Okay, that doesn’t actually mean console gaming is dead. It’s just that, as a staunch supporter of the PC platform, I wanted to show you all what the last eight years of my gaming life have looked like. Plus, who doesn’t love a purposely misleading headline?
The real story is that the NPD released it’s sales numbers for the month of May. Which lead to gaming’s own personal Nostradamus, analyst Michael Pachter, stating that the gaming world is in a “persistent secular state of decline.” This is sort of hard to argue considering that the entire world is in a persistent state of decline, especially economically, but it is still interesting to see it’s effect (or perceived effect) on our humble little corner of geekdom.
Pachter points out that while hardware sales have been good, lagging software sales and the seeming under-performance of marquee titles lend themselves to the whole declining industry thing. This is very visible with Nintendo, where the hardware base of the Wii and DS have grown 44% and 33% respectively, but both have suffered increasing losses in software sales. He believes that investors will see things like this and continue to be “spooked” as the numbers “are beginning to reinforce the notion that the video game industry is in a state of persistent secular decline.” Why, oh prognosticator of popular procrastination playthings, do you think this is?
We believe that the publishers and developers of games have created more robust multiplayer content in recent years that has resulted in core gamers playing the same games for much longer, on average, than they did in the past, leading to lower sales of new games.
That actually makes a lot of sense, but I don’t exactly think that means the sky is falling- it just means the quality of games is getting better. It does, however, seem hilarious to me that all of these are essentially arguments PC fans have been making the last thousand years when somebody says that platform is dying. Still, Pachter may be a bit of a divisive figure due to some past statements that made him seem like a raving lunatic with froth on his mouth as if he were Cerebus in the flesh, but he has been right fairly often. A state of decline doesn’t exactly mean the sky is falling, the PC market is still around despite being dead since the year 2000, but it’s interesting nonetheless to wonder how these companies would be performing if the world economy was not in the tank. Is this decline solely because of economic hardships, or is Pachter right? Has deeper multiplayer and more intricate games lead to gamers buying less software? Will the game industry continue declining and doom us to repeat 1983 all over again?
Tune in next week to find out!*
*You won’t be finding out next week.