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Multiplayer Gaming Blamed for US Sales Decline

Talking head and industry analyst Michael Pachter is attributing the majority of the decline in US-base software sales to multiplayer gaming. The analysis came after a recent NPD sales report revealed a staggering 15-percent decline in software sales for the month of June--the fourth month in a row to experience a drop in overall sales.

Part of the blame rests on Nintendo's shoulders, as the company is currently bundling two games with the Wii console. Another factor adding to the overall decline is the sale of cheap "clearance" games, racking in only a small percentage of revenue when compared to their original launch prices.

But the biggest culprit to the decline is apparently games like Halo 3 and Call of Duty--those with high replay value. Gamers are purchasing these titles and spending most of their time playing the multiplayer portions rather than going out and buying new games.

"We estimate that a total of 12 million consumers are playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for an average of 10 hours per week on the two platforms' respective networks, and the continued enjoyment of this game (along with an estimated 6 million Halo online players, 3 million EA Sports players, and 5 million players playing other games, such as Battlefield, Red Dead Redemption, Left 4 Dead and Grand Theft Auto) has sucked the available time away from what otherwise would be spent playing newly purchased games," he said.

Pachter said that the problem will continue, and that publishers should start charging for online play--starting with Activision's Call of Duty Black Ops.

"We think that it is incumbent upon Activision, with the most popular multiplayer game, to take the first step to address monetization of multiplayer," he said. "It is too early to tell whether that will be a monthly subscription, tournament entry fees, microtransaction fees, or a combination of all three, but we expect to see the company take some action by year-end, when Call of Duty Black Ops launches."

Honestly, there seems to be something wrong with this picture. Where are the numbers showing that gamers are spending their cash on downloaded content? While they may be focusing their time on certain titles, they're also purchasing the content associated with the games. Of course, this extra revenue may not equal to the full amount of another game, but it lifts the currently purchased title to an overall higher price point than its original launch price.

Perhaps then the decline in software sales isn't indicative of the amount of time gamers focus on certain titles, but rather the current crop of new games sitting on the shelf. If they're not appealing, then they're not going home with the customer.

  • duckmanx88
    $60 a game in the U.S. and even more expensive in Europe+ Australia(poor Aussies get raped), why would i spend another $60 for another 10 hour campaign when i can spend $60 for 100hr+ multiplayer.
    Reply
  • rad666
    "Perhaps then the decline in software sales isn't indicative of the amount of time gamers focus on certain titles, but rather the current crop of new games sitting on the shelf. If they're not appealing, then they're not going home with the customer."

    BINGO.
    Reply
  • Trueno07
    Or maybe because it's july?
    Reply
  • wydileie
    How are they going to pull off charging for an online game already being charged for with Xbox Live? Microsoft will definitely have something to say about this. They won't take this lying down with the publishers trying to charge for gaming on their network.
    Reply
  • s4fun
    How much worse can Activision get? Charge for online play when they don't even host servers? What the heck!? Crazy fools!
    Reply
  • Rhynn
    "We think that it is incumbent upon Activision, with the most popular multiplayer game, to take the first step to address monetization of multiplayer,"....

    Why? to help another companies profit margin? Activision is likely making plenty of money, why should they start charging more to help other companies sell -their- games?
    Reply
  • Lets see, too much piracy on the pc...so focus on the consoles. Crap, people arent buying enough games on the console...lets charge for updates that were free for pc (dlc). Crap, thats not working either...lets start charging a fee for multiplayer on top of the internet fee, the fee to access the service online (ala xbox live), and the cost of the game.

    Make good games, stop releasing crap that isnt done, and charging us for the content that should have been included in the first place, and mabye your sales numbers will go up.
    Reply
  • theguy82
    First its the charge for buying a used game. Then they try to screw you over with the always online when playing single player. Now potentially charging for online play?

    Way to make the customers happy. Maybe these factors are part of the reason in decline of sales.
    Reply
  • jaysbob
    damn, well I guess I'm not buying black ops either. I was looking forward to playing CoD again too. :\
    Reply
  • d0gr0ck
    You know, just maybe, some of us go outside and enjoy the summer?
    Reply