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[Gamasutra's industry-leading analysis of May 2009's U.S. console hardware and game sales gives some perspective on the startling industry slump, also discussing Wii hardware slowdown and PSP Go pricing.]
It's official: the videogame industry is feeling the pain of the global recession, just like almost every other business in the world. Overall U.S. market was down 23% in the month of May compared to the previous year, according to the retail tracker, the NPD Group.
Hardware unit sales are down on every system except the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo DS/DSi, and coupled with the Xbox 360 price cut from September 2008, hardware revenue is down 6% so far this year.
Software unit sales and corresponding prices are down, and as a result software revenue is off by 8% from the same time in 2009. Even accessories are down 5% year-on-year.
Below we'll cover the damage in more detail but also point out some solid reasons to temper the gloom that currently hangs over the industry.
The latest NPD Group data shows that the U.S. videogame industry was down in every major category in May 2009. The top-line figures are shown in the following table:
Stronger sales in January and February have provided some buffer for the year-to-date (YTD) figures.
Many analysts, such as Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities and Jesse Divnich of EEDAR, still expect middle single-digit annual growth by the end of the year, but such growth will require strong sales in the second half of the year, particularly through the holiday months.