.

      I mean really, at the end of the day, they are just pushing gamers to Half.com, eBay, Gamestop, Amazon, and other used game outlets.

      Where the publisher could potentially sell two copies at release for a slightly lower price ($39.99-$49.99 is a lot more attractive than $59.99+), they only sell one copy and then the re-seller retail stores take the profits from there for many years to come.
      • by sunking2 (521698)
        You're ahead of the curve, for now. The only way your used games make it to GS is if someone buys it in the first place. As less people buy them new, less will appear as used, making them more in demand and raising their used price value. It took gta like 6 months before the used price in GS was cheaper than I could get it at Costco. You'll start to see this trend continue and extend.
        • by tholomyes (610627)

          It also seems to depend on the popularity of the game. GS always had a ton of copies of Gears of War, but I didn't see their used copies drop below $50 until the month GoW2 came out (which is foolish, really, because at that point I just bought GoW2 instead, which is a smaller profit margin for GS).

        • It took gta like 6 months before the used price in GS was cheaper than I could get it at Costco. You'll start to see this trend continue and extend.

          Continue, extend, and reverse. Either gamestop will have to eat a hit against their 500% margin on used games and offer more, or go kablooey.

          As less and less people buy games at $60, waiting for price drops, they will probably push back against said price drops, keeping the game at brand-spanking-new prices longer. If enough people don't get tired of waiting, they'll just sell even fewer games. The obvious conclusions are that they'll either drop new release prices, or slowly bleed to death.

          Since they haven

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jaysyn (203771)

      Heh, I wait till Newegg or GoGamer has them for $25 or less or if Impuse has a good sale..

    • If money is an issue, why not buy the game new, play it through, then sell it for half the price? That way you won't pay too much, you'll give someone else the pleasure of playing the game (for fraction of the cost), and you won't have piles of games cases lying around.
    • by Piata (927858)

      I've started buying all my games off Steam for precisely this reason. I've picked up:

      • Left 4 Dead for $45. I've played it a lot but wasn't worth the money considering L4D2 is right around the corner and L4D lacks content.
      • Empire: Total War for $25. I haven't played it much but it was definitely worth the $25.
      • Dawn of War II for $25 and I've played it a lot, probably worth more than $25 which means I'll be much more likely to pick up an expansion should it come along.
      • Fallout 3 for $40. This game gets a lot of
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        If you don't mind using a controller rather than a keyboard (I never really enjoyed using a keyboard), you can find a lot of these games for the 360/PS3 a lot cheaper. You can buy Left 4 Dead for ~$30 used easily if you have a few gaming shops nearby, and same with Fallout 3. The thing I hate about Steam (besides all the things about PC gaming) is the fact that their prices are so expensive. For example, the Orange Box which I can pick up for about $15 costs twice as much, and if you just want to play a cer
    • Well only console games are priced so high, pc games cost less!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Just this week Steam offered a package of old/ancient games for 50 bucks. In the fold things like Bioshock, Prey, CivCity, Railroad Tycoon 2 and 3, the XCom series, Pirates, Civ III and IV and a few more. Each and every single game a gem. An aged gem, granted, but they're still a hell lot of fun and they still provide a lot of enjoyment and entertainment.

      50 bucks bought me about 20 games. At least 10 of them games that I'd prefer over many of the current releases any time, and certainly providing me with mo

    • DNAS Error -103 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)

      I'm sick of seeing games priced at $59.99. I can wait until they hit ~$30 and buy them then.

