Videogame Sales are Down 12%

Posted on August 5, 2009

The recession has hurt the entertainment industry, but several high-profile titles have kept gaming revenues steady, despite the global financial crisis.

Several high-profile titles, including "Prototype" and the popular "Guitar Hero" and "Call of Duty" franchises helped Activision Blizzard, the largest gamemaker, post an impressive $195 million profit during its second quarter, which ended June 30, on earnings of a little more than $1 billion. The company, formed through a merger with Vivendi's Blizzard Entertainment last year, also released the film-related games "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," during the three months, which all sold well.

Close rival Electronic Arts saw sales rise 34% to $816 million during the same period from the launch of "The Sims 3," "EA Sports Active" and new installments of "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" and "Fight Night." They helped the company narrow losses of $135 million during its first-quarter frame last year to a loss of $6 million this year, when taking into account deferred revenue collected from retailers.

Those and other games also helped EA become a leading publisher of titles for Nintendo's Wii console, capturing 21% of all games sold on the device in North America. Its digital division, which distribs games online, also saw a 38% uptick in sales to $124 million, although that still only accounts for 14% of its biz.

The videogame industry has seen an overall decline in sales of 12% in the first two quarters of 2009, according to NPD Group. And with the holiday season approaching, the industry is doing everything it can to get consumers to spend more this year. But consumer spending is down across the board and is not expected to pick up this year.

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