2009 saw more U.S. console retail game releases than 2008 -- but only slightly, with 1,099 debuts this year versus 1,092 last year. That's according to EEDAR's Jesse Divnich, who's been discussing the data and its implications with media outlets.
"For just the current generation home consoles (PS3/360/Wii), 2009's release quantities increase the total availability of games to consumers by 55 percent," Divnich told consumer site GameSpot
. "Unless retail shelf space grows by the same amount--and it [won't]--than the retail shelf life for an average game decreases dramatically."
Divnich also says that major franchises in the Call of Duty
and Grand Theft Auto
vein -- "at least 50 games," by his count -- "achieve a permanent spot on retail shelves... which decreases the total amount of retail space available for newer titles."
A cost-conscious consumer means a more competitive environment for new games, says Divnich -- the number of new releases outpaces the industry's growth: "It does mean the average new release is producing fewer unit sales than in previous years," Divnich told the site.
The biggest increases in release volume have taken place across Nintendo's Wii and DS, according to the analyst -- whereas on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, new releases were flat or even slightly down, the report says.
According to Divnich, this is because of the rise in digital distribution sales, be that individual console downloadable games -- not included in the survey -- or longer legs for disc-based software thanks to DLC support.
And Divnich expects the number of new releases to begin to decrease in 2010, according to the report, thanks to industry consolidation and peak release trends from previous generations. And should streaming game solutions such as those offered by OnLive and Gaikai work as intended, the number of packaged goods titles hitting retail shelves can be expected to drop further.