      How do you work around "DNAS Error -103: This software title is not in service" once the publisher has pulled the plug on, say, a PS2 game's matchmaking servers after a year or two? Or do you stick to single-player or sofa multiplayer? And how long do you expect to wait for Nintendo's Earthbound to become affordable again?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tixxit (1107127)
      Am I the only one that thinks $60 is reasonable? Game development costs have only gone up, while the increases in game prices have stayed well below inflation. A movie costs $20 to buy. It entertains you for an hour and a half to 2 hours. A game, hopefully, will provide entertainment for considerably longer. I play most games I buy for at least 15+ hours; some CONSIDERABLY longer. Also, given how publishers have been doing, they really aren't rolling in the dough (for the most part). If you want to see a lo
  • Buying used games? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:15AM (#28730223) Homepage Journal

    I don't believe NPD keeps track of used game sales, and a lot of gamers will be turning to Gamestop, Ebay, and Amazon to pick up used games there instead of buying them new. I've personally been buying more used and even selling a bit of my collection as there seems to be a lot of buyers out there (and of course, more sellers).

    Games are too expensive to keep buying new. I let the suckers do that for me.

    • Perhaps everyone has been playing the oldest MMO for free with no subscription called Outside?

  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmail.3.1415926com minus pi> on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:15AM (#28730225)

    I realize that the issues are probably mostly economic (lack of capital both to produce and buy games), but here's my spiel: I just don't see the point. First of all, the games shouldn't be that expensive to produce. At >$50 a pop, if I find that I don't like it, it's just a waste of money. Maybe if prices came down, I'd experiment more. But now, I'm more than happy to buy games that are a few years old to save $20 when I know that I'm only going to play it for a month or so.

    Second of all, what good games have come out recently? I realize that it's a hugely subjective topic (I recall a topic on Slashdot a few weeks ago on graphics and video games), but honestly, all I want in a game is good gameplay and a nice multiplayer environment. And all my friends play nothing but Melee, I don't see why I'd bother playing anything else. That's how it usually ends up anyways; no matter how many games I have, Ijust end up playing one over and over again while the others gather dust. So why bother buying?

    And to add to the cost, so many consoles (especially the Wii) require buying extra peripherals, which will also end up going to the wayside. It's just not worth it anymore.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      TF2

    • by Blimey85 (609949)
      Good recent games... or somewhat recent... Fallout 3, Gears of War 2... umm... Call of Duty whatever it's up to now... 4 or 5...

      Horde in GOW2 is a lot of fun online. 50 waves of enemies against you and a few buddies. If you get a good team it's great.
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Second of all, what good games have come out recently?

      I like Knights in a Nightmare (KiaN), although it's not for everyone.

      Other than that, crap has and will always be released.

      And to add to the cost, so many consoles (especially the Wii) require buying extra peripherals, which will also end up going to the wayside. It's just not worth it anymore.

      Well, I just bought a Nintendo DSi after not playing games for years since the original Game Boy/PS1 - Metal Gear Solid 1 being the last game I played. I'm happy

    • by AndrewNeo (979708)

      I would have recommended Left 4 Dead, an absolutely terriffic 'zombie horror movie' game focused on co-op/multiplayer. Of course, since Left 4 Dead 2 was announced, I'd wait for that, but it's sure to be better than the original.

    • And to add to the cost, so many consoles (especially the Wii) require buying extra peripherals, which will also end up going to the wayside. It's just not worth it anymore.

      Every console except perhaps the PS3 (too expensive initial price so I really haven't looked into it much) does too and the 360 is worse than the Wii. By the time you invest $100 into a HD, $100 into a Wi-Fi adapter plus an extra $50 for all the accessories needed to play an online game (not to mention the XBL Gold subscription itself) you have a very, very, very expensive console.

  • by RobVB (1566105) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:15AM (#28730233)
    How long before they raise prices to $70-80 and up? I mean, it's obviously the best, no, the only way to make more money. Oh yes. The only way indeed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      Well, to be fair I remember paying $50 or $60 for new SNES games, and that was 15 years ago. If prices had kept up with general inflation, games would be costing $80-90 a pop today. I certainly don't complain about $60 for a game that I genuinely want, and if I'm not sure then I wait for the price to drop or rent/borrow/demo it first.

