news\ Jan 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Pachter: Gamer fatigue and Nintendo weakness contribute to disappointing December sales


A disappointing 2012 for the gaming industry came to a close last week, but for many in the industry not soon enough. Although the NPD Group won't release its December 2012 sales report until Thursday, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter gave a brief preview of what to expect. Warning: it doesn't look good.

In an NPD preview note, Pachter estimated an 11% decline in console software sales to which he attributed "continuing gamer fatigue and sustained Nintendo weakness." For evidence of the fatigue, look no further than the popular Call of Duty franchise. Although Black Ops 2,was a best-seller this year, Activision's latest installment of the once-dominant franchise was just a shadow of its former glory. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 suffered a nearly 20% drop in year-over-year sales. Another supposed blockbuster was Microsoft's Halo 4 which also failed to meet "lofty expectations."

Pachter was sure to share the blame, though. He placed a good deal of blame on Nintendo for its "underwhelming launch" for the Wii U and the company's "continued weakness" in general. Following a rather successful launch week in which 400,000 Wii U units were sold, Pachter estimated that just 675,000 units were sold at U.S. retail in its second month (up 59% month-over-month). The startling realization is that the console suffered from a "very low" software attach rate, with estimates close to one title per hardware unit. Things don't appear much better over the pond either; the latest GfK sales chart reveal that, for the third week in a row, no Wii U-exlusive titles appear in the Top 40 sales.

With sales continuing in a downward trend, all eyes are now on Sony and Microsoft who are expected to unveil new console's this year. With both the Xbox 360 and PS3 already in most homes, it's no surprise that hardware sales are stagnant. What is troublesome is the lack of software sales though. If so many people already own consoles, why aren't more games beings sold?

Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure: the next-generation of consoles can't come soon enough. But will an Xbox 720 or PS4 result in more sales? Just because we get new consoles doesn't mean we'll get new IPs or franchises. We'll continue to get the Call of Duty's and Halo's, but maybe with better graphics. Is that what you want to settle for or do you want something more from your games?


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