NPD: December Video Game Sales Fell 15%

As expected, sluggish video game sales declined for the fifth straight month, falling 15% to $2.98 billion from $3.5 billion in the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Hardware sales fell 17%, to $973 million from $1.17 billion. Software dropped 13% $1.14 billion from $1.31 billion. Accessories and game cards dropped 14% to $869 million from $1.01 billion.

Follow us on Instagram

Overall, spending fell 13% to $14.6 billion from $16.78 billion. A dearth of new gaming consoles contributed to hardware sales plummeting 22% to $3.9 billion from $4.43 billion; software dropped 9% to $6.6 billion, compared to $7.25 billion; and accessories/game cards dropped 7% to $4.1 billion from $4.4 billion.

As has been the situation all year, Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware platform.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare topped the software dollar sales chart for the third straight month, and closed out as 2019’s top seller overall.

“That makes 11 straight years that the Call of Duty franchise was the year’s best seller,’ analyst Mat Piscatella said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order finished No. 2; Madden NFL 20 (No. 3) and No. 4 NBA 2K20. No. 5, Luigi’s Mansion 3; No. 6, Pokemon Sword; No. 7, Mario Kart 8; No. 8, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; No. 9, Pokemon Shield; No. 10, Minecraft.

30th Anniversary Blu-ray of ‘The Wizard’ Due March 24

Shout! Factory will release The Wizard: Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray Disc through the Shout Select premium imprint March 24, 2020.

The 1989 film tells the story of young Jimmy Woods (Luke Edwards), who runs away to California with his brother, Corey (Fred Savage), while being pursued by their father (Beau Bridges) and older brother (Christian Slater). Along the way they encounter street-smart teen Haley (Jenny Lewis), and discover Jimmy’s hidden talent for video games, leading them to enroll in a tournament at Universal Studios.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The two-disc collector’s edition includes a new 4K scan of the film and new bonus features, including an audio commentary from director Todd Holland and never-before-released deleted scenes.

Follow us on Instagram!

Featurettes include “The Road to Cali-forn-ia,” a retrospective with new interviews from Holland Savage and Edwards, writer-producer David Chisholm, producer Ken Topolsky and more; “How Can I Help You? Confessions of a Game Play Counselor”; “A Clinical Analysis of The Wizard”; and a post-screening Q&A from the Let’s Play Gaming Expo 2019 with Edwards, Chisholm and Topolsky.

The set also includes trailers and a photo gallery.

 

Microsoft Unveils Xbox Series X Video Game Console Launching Winter 2020

Microsoft formally unveiled its next-generation Xbox video game console, dubbed Xbox Series X and set to launch at retail for the 2020 winter holidays.

The new gaming console, disclosed at The Game Awards 2019, claims to be eight times faster than Xbox and twice as fast as Xbox One with terabyte of storage and UHD Blu-ray Disc drive. The console will use the Elite Series 2 controller currently included with Xbox One.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility, allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you. Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way, something that is critically important in delivering truly immersive gameplay.

“We … designed Xbox Series X to support both vertical and horizontal orientation,” Phil Spencer, EVP of gaming, told GameSpot. “It’s bold and unique, very much like our fans around the world and the team of collaborators and innovators who built it.”

Follow us on Instagram

“This generation, we’ve really focused on 4K visuals and how we bring both movies through 4K Blu-ray and video streaming,” Spencer added. “And with Xbox One X allowing games to run at 4K visuals will make really strong visual enhancements next generation.”

GameStop: Surviving the Waiting Game

As the world’s largest video game retailer, GameStop has big expectations for new generation consoles coming a year from now from Sony PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox platforms.

In the meantime, the Grapevine, Tex.-based chain continues to absorb fiscal body blows as gamers halt spending on packaged media and/or explore digital alternatives.

Global sales decreased 25.7% to $1.4 billion in the most-recent fiscal period. New hardware sales plummeted 45.8%, while new software sales decreased 32.6%.