      • by default luser (529332) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:01PM (#28730945) Journal

        Yes, but the industry dropped prices with to move to optical media...and then promptly raised prices again because they added so much more content! I think the industry needs to realize that games don't all have to be 80-hour works of art with 20 different endings, all packed into that $59.95 wrapper. Give us games in the $30-50 range that have maybe 10-15 hours of game play, and I think players will flock.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      10 years ago the price was $70-80 for a game if not more. If I hadn't tossed the boxes for some of the games I had from back then I'd scan them. Some games like like Independence War, MechWarrior(1-4), BG/BG2 PS:Torment and the like you'd see a sticker price of $69.99-78.99

  • That's easy.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO (693085) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:16AM (#28730241)

    Most of the games that are coming out, suck.

    Plain and simple. The problem with developers is that they are confusing great technology with great games. They can go hand in hand, but largely speaking -- games need story, innovation, depth. I played Defcon a few years back and was amazed at what innovation was put into such a small game.

    Too bad the only thing developers do is give us some form of a shooter lately, and change the graphics and call it amazing. Bioshock had a good story, but that was like 2 years ago already.

    • Re:That's easy.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jim Hall (2985) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:39AM (#28730615) Homepage

      Most of the games that are coming out, suck. Plain and simple. The problem with developers is that they are confusing great technology with great games. They can go hand in hand, but largely speaking -- games need story, innovation, depth.

      I'd like to disagree - but I can't. I definitely consider myself a gamer, but many of the games that have come out recently just aren't that compelling.

      • Tomb Raider Underworld? Not that interesting - and too short, even though they helpfully added extra rooms just to give you something to traverse.
      • I thought Mirror's Edge would be more awesome than it is. Oh, it's a very pretty game, visually amazing, with great FPS platforming. Unfortunately, most of the platforming requires 100% perfect timing. Repeated failures just made me quit.
      • The Ghostbusters demo is way cool, but I suspect it's all nostalgia-value. I'll pick it up again in a month and see if the demo still makes me want to play more.
      • Killzone 2 was a ton of fun, but has little re-play value. Still, I'd rate this as the last really good game I've played. And that's going back a few months now.

      The games I'm really waiting for are the next Ratchet & Clank and the next Uncharted.

      Honestly, I'm having more fun with PlayStation Network titles. The price point is certainly lower, but I also don't expect as much out of a $10 or $15 game - compared to the punch a $55 game should bring. As a result, I'm not that disappointed if a cheap PSN game doesn't turn out that great. So I'm willing to take more of a risk for a PSN title than a $55 retail title.

      • Battlefield 1943 is entirely an online multiplayer game, but mildly addicting.
      • I thought Burn Zombie Burn was fun for the first level, then kind of stunk. But I don't regret buying it, because it was so cheap.
      • Flower was (and continues to be) awesome. I went back and re-played a few stages just last weekend.
      • I'm almost finished with Last Guy (and have been since the week after I got it) and just can't work up the excitement to go back and finish the game. I've gotten my fun-value out of it.
      • I got hooked by Pixeljunk Monsters, bought the expansion, then played about one stage of that before I lost interest. But I definitely got my money's worth on that game.
    • To me, when someone says this, it implies that they either are unreasonable picky, have a very narrow taste in games, or just haven't done any looking around. If you are the first, well then there's nothing I can do for you. If you are one of those people who has decided that anything less than perfection is failure then you will be continually disappointed in life. That is just how it goes. If you are one of the second people that is fine, but then don't whine about it. If you only like like a narrow selec

  • Recession (Score:3, Informative)

    by santax (1541065) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:16AM (#28730245)
    With 1.5 million forced house-sales in the US one should be able to imagine that people have less money to spend on more critical things, like food. So I am not really suprised with this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I just think it is a problem with blockbuster game spacing.

      It seems like every year, until this one, there have been some really amazing games that get pushed past there Christmas season schedule. This means that people buy some games around Christmas, and they have some choices for great games in the Spring and Summer. This year, nothing worth paying full price for is coming out until fall/winter.

