The video games of Winter 2012

The video gaming industry always has a lot of ups and downs, but this upcoming Fall/Winter season should be very successful for a number of industry heavyweights.

In the lead will obviously be Halo 4 and Call of Duty 2: Black Ops, but Madden NFL 13, which came out in August, also got good notices, and there’s plenty of other promising games to come.


The list includes Borderlands 2 (due on September 18), Street Fighter 25th Anniversary (also due September 18), World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria (September 25), Resident Evil 6 (October 2), Pokemon Black Version and White Version (October 7), Dishonored (October 9), Doom 3 BFG Edition (October 16), 007 Legends (October 16), Medal of Honor Warfighter (October 23), Assassin’s Creed Liberation (October 30), Need For Speed Most Wanted (October 30), and many more.


So before the next quarter in the gaming business really gets rolling, the Associated Press recently put together a report for how the biz has been doing this year, and so far it looks like it’s been a down year. As the AP tells us, back in July 12, NPD Group, a consumer market research company, reported that domestic game sales went down 29% to $700 million, and it was the seventh month that gaming had declined. 

Console and portable software sales also were down 29%, hardware went down 45%. At the same time accessory sales were up 4%, and the #1 selling game that month was Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.


Then Microsoft reported on July 19 that 1.1 million Xbox 360 consoles were sold, a drop from 1.7 million in 2011, but Xbox Live members went up 15%. Near the end of July, Nintendo reported that they sold 710,000 Wii units, a drop from 1.56 million in 2011, but they are predicting 10.5 million units of the Wii U will be sold by March 2013.


Both Electronic Arts and Take-Two interactive suffered losses, and Sony Corp had a sales drop of 15% because PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable sales are down. Activision Blizzard reported that net income is down, although the AP reports that their “adjusted results – the more closely watched figure – easily surpassed Wall Street’s expectations and were much higher than a year ago.”


THQ Inc’s adjusted results also reportedly beat Wall Street’s expectations. In the future, THQ says it will be focusing more on action games like WWE and Darksiders, and will be moving away from games for kids. With the market down, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that GameStop reported a 32% drop in income because there weren’t enough new games to buy. But as we reported here on TG, GameStop is soon going to be launching an old school gaming service that will apparently focus on digital distribution.


Overall, NPD research concluded that by this August gaming sales were down for nine consecutive months, and sales have been down 20% for a $515.6 million. So the question remains, can this gaming quarter bring things out of the doldrums? Going over the fall video game schedule, Game Informer wrote, “If you want to play the biggest games of the year, your wallet warning level will be at Defcon 1 come the autumn months.”