NPD Sales Results for December 2014 [Up2: Nintendo Sales Notes]

Jun 20, 2005
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Here is a sign of the times for you.

Minecraft got an entire page of Target's flyer this week. All the other games and consoles took up about half a page.
Looks like the fad should be over soon. I think MS caught the tail end of the boom with their buyout like they did with motion controls and Kinect back in 2010.
 
Dec 9, 2013
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Looks like the fad should be over soon. I think MS caught the tail end of the boom with their buyout like they did with motion controls and Kinect back in 2010.
Leaning towards no. With Tell Tales game coming out this year, and mojang doing stuff with hololens, and just the normal minecraft continuing to sell, it's probably going to be around for a while
 
If I'm reading this correctly, we're making a bit over half as much as we used to, but on 1/4th the game count?

Given that these titles have significantly higher ARPU these days as well, retail very much seems like a winner takes all market.

That is technically well known, but these graphs do a great job illustrating just how much that is true.
 
Feb 3, 2007
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Publisher Count, Title Count, Correlation to NPD Revenues stats:
It's a shame your thread specifically about this was pretty much ignored.

For various reasons, I don't see publishers being able to release more titles to offset the revenue drop, so for the equations to make sense I expect publishers to try and raise average unit price of titles to try and stem the shortfall.
This is likely to be in the short term more and more emphasis placed on preorder bonuses, retailer exclusivity, platform holder exclusive features, collectors editions and multiple DLC purchases per title, but in the long term I wouldn't be surprised to see publishers trying to raise the MSRP of titles again - I would expect the next big title that isn't a 'remaster' or cross-gen to be the testbed for a new base price.
 
It's a shame your thread specifically about this was pretty much ignored.

For various reasons, I don't see publishers being able to release more titles to offset the revenue drop, so for the equations to make sense I expect publishers to try and raise average unit price of titles to try and stem the shortfall.
This is likely to be in the short term more and more emphasis placed on preorder bonuses, retailer exclusivity, platform holder exclusive features, collectors editions and multiple DLC purchases per title, but in the long term I wouldn't be surprised to see publishers trying to raise the MSRP of titles again - I would expect the next big title that isn't a 'remaster' or cross-gen to be the testbed for a new base price.
I don't think there's much incentive to raise MSRP.

We've already done that significantly via season passes, microtransactions, and special editions, while having companies like GameStop themselves push those things with the initial sale (hence all the pre-release season passes).

Hell, a lot of publishers give out their base games for free eventually via PS+/GWG/their own initiatives and make money entirely on high margin digital revenue.
 
Feb 16, 2010
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If I'm reading this correctly, we're making a bit over half as much as we used to, but on 1/4th the game count?

Given that these titles have significantly higher ARPU these days as well, retail very much seems like a winner takes all market.

That is technically well known, but these graphs do a great job illustrating just how much that is true.
Yep, average sales per game are much higher now. Fewer but bigger titles actually happened. What interests me is that it looks like the contraction in publisher and title count has bottomed. If this holds, physical software sales should cease declining, and maybe even get to growth (if the correlations represent causation, all kinds of other things don't go weird, etc etc).

For various reasons, I don't see publishers being able to release more titles to offset the revenue drop, so for the equations to make sense I expect publishers to try and raise average unit price of titles to try and stem the shortfall.
This is likely to be in the short term more and more emphasis placed on preorder bonuses, retailer exclusivity, platform holder exclusive features, collectors editions and multiple DLC purchases per title, but in the long term I wouldn't be surprised to see publishers trying to raise the MSRP of titles again - I would expect the next big title that isn't a 'remaster' or cross-gen to be the testbed for a new base price.
What we've seen is average pricing is higher... but that's because games are taking longer to fall in price at retail because of a lack of competitive titles. In the old days, all those titles meant that you either dropped price to maintain velocity and stay on shelf or you were out of the store. Now, it takes longer for space pressure to kick in, meaning games are staying at a higher price for a longer period.

You're right on the CE's, DLCs, etc for sure. All are ways to pump up day 1 average pricing (price sensitivity is really low on day 1).

But I don't know about raising MSRP for base product. You don't really have to do that if a subset of consumers on Day 1 will pay $100 or whatever.

It's a shame your thread specifically about this was pretty much ignored.
Thanks! Yeah, not sure what happened there. Oh well. Next time I'll just stick to these threads.
 
Yep, average sales per game are much higher now. Fewer but bigger titles actually happened. What interests me is that it looks like the contraction in publisher and title count has bottomed. If this holds, physical software sales should cease declining, and maybe even get to growth (if the correlations represent causation, all kinds of other things don't go weird, etc etc).
For the biggest publishers at least, it feels like they all cut to the bone and then started some minor expansion by adding teams to very successful studios as franchises hit highs that were going to be hard exceeded, so title count stabilizing or even (very marginally) increasing would make sense.
 