      • Depends on your taste, this year for me so far has been great with two monkey island games having come out and Wallace and Grommit as adventure game. Btw. it is really amazing how many adventure games generally have come out lately.

        • Ah and add to that Trine one of the best jump and run games in the last years which also came out a few weeks ago.

  • by djupedal (584558)
    Recession, my ass....try game exchanges, emulators and the iPhone/touch.
  • With the lack of decent games (especially those that are playable under linux or wine) recently, I found myself digging out Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 to play.

    Waiting on Diablo 3 and the new Monkey Island though

    • by lxs (131946) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:25AM (#28730411)

      Diablo 2 ... Baldur's Gate 2 ... Diablo 3 ... the new Monkey Island

      Ahh back to the golden age of gaming where every game wasn't a sequel or a remake of an older game.

    • by Dotren (1449427)

      With the lack of decent games (especially those that are playable under linux or wine) recently, I found myself digging out Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 to play.

      Waiting on Diablo 3 and the new Monkey Island though

      Yep, I dug out Diablo II again the other day and even bought the digital download for the LoD expansion since I can't seem to find my damn jewel case and key anywhere (even though I have several of the actual CDs.. Blizzard jewel cases are always the ones that disappear for some reason).

      On a side note, I probably would not have bought that copy of LoD if the new battlenet account and purchasing system wasn't in place. Valve and Blizzard are my heroes right now for Steam and Battlenet, respectively, and for

    • by wjousts (1529427)

      With the lack of decent games (especially those that are playable under linux or wine) recently, I found myself digging out Diablo 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 to play.

      Waiting on Diablo 3 and the new Monkey Island though

      You know the first chapter of the new Monkey Island is out already, right?

  • Still Catching Up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:18AM (#28730301)
    Personally, I haven't bought any games recently because I'm still catching up on all the great games that came out recently!

    I'm re-playing FEAR 2. I'm playing FAR CRY 2 for the first time. Need to start and finish DAMNATION. Need to finish the LOST: VIA DOMUS crap-heap. Recently beat PLANTS vs. ZOMBIES. All whilst still playing TEAM FORTRESS 2.

    My laundry list for games to buy is long, but I'm waiting until I finish these! I want to play TRINE, I want to buy and re-play all those LUCASARTS games that just came out again on Steam, I want to start another MMO like the new Star Trek Online or Knight of the Old Republic MMO.

    This is actually a great time for games, for me personally.
    • by abigor (540274)

      Yeah, I'm with you. I spend maybe four hours a week on games, so they take me a loooong time to finish. I only just got around to playing Call of Duty 4! So I have a huge backlog of great games to play yet.

      I actually find games to be good value compared to going to a first-run movie ($12 for two hours) or even buying a novel (around $15), particularly since the resale values are so high. I sold Killzone 2 recently for $40 after buying it for $60. That's pretty good value, I'd say.

    • My laundry list for games to buy is long, but I'm waiting until I finish these! I want to play TRINE, I want to buy and re-play all those LUCASARTS games that just came out again on Steam, I want to start another MMO like the new Star Trek Online or Knight of the Old Republic MMO.

      This is actually a great time for games, for me personally.

      I've been on a Virtual Console buying spree, in fact. I'd never played Majora's Mask before so I grabbed that. I'm completely stumped by the Bit.Trip series (so simple and yet so HARD). And I love that Monkey Island and other Lucasarts games are back.
      New games on a disk in shrinkwrap... not so much lately.

