Breaking Analysis: Death of the Video Game Console? Don’t Believe the Hype

CNBC, along with NPD, reported Friday that the video game industry took a hit in 2012, saying that sales fell 26 percent while console sales declined by 20 percent. So is the death of the video game console near?  Not so fast, says SiliconANGLE Founding Editor Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins. Hopkins found contrary data released earlier by sales tracker VGChartz that showed global platform sales down only seven percent and U.S. sales down 11 percent on hardware. Hopkins attributed this to the “flagging handheld market” which includes the older Sony PSP and Nintendo DS systems.

Hopkins elaborated even further by saying, “If you look at global software sales and U.S. software sales for the main living room consoles, you’re talking double digit increases year over year, not by the month.” He added that digital downloads are very difficult to track, so typically Sony and XBox only itemize those numbers in their quarterly reports when it’s advantageous for them to do so. He said that at best, the numbers reported by both NDP and VGChartz are merely loose estimates.

Hopkins noted that all the big money went into the sequels, as the top three games of the year were Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” EA’s “Madden NFL 13” and Microsoft’s “Halo 4.” He theorized that, had the game studios taken a risk and actually tried something new, there could have been opportunities for a break-out hit.

While NPD said that one of the reasons for the decline in sales was due to fewer releases by the game studios, Hopkins disagreed and said since sales were actually up, it was more likely due to uncertainty in the market. He explained, “There’s been a quiet period from all the console makers up until very recently as to whether or not there’s going to be next generation consoles, and now we finally have some firm evidence that Sony and Microsoft are going to be releasing new consoles. I think a lot of studios may have been holding back some of their groundbreaking efforts.”  See the entire segment with Kristin Feledy and Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins on the Morning NewsDesk Show.