Feb 3, 2007
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I don't think there's much incentive to raise MSRP.
But I don't know about raising MSRP for base product.
Given increased production costs, I really think they are going to have to in some form, and I think an MSRP price hike is probably the more likely successful route to go (rather than reducing production costs or reducing scope by making 5 hour singleplayer games instead of 10 hour singleplayer games, because both give a competitive advantage to others who don't immediately follow suit).

We can already see some "indirect taxation" MSRP increases with F2P mechanics being directly introduced to paid for multiplayer, and compulsory "companion apps" that include IAPs being required for main game progression, but I'm not sure that is still enough to offset the shortfalls.

If we start seeing publisher spokespeople doing PRs calling for MS / Sony to reduce the purchase price of consoles, I think an MSRP hike is the following step - whether this is explicit as a straightforward price increase on a sure-fire bet title, or whether its obfuscated by things like making the "special edition" of a title more commonly available than the regular edition, or the resurgence of forced bundled accessories I'm not sure.
Its possible if mobile revenues are good enough then publishers can do what they did with the Wii last gen, and use their high margin goods profits to subsidise their "prestige" AAA titles, but thats risky as it leaves competitive space for those who pump their mobile profits directly back into producing their mobile content.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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Yep, average sales per game are much higher now. Fewer but bigger titles actually happened. What interests me is that it looks like the contraction in publisher and title count has bottomed. If this holds, physical software sales should cease declining, and maybe even get to growth (if the correlations represent causation, all kinds of other things don't go weird, etc etc).



What we've seen is average pricing is higher... but that's because games are taking longer to fall in price at retail because of a lack of competitive titles. In the old days, all those titles meant that you either dropped price to maintain velocity and stay on shelf or you were out of the store. Now, it takes longer for space pressure to kick in, meaning games are staying at a higher price for a longer period.

You're right on the CE's, DLCs, etc for sure. All are ways to pump up day 1 average pricing (price sensitivity is really low on day 1).

But I don't know about raising MSRP for base product. You don't really have to do that if a subset of consumers on Day 1 will pay $100 or whatever.



Thanks! Yeah, not sure what happened there. Oh well. Next time I'll just stick to these threads.
Maybe I've been observing Amazon too much, but prices are dropping more slowly these days? Infamous Second Son was like $30 maybe 2 months after launch, Mario Kart 8 was $50 like 3 weeks after its launch (it seems to be maintaining its price now though), and Titanfall went for $10 less than 6 months after launch iirc. That seems fast to me, at least in terms of sales o_O.
 
The definition of fad isn't "popular thing I don't like".
That seems to be how it's applied, practically speaking. Eventually, every game and franchise and platform you don't like will fade, because nothing lasts forever, and you can claim it was a fad, and that finally people are wising up.

When Pokémon finally dies, when WoW finally falls apart, when Naughty Dog's popularity declines, there will be someone there to say "See! I told you it was a fad!"
 
Feb 16, 2010
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Maybe I've been observing Amazon too much, but prices are dropping more slowly these days? Infamous Second Son was like $30 maybe 2 months after launch, Mario Kart 8 was $50 like 3 weeks after its launch (it seems to be maintaining its price now though), and Titanfall went for $10 less than 6 months after launch iirc. That seems fast to me, at least in terms of sales o_O.
Market aggregate.

Plenty of factors could cause a short-term drop. Quality off expectation/sales off expectation primarily.

You lose all the shovelware and most of the Nintendo market, and titles are very slow to drop to $19.99 now. You're talking a dollar or so higher average price across the full market over the last few years.

This is more climate, individual titles are more weather. You can't really judge one by looking at the other.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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That seems to be how it's applied, practically speaking. Eventually, every game and franchise and platform you don't like will fade, because nothing lasts forever, and you can claim it was a fad, and that finally people are wising up.

When Pokémon finally dies, when WoW finally falls apart, when Naughty Dog's popularity declines, there will be someone there to say "See! I told you it was a fad!"
I would hope that's its original definition is better understood, and not used like this. Fads are supposed to die quickly. Minecraft isn't by any stretch of the imagination.
 