  • Rent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:24AM (#28730391)
    I wonder how many there are like me who started renting games due to so many disappointing releases. Gamefly has saved me far more than it costs with games I might have bought and wound up not enjoying. I've been buying more used games as well. And I'm not even suffering to any real extent from the current economy. It's purely the result of too many "Holy crap, I spent $60 on this turd?" reactions.
    • by Aladrin (926209)

      I did, about 3-4 years ago now. After I bought 2 $60 pieces of crap in a row, I decided enough was enough. Now I spend $15-$35 a month on rentals (depending on how many good games are out there that I want to play) and probably save $30-200 a month on games. If it's really, really good I might buy it immediately. If it's just good, I might buy it later when I see it really cheap. All the rest just go back.

      So yeah, the game industry really shot themselves in the foot. Too many crap games, especially on

  • Innovation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by think_nix (1467471) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:26AM (#28730419)

    seriously ... I'm not surprised. What happened to innovation? Most games now are all sequels to previous games with better graphics or newer engines than the previous release and the principal is still the same. Where is the cutting edge ? Something new that hasn't been done before ? A must have, giving the player full control of the virtual world . I think back on earlier rpg's for e.g. The player was actually allowed to input text instead of choosing from some stupid presets. Think of this with today's technology. In the end its not really the development studios its the damn publishers and other companies funding development studios so they can have their ads on startup screens and rape the profits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      Newsflash: Games have matured. When video games were new, everything was innovative. As hardware evolved, and controls changed, things were innovative. There were a few ideas that made new genres... But most games these days can't be innovative because it's all be done before.

      The Wii was supposed to be 'innovative', but ended up lackluster. Natal... I'm betting on more of the same.

      And it's not that there aren't 'innovative' games... Every new innovative game in the 'casual' game industry creates a

  • I can only speak for my wife and I but there just aren't any new titles we want to buy right now. Last game I bought was Fallout 3. Since then I've bought all 4 expansion packs. Next game I was planning on buying was Bioshock 2 but now that's been pushed back. There aren't any other games I'm caring about right now. Between Fallout 3 and Gears of War 2, I'm happy.

    Maybe rather than blaming everything on the economy they should compare what came out this time last year to what has come out this year. I spen
  • by runningman24 (1172197) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:33AM (#28730513)
    a 1 month sample size? As a gamer, I can say that I had disposable income this month and wanted new games for my 360, but didn't see anything worth my $60. I ended up buying some games that came out last year used from Gamestop. You would also expect hardware sales for the major consoles to be declining, as they've been out for so many years now. There's nothing in those numbers that makes linking this to the recession, anything more than a random guess.
  • The problems discussed in TFA aren't being felt across the entire home entertainment industry [homemediamagazine.com]. Overall sales of DVD, Blu-ray and digital content fell just 3.9% in the first half of 2009, though sales of physical media fell more. Rentals are up over eight percent in the same period.

    High prices and the recent lack of diversity in titles have kept us out of the market for videogames. We own a PS3, but no PS3 games. We use it to play DVDs and Blu-rays, and to play our collection of PS2 games. Every so ofte

    • by abigor (540274)

      There are lots and lots of great, cheap PS3 games. I think I saw Dead Space the other day for $20. I picked up Rainbow Six Vegas for $20 also. Even Metal Gear Solid 4 is only $30-$40 now.

  • I'm sure that folks are being more careful spending their dollars these days. If the economy goes to hell and you've got less money to spend you won't be throwing it away on crap. But the problem isn't really that the economy has gone to hell, it's that there's just a glut of crap to buy.

    It seems to me that very few video games are actually worth their price these days. You pay >$50 for a game with good games have been released this year?

    Plus you've got the vendor lock-in... Gotta buy your console fo

  • I am a gamer, and there are plenty of good games out there. (Note: Good, not great, but Great games are very hard to come by). There just aren't that many new game releases right now. Most of them are waiting until it is closer to the holiday shopping season. I know I'm saving up for Halo:ODST and Left 4 dead 2 before I make a new purchase. Yes, the economy has hit me, but I still want to consume new games!
  • 1. Drastic increase of DRM disruptiveness and intrusiveness. This makes playing inconvenient.
    2. Gameplay did not progress at all. I would say it stagnated, which means, no incentive to buy new games. Maybe people are NOT that infatuated with pretty graphics, after all?
    3. Weak economy.

