In a testament to a traditional holiday video game glut colliding with tough economic times, retailer GameStop on Thursday reported that sales of new video games were "lower than expected" because consumers' wallets just couldn't keep up with the strong release slate.
"The quarter presented some challenges in topline, due to a cash-strapped consumer that could not afford all of the good titles released during the quarter," said GameStop CEO Paul Raines in an earnings call.
Company president Tony Bartel added, "We had expectations for strong sales due to the great title lineup and record reservations. But we found that consumers were unable to fund the products that they wanted, as these strong titles rolled out week after week."
For the fiscal quarter ended October 29, 2011, GameStop still managed to post revenues
of $1.95 billion, up 2.5 percent year-over-year, and profits of $53.9 million, down 1.5 percent. Shares were down 2.5 percent to $21.95 in mid-afternoon trading.
GameStop's top performers for this most recent fiscal quarter included Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Madden NFL 12, Batman: Arkham City
and Dead Island
The slate for the current November through January quarter is arguably even stronger, taking into account launches of Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Saints Row The Third
and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
, all of which have exceeded management's "very high expectations," said Bartel. Also yet to launch this year is Electronic Arts' and BioWare's MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic
, due December 20.
As the end of the year holidays approach, Bartel said he's more confident that consumers will be able to scrounge up the cash for new games during the current quarter. "Recent titles are strong, and we do not see new titles falling off," he said.