Sales of triple-A video games have reached an all-time low.
The UK games retail market is 25 per cent down compared with last year. And publishers are aghast by the performances of major sequels.
One prominent analyst told MCV that sales are “half of what they should be”. According to retail sources, this year’s major new games are selling between 10,000 to 48,000 during their first week on sale. By comparison, in the same period last year the big brands were shifting between 35,000 to 80,000 units.
One publisher who has seen its latest triple-A struggle told MCV: “We are trying to understand it, but everything is selling well below what it should. It is an absolute nightmare. I’m not making half the money back I’m spending on marketing.”
Another added: “Nobody is looking at Chart-Track’s numbers so far this year and thinking ‘cool’.”
Even the chart toppers are performing below expectations and failing to match their predecessors. UFC 3 by THQ is this week’s No.1, but it hasn’t equalled the figures of its forebears. In fact, the original UFC outsold this year’s title 3:1 during the same period.
“There are some stock shortages at retail, but I don’t think that’s what’s causing these figures,” added one UK boss of a Japanese publisher. “The big games of last year are available cheaply. But also consumers don’t want to spend money, and we as an industry are not giving them any reason to change their minds. I will be watching Mass Effect 3 and Syndicate very closely.”