    These three factors don't just add up, but multiply each other.

  • It has something to do with the fact that developers continue to charge $60 for a game that's the exact same thing as the first version but with better graphics.
  • There's a recession, people are out of work (despite what some think, food and shelter are more important than gaming). Few good games have been released, (it's about the plotline, not how big you can draw the imaginary gun). MMORPGs supply ongoing gaming experience for a low, flat rate per month.

    I realize that these are hard problems to fix, but the "silver bullet / soundbite" method appeals to the sheeple that follow the loudest voice that keeps its words small. So we're bound to hear from casual or
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:59AM (#28730913) Homepage

    The phrase is a reminder that two events may not be linked, not proof positive that they're not. You don't measure below-average rainfall during a drought, and then say "Let's keep in mind, other factors could be at play than a drought!" A drought IS an extended period of reduced rainfall, by definition. Similarly, there is no question that low sales are linked to a recession, because they define a recession.

  • Any drop/gain will be the biggest drop/gain in X $time_unit. Markets cannot expand indefinitely, eventually there is a saturation. They will also go up and down. Statistics are not inherently meaningful. Trends usually break. Do they count sales of monthly subscriptions as sales? People are buying some games over and over and over and over and over and over. The more MMOs there are, the less NEW games people will buy.

    Wednesday i was older than i've ever been! Stop the presses! i've been getting olde

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:17PM (#28731171) Journal

    Here's a suggestion...

    Try selling the fucking games for more than 45 minutes.

    Seriously, instead of the normal price-dropping sequence, one thing I'm seeing a lot lately (mostly in niche games) is, after the really SHORT period where no one buys a game for $60, they just stop shipping it entirely!

    A few months ago, I actually paid $65 for a USED copy of Ar Tonelico since I'd missed news of its release and no one had it! Not gamestop, not amazon... it's nuts.

  • Kinda funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:03PM (#28731787) Homepage Journal

    While a lot of good points are made in this discussion, the central point is mostly missed. Reading headlines in the past few days, I've seen that manufacturing is down, sales are down, homes are being repossessed, people are out of work, hell, I am out of work. I've been working reduced hours since the new year, they finally laid be off 3 weeks ago, and no one knows when things are going back to normal. The wife has been working reduced hours since last thanksgiving. Money is tight, in my house, and in every house that I know of.

    I'm quite certain that a lot of slashdotters have pretty secure jobs, and they can continue to purchase such trivial things as games. But, the economy really does suck.

    There will be an article coming out in a few months, revisiting this same subject, but it will be "Game sales are down for the second half of 2009". Many of these same posts will be made, "Well, they haven't RELEASED anything in the last half year that's worth PLAYING!" But, a more people are going to put two and two together to make at least one (probably correct) conclusion: "The gaming industry has also been hit by the recession, they've had layoffs, fewer people are investing money in gaming, overpaid executives have been let go - people don't have the time or money to waste on gaming."

    Those of you who haven't felt the recession in your wallet yet just MIGHT consider investing money in the economy, rather than wasting your money on some new game. Of course, it's your money - do with it as you please. But, when YOUR job is outsourced to China or India, you may wish that you had spent more wisely.

    My two cents, anyway.

    Me? I'm not dangling at the bottom of the food chain, yet. But, I seem to be slipping downward right along with most of America.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:08PM (#28732691) Journal

    Didn't treat us PC gamers like Dog Shit [metacafe.com] we would be buying more games. I can say that while I once looked forward to buying the "big gun" games (Far Cry, Bioshock FEAR,etc) at release I know refuse to buy any game that isn't in the bargain bin.

