In another sign of both the dying retail video game merchants and the slow death of the current console cycle, new numbers show that retail sales of video games, video game hardware, and video game accessories in October were down 25% from that month last year.
According to a Bloomberg report citing research firm NPD, retail sales of video games were down to $755.5 million. NPD blamed much of the decline on low console sales, which are down 37% year-over-year, while video game sales were down 25%.
As for the languishing console wars, Microsoft managed to still lead console sales in October, selling 270,000 consoles, a number that is down 31% from last year. With Nintendo’s new Wii U console being released on November 18, expect next month’s numbers to show a large Nintendo lead in console sales over Microsoft and Sony.
This news, though not unexpected, comes just as game companies are kicking off the holiday buying season – the biggest sales months for the gaming industry. Sequels such as Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed III, and Call of Duty: Black Ops II will net hundreds of millions of dollars for their publishers and demonstrate the apex of what graphics are accomplishable with current console hardware. They also demonstrate, however, that the industry is in a transition period, and that new consoles and new IPs will soon be needed to keep gamers from becoming burnt-out on sequels.