Historically, summer is a slow time for video game sales. While film directors often want to drop their blockbusters into the summer months, game publishers usually want to target the holiday rush. And this year is no different.
We await the official NPD numbers for July but in the meantime, we have the sales preview from EEDAR's Jesse Divnich. Now, considering the availability of "AAA" titles in the month of July (i.e., there really weren't any), the low numbers probably won't surprise you: EEDAR anticipates total software sales to come in at just over $500 million for the month, which would be a 15% decrease over last year. They cite the "weak retail environment" for this decline, and add that the unfortunate delay of several potential gems – Bioshock 2 , Splinter Cell: Conviction , etc. – has caused EEDAR to lower their software projection for the 2009 year, "down to flat." Some may want to attribute this lack of growth to the recession, but EEDAR says this isn't the case; it's simply a combination of "key titles being pushed out of 2009," and in July…well, not much happened. Looking down the road, though, they anticipate that any lost sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 will be made up in the first and second quarters of 2010; EEDAR expects software sales to be up "at least 9%" in Q1 2010.
And of course, when there's no software, there's no real excuse to buy the hardware. The prediction is that hardware sales in July will be down 25% over last year, and the software drought is similar to 2008's, with neither July period producing a million-unit seller. So that's where things stand heading into the holiday season, which should be good for the industry. By the way, for our part, we have a theory: this whole "recession" was artificially constructed using the mortgage/real estate fallout as the culprit, just so the government had an excuse to bail out certain car manufacturers. …well, all I know is that if I have to wait 45 minutes for a table at the Olive Garden at 4:00 on a Wednesday, we ain't in no damn recession.