Games retail picks up for Christmas after Black Friday hangover

Black Friday was huge for physical games retailers, a wild party that saw unit sales shoot up by 181 per cent week-on-week. The last couple of weeks have inevitably been comparatively slow, although still well up on what came before the sales frenzy. Now, in time for Christmas the market is once again growing week-on-week as last-minute Christmas buying kicks ins.

The 9 per cent growth in value last week came on the back of 14 per cent growth in units. That suggest that once again, price reductions have had some part in driving up sales. Ubisoft played a key role in this with Steep and Watch Dogs 2 shooting up the charts with unit growths of 60 per cent and 73 per cent respectively. Steep was available for just 25 at both GAME and Amazon, just over 2 weeks after release. Dishonored 2 also benefitted from aggressive price cuts with a 69 per cent rise in sales – we saw GAME selling it for as little as 23 in store.

Call of Duty held the top spot, for the 7th time in its history, and a sales jump of 48 per cent shows that it’s still the go-to title for many when it comes to buying a last minute present – that was well ahead of FIFA’s 5 per cent sales bump, though that title has been out for far longer of course.

Year-on-year figures (to date) for physical sales still don’t make for great reading. The market is down roughly 14 per cent in terms of both units and sales. Some of that cash has inevitably switched over to digital sales, but the real story is the death of legacy formats.

In terms of value, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U all plummeted. Sadly, these drops weren’t countered by growth in PS4 and Xbox One, which stayed largely steady to date. One big winner was the Nintendo 3DS, which is 40.3 per cent up year-on-year (to date, value). Though that stat does underline the formats over-reliance on occasional, big, first-party titles – in this case Pokemon.

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