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230. Office Hours: Game Sales On The Decline
Episode 23018th May 2022 • Business of Esports • Paul Dawalibi
00:00:00 00:04:50

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In this episode of Office Hours, with our host William “The Professor” Collis, The Professor discusses how game sales have declined by 8% from April 2021 to April 2022!

Transcripts

William Collis:

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of

William Collis:

office hours with the professor. As always, I'm your host,

William Collis:

William the professor Kahless. And I want to get right into our

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story this week, and that is, game sales are down. This comes

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from a sports business journal article, which is commenting on

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NPD data. And apparently for the month of April, game sales are

William Collis:

down 8% compared to the same month last year to 4.3 billion.

William Collis:

And in fact, year to date, sales for games are also down 8% to

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18. Point 3 billion. I first want to start this article with

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just an early comment, which is a little bit facetious, but I

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sort of mean it, it's a little bit who cares. Because the

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reality is, lots of industries are down. There's a lot going on

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in our world today, and 4.3 billion for single month of

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sales is still a huge number. The other piece about this is in

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the NPD data, not necessarily all digital game sales are

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included. So particularly as more and more game sales shift

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to digital. I'm more and more skeptical of sort of the

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magnitude of this trend, our game sales probably down year on

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year. Yes. Is it something we should be worried about as an

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industry? No. So you might say, well, William, why did you want

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to do this story at all? Then if your comment is who