    Why? Well besides the fact that they started charging $60+ a pop which is just insane in a dead economy, the biggest reason is this: I am using a 64bit OS, namely XP X64. Despite all the horror stories about incompatibility I have found even my old Win9X era software runs quite well in 64bit. Of course with 4Gb of DDR2 going for around $40 and graphics cards with 1Gb of RAM going for $50 32bit simply didn't cut it for me anymore. So what is the problem you say? Well, while the games all run beautifully, with nary a glitch or hiccup, the &^%$^&%$&^%$ DRM doesn't work in 64bit!!!! See how in the video above how the poor guy sticks the retail disc in the drive only to get "Please insert disc in drive"? That is pretty much every stinking game for me. Meanwhile the pirates get the games prerelease with no DRM and no bullshit. And they wonder why sales are down? Maybe if you would quit kicking me in the balls I might buy more of your damned product!!!!

    So now thanks to their wonderful DRM I simply don't buy release games any longer. I have found so many companies are putting out alpha quality code that even if you can find a crack at release often there will be a patch released quickly that you simply have to have to actually use the game, and who knows how long it will be until the patch is cracked? So instead I wait until the game hits the $30 and below shelves, with $20 and below being the magic number for impulse buys. I have found by that time they have released pretty much all the patches they are gonna so I can just Alcohol the game onto DVD along with the patches and crack required to actually play the product I PAID FOR so that when I feel like going back and playing again I have all the required files in one place.

    Maybe we will get lucky and this recession will teach game companies to stop acting like giant douches with crap like Spore style limited installs, DRM that is nastier than any trojan (and if you have ever had to clean a PC that is infected with Starforce+Safedisc+SecuROM you know how nasty they can be) and in general treating their paying customers like dog shit who should be grateful for any alpha quality code they deem worthy of dumping on us. Sadly instead they will just scream "Piracy!" and treat us paying customers even more like shit, probably screw the console gamers with nasty DRM tricks that kill Gamestop, and generally spit in the faces of those that actually try to support them by buying their products. Meanwhile the pirates will laugh their ass off with their release day PC games and modded consoles and think those of us that pay are total idiots. And with the way game companies treat us they kinda have a point.

  • by Trerro (711448) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:13PM (#28732777)

    All of the gamers I know play games as much as ever, and while the economy has affected many of us, gaming for the most part isn't a very expensive hobby, so very few of us are spending less for that reason. What we ARE doing is spending it in different places.

    The numbers can be explained by:
    1. The huge popularity of MMOs. Most people are active in an MMO put around half of their gaming time into it, at ~15 bucks/month. That means for the other half, you're more choosy as to what you're willing to buy - and it does also mean you're spending less over all. Very few $50 games are played for more than 1-2 months, but MMOs are usually good for several... a few years in some cases.
    2. Webgames and Flash games becoming popular. These ARE profitable games, but there's no buying involved, as they're usually ad-supported instead. Time spent on these games is time when SALES are down, but PROFITS are not.
    3. The fact that "US" is in the title. I've been seeing a lot of innovation from KOREAN MMO developers, but basically none from US ones - everything over here is yet another WoW clone, which means I've spent a grand total of 0 on US online gaming this year, and a good amount on Korean. Regular games are slightly better off, but even there, Japan seems to be making most of the games people are actually playing.
    4. The fact that It's no secret that EA destroyed most of the US gaming industry, and it never really fully recovered. People were buying mediocre crap when there wasn't anything else to buy, but as translations get better and better, we're simply taking our money elsewhere. (See also: US car industry)
    5. Indie gaming has become a significant part of the market... and likely not a part that's being polled for this article's numbers. Again, when the overwhelming majority of the big gaming companies suck, we don't stop gaming, we just take our business elsewhere.

    The industry is doing fine, it's just a few crappy US companies that happen to be 1)Huge and 2)Failing. No one will miss them if they finally collapse, and once they do, new companies will replace them - ones that actually produce games we want to play. In the meantime, the rest of the world is supplying us just fine - as well as the US through indie and other side channels.

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