GameStop CEO George Sherman

“While the near-term top line environment remains challenged, we do not believe these results are indicative of what we would expect for the business in the long term,” CEO George Sherman said on the fiscal call.

As previously reported, GameStop has begun to divest operations in the Nordics, including Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

“While this will take several months to complete, we believe this effort will yield roughly $15 million in [pre-tax earnings] improvement,” Sherman said.

GameStop also reduced in-store inventories 30%, in addition to investing $115 million in the company and repurchasing 22 million shares for a total investment of $175 million in the quarter.

“Despite the near-term demand headwinds for current generation gaming hardware and software products, GameStop’s evolution as an industry leader to reposition the business model are on track,” Sherman said.

The executive said the chain is also in the process of “re-imagining” the GameStop in-store concept with new layout tests in 12 stores in the Tulsa, Okla. region.

“We’re very encouraged by what we are learning from the numerous customer immersive experiences we are testing,” Sherman said.

Video Games, Hardware Spearhead Record Online Black Friday Sales

Sales of soccer-themed video game FIFA 20 and NFL-based Madden 20 helped drive record online sales on post-Thanksgiving Black Friday (Nov. 29), according to new data from Adobe Analytics. The Nintendo Switch console ranked among the most-popular online purchases — as it has all year in the video game market.

Adobe said consumers spent $7.4 billion online, which trails only the all-time $7.9 billion spent a year ago on Cyber Monday. The software giant, which tracked the majority of Web retailers, is projecting $9.4 billion in online spending on Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) this year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Consumers tallied 39% of Black Friday e-commerce transactions and 61% of online traffic from their mobile phones.

Adobe said online Thanksgiving sales topped $4.2 billion, upped 14.5% from the previous-year period.

Regardless, of the e-commerce boom, more than 165 million people are projected to frequent retail stores from Thanksgiving through Dec. 1, according to the National Retail Federation.

“They’re making it easy for you to purchase however you want to purchase, whether it’s going into the physical store, ordering online and picking it up or ordering it online and having it shipped to you,” Sucharita Kodali, analyst at Forrester Research, said in a statement. Forrester partnered with Adobe on the data.

Google Stadia Online Gaming Platform Set to Launch Nov. 19

The new dawn of online gaming is upon us as Google readies the Nov. 19 launch of Stadia, the broadband-based platform affording users cloud-based access to games.

The platform promises to allow users access to major games heretofore only available on disc and playable on traditional consoles. Indeed, users will actually be playing games streamed to their PC, TV or mobile device from Google servers. Whether that ubiquitous access will actually be present at launch remains to be seen.

Online previews of the platform have been underwhelming with complaints ranging from limited titles available (about 22, but reportedly including Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Doom Eternal and Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, among others; poor 4K resolution, no multiple user play yet; no LTE network service, among other issues.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

At the launch, the only way to use Stadia will be through the sold-out $130 Founder’s Edition, which includes a controller, 90 days of the Stadia Pro $10 monthly subscription service, and a Google Chromecast Ultra streaming media device to connect with the TV.

In a media interview last week, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, said the next-gen Xbox Project Scarlett console coming from Microsoft next year would not be inferior to Stadia.

“I would say a learning from the Xbox One generation is we will not be out of position on power or price,” Spencer said. “If you remember the beginning of this generation we were a hundred dollars more expensive and yes, we were less powerful [than PlayStation].

“For us, the console is vital and central to our experience. A console should be designed, and built and optimized for one thing, and one thing only – gaming. This decisive moment of discovery is etched in your gaming history.”

Xbox Project Scarlett is set to launch for the winter holidays in 2020.

NPD: October Video Game Sales Fail to Beat Last Year’s Record

Sales of video games and hardware in October topped $1 billion, which was down 34% from last year’s record $1.57 billion month, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The tally was still the second-best October in past 10 years, and a positive for an industry undergoing change in how consumers acquire and play games.

