2012 was a rough year for the games industry, and it looks like 2013 is shaping up to be even worse.
According to data provided by NPD, overall sales across the entire industry were down 13 percent even when compared to last year’s meager returns, and a lot of analysts are already starting some gloom and doom predictions: while it initially seemed like the downward sales trend was merely because of the current console generation’s looming end, a lot of analysts are now predicting that things won’t improve much when the new consoles do come out, especially if recent rumors prove to be true.
The Xbox 360 was once again the best selling console of the month, for the 25th month in a row. Of course, that’s a pyrrhic victory when you consider how much overall hardware sales have declined, but it’s an impressive streak nonetheless. While Microsoft will be ending this generation on a high note, it seems like the Nintendo is having a rough time jump-starting their next generation: the Wii U only sold 55 thousand units in January, giving the system a worse third-month sales performance than even the Gamecube or the Dreamcast. The Wii U’s embarrassing numbers this month are even worse than the PS3’s worst month of sales. Needless to say, Nintendo needs to do something to turn their new console’s fortunes’ around before the PS4 and New Xbox hit, otherwise the Wii U might be DOA. Now, before all you Sony fanboys start gloating, keep in mind that the Vita sold even worse than the Wii U did during the same period: Sony’s struggling handheld only managed to sell 30 thousand units this month.
The software charts aren’t much better: the top 10 for January is dominated mostly by titles from last year’s holiday rush, and new releases, like Namco Bandai’s Ni No Kuni and Sega’s Anarchy Regins, both failed to chart. Capcom’s Devil May Cry reboot DmC managed to chart at a seemingly respectable 6th place, but Capcom has already admitted that the game is selling slightly slower than they had expected.
Ni No Kuni was reportedly the 11th best selling game for the month, but Namco Bandai hasn’t released specific numbers on the game’s performance yet. The top 10 is as follows:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II
- Far Cry 3
- Just Dance 4
- NBA 2K13
- Madden NFL 13
- DMC: Devil May Cry
- Halo 4
- Assassin’s Creed III
- Skylander Giants
- FIFA Soccer 13
Overall sales of physical games continued their dramatic decline as more and more gamers make the shift towards buying their games exclusively via digital downloads: while sales of game discs plummeted, sales of prepaid cards for Microsoft Points, the PSN Store, and Nintendo’s e-shop were up when compared to last year.
February might be a more interesting month in terms of sales data: Nintendo’s latest Fire Emblem for 3DS is apparently the surprise hit of the season (it’s still sold out across most retailers,) and it’ll be interesting to see if the previously niche-franchise manages to crack the NPD’s top 10. EA’s Dead Space 3 should also show up on next month’s chart as well, and it’s still up in the air whether the ambitious action-horror game will manage to sell better than it’s predecessors or if the negative publicity surrounding the game’s use of microtransactions will effect its popularity.