May 24, 2012
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I would hope that's its original definition is better understood, and not used like this. Fads are supposed to die quickly. Minecraft isn't by any stretch of the imagination.
the problem is "quickly" is loosely defined and stretched to fit a narrative.


for example, kinect sold well from holiday 2010 through holiday 2012. that's 3 solid years in the market, not including its lingering presence in 2013.

you would think three years is long enough to put kinect firmly out of the "fad" category, and yet some people insist regardless.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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The definition of fad isn't "popular thing I don't like".
Minecraft was just another popular game for a while. Then I think it attained fad status in the last year or so, or at least it might! We'll have to see what the flyers are like this time next year. Not trying to disparage the game, just making an off the cuff prediction.
 
I would hope that's its original definition is better understood, and not used like this. Fads are supposed to die quickly. Minecraft isn't by any stretch of the imagination.
I agree generally, although it's made far more complicated with games that aren't quite so phenomenal as Minecraft is. Most people try to stetch it to less extremes; for instance, the Wii had a fairly normal console lifecycle, but probably slightly truncated for a system of its prominence.

This also doesn't take in to account competition. If WoW had died out 7 years ago and Warhammer had risen in popularity to take its place, some would claim WoW was a "fad" when of course it had simply been bested by competition.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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the problem is "quickly" is loosely defined and stretched to fit a narrative.


for example, kinect sold well from holiday 2010 through holiday 2012. that's 3 solid years in the market, not including its lingering presence in 2013.

you would think three years is long enough to put kinect firmly out of the "fad" category, and yet some people insist regardless.
I think the context should always be considered.

When I say fad, I'm only thinking of it in the eyes of the masses, not the core market. Relatively speaking I would consider motion control gaming to be a fad. Absolute time wise the 5 or so years of boom it had certainly wasnt quick, but in the context of its inability to create a long lasting market with successful follow up mass market products, I would classify it as a fad.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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I think the context should always be considered.

When I say fad, I'm only thinking of it in the eyes of the masses, not the core market. Relatively speaking I would consider motion control gaming to be a fad. Absolute time wise the 5 or so years of boom it had certainly wasnt quick, but in the context of its inability to create a long lasting market with successful follow up mass market products, I would classify it as a fad.
Um, wasn't Kinect essentially the followup to motion control gaming that Nintendo failed to deliver? I don't think motion control gaming was a fad. Just like any other industry or market segment it declined because of poor management of the product in its later years (esp. for the Wii) and the lack of a true successor imo. I personally think of something like Flappy Bird as a fad because there's very little chance of a successor.
 
Sep 10, 2006
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I think the context should always be considered.

When I say fad, I'm only thinking of it in the eyes of the masses, not the core market. Relatively speaking I would consider motion control gaming to be a fad. Absolute time wise the 5 or so years of boom it had certainly wasnt quick, but in the context of its inability to create a long lasting market with successful follow up mass market products, I would classify it as a fad.
Except that every current gaming device has some form of motion control.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Um, wasn't Kinect essentially the followup to motion control gaming that Nintendo failed to deliver? I don't think motion control gaming was a fad. Just like any other industry or market segment it declined because of poor management of the product in its later years (esp. for the Wii) and the lack of a true successor imo. I personally think of something like Flappy Bird as a fad because there's very little chance of a successor.
Not really, just a derivative of it. It controlled worse than Wii in many ways but was still novel in other ways, and so it sold well. It's impossible to say for sure that if it were handled differently, we'd be seeing Wii3 in Target flyers now, but nonetheless public interest in it dropped like a rock and I think it's a fitting description to how it panned out. Flappy Bird itself was a fad, but it spawned quite a few successful copycats, so is it a genre now? I don't know since I'm not following it.

Except that every current gaming device has some form of motion control.
Available, but used to what extent?
 
Oct 10, 2010
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Sorry it's late...

*click to get the full experience*

Our first two full years are complete!
If there's interest I will write up a report on "where we were" for each cycle, with some SW sales info etc.
 
Feb 3, 2007
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Waiter can I get some extra salt?
Necrobump to call out a banned users post from 20 pages back? Okay.

Given increased production costs, I really think they are going to have to in some form, and I think an MSRP price hike is probably the more likely successful route to go (rather than reducing production costs or reducing scope by making 5 hour singleplayer games instead of 10 hour singleplayer games, because both give a competitive advantage to others who don't immediately follow suit).
Its interesting rereading this post-The Order backlash, which seems to have been absolutely crucified on its game length, which was an arguably sensible choice to make given its obvious production costs to still come in at a standard retail price.
 
Dec 11, 2012
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Necrobump to call out a banned users post from 20 pages back? Okay.



Its interesting rereading this post-The Order backlash, which seems to have been absolutely crucified on its game length, which was an arguably sensible choice to make given its obvious production costs to still come in at a standard retail price.
I'm sorry! Someone made a comment with a bunch of other comments, and I followed it to another thread and didn't even notice!

I'm so ashamed :(