Indeed, console sales continue to struggle as consumers await new editions slated to begin launching a year from now.

Hardware revenue plummeted 41% to $182 million from $308 million last year, while software revenue fell 37% to $620 million from $984 million. Accessories and game card sales dropped 16% to $231 million from $275 million.

“Year-to-date spending across tracked video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards has fallen 10% [to $9.3 billion] when compared to October 2018,” analyst Mat Piscatella said in a videoblog post.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Activision) topped software sales, besting The Outer Worlds (Take Two) and Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Nintendo). Modern Warfare has become the top-selling title in 2019.

“This is the 12th consecutive year a ‘Call of Duty’ game has ranked as the best-selling game of its release month,” Piscatella said. “‘Call of Duty’ remains the best-selling video game in U.S. tracked history by dollar sales.”

GameStop Reportedly Shutting Down Nordic Stores

Fiscally challenged GameStop is reportedly set to begin closing upwards of 300 stores in Scandinavia in 2020.

The closures have not been officially announced, but store managers in the region confirmed the move, according to Computer Sweden. In addition, an annual management conference was reportedly canceled.

The move comes as the world’s largest video game retailer contends with ongoing consumer migration toward online gaming and console manufacturers delay new product launches until late next year.

GameStop posted a net loss of more than $400 million — or $32 million when excluding impairment charges, in its most-recent fiscal period. Revenue fell more than 14% to $1.28 billion from more than $1.5 billion during the previous-year period.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We are on track to close between 180 and 200 underperforming stores globally by the end of this fiscal year,” GameStop CFO Jim Bell said on the September fiscal call. The chain operates more than 5,700 stores globally. Bell said the closures marked the beginning of ongoing re-evaluation across all company operating units.

“We are applying a more definitive, analytic approach, including profit levels and sales transferability, that we expect will yield a much larger tranche of closures over the coming 12 to 24 months,” he said.

NPD: September Video Game Sales Drop 8%

Sales of video game hardware and software continued their monthly decline, with September revenue down 8% to $1.27 billion compared with $1.39 billion from the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group.

“Year-to-date spending across tracked video game hardware, software, accessories, and game cards has fallen 6% when compared to 2018, to $8.3 billion,” analyst Mat Piscatella said in video blog. “Declines in hardware spending have driven the decrease.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, sales of game consoles and handheld devices plummeted 22% to $240 million from $307 million last year. Hardware sales continue to be negatively impacted by Microsoft and Sony not releasing new edition consoles until the 2020 winter holidays.

Software sales dropped 4% to $732 million from $761 million in 2018. Accessories and game cards fell 7% to $308 million from $328 million last year.

Top-selling titles in the month based on revenue (not units)

  1. NBA 2K20
  2. Borderlands 3
  3. FIFA 20
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  5. Madden NFL 20
  6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  7. Gears 5
  8. Code Vein
  9. NHL 20
  10. Mario Kart 8
  11. Minecraft
  12. Grand Theft Auto V
  13. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  14. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  15. Red Dead Redemption II
  16. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  17. Plants vs Zombies: Battle For Neighborville
  18. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  19. Catherine
  20. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

 

Nintendo Switch Game Console Tops 15 Million Unit Sales in North America

Nintendo continues to spearhead the sluggish North American video game industry as market rivals Microsoft and Sony ready next-generation consoles launches a year from now.

Nintendo Oct. 17 disclosed it has sold 15 million Switch and Switch Lite consoles in North America since the device’s bow in 2017. The console has sold another 10 million units in Europe, which combined reportedly top PlayStation 4 console sales.

The Japanese hardware manufacturer’s Switch platform has led The NPD Group’s monthly game market research data for more than 10 straight months.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The company said Switch titles have average more than 1 million unit sales each, including four that have surpassed have surpassed 6 million unit sales: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.