New sales numbers released by consumer market research firm the NPD Group indicate that console sales are struggling more than gamers might have expected.
The state of video game consoles has been in flux for years now, with little to suggest that there will be concrete evidence regarding the medium’s viability in the future anytime soon. There have been concerns over consoles in Japan ever since sales began to fall off in that market a few years ago, and just recently electronics analyst Michael Pachter suggested that gamers were experiencing the last real console cycle the industry will ever have.
While the statement seemed hyperbolic at the time, new information from the NPD Group might be an indicator that Pachter’s analysis was at least rooted in plausibility. In its monthly sales analysis, the NPD Group identified that “Eighth-generation hardware”, meaning the PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U, were the “primary driver” of a hardware sales decline of 42% when compared to the same time period last year. The current generation of consoles had sales dip 43% across all 3 of their sales cycles when compared to June 2015.
That being said, however, the data is clouded by the fact that both hardware and software sales saw a decrease, something that even the NDP Group conceded was likely the result of a lack of major console game launches – last year’s June figures, for instance, were bolstered by the strength of Batman: Arkham Knight‘s impressive sales.
The report sounds worse than it actually is, though it is useful as an indicator that console sales may be trending downward over a long period of time heading into future cycles of console gaming. After all, the PS4 has still sold 40 million units worldwide, and sales for the PS4 and Xbox One are already 40% ahead of their predecessors when compared to the same period of time in the PS3 and Xbox 360’s life cycles.
Of course, console sales are just one indicator of whether or not the market is strong moving forward. There are also a few other reasons gamers might harbor concerns about the future of console gaming moving forward, including both Sony and Microsoft’s intent to release new, more powerful consoles so soon after the release of the PS4 and Xbox One. Whether or not the upgraded PS4 from Sony is successful, or Project Scorpio takes the world by storm, though, the main takeaway is that both companies still think console gaming is a viable means of making money – a fact that should lay console fans’ biggest fears to rest, at least for the time being.
What do you think the cause of the dip in console sales is? Do you expect them to rebound once the Fall hits and there are some bigger games releases? Let us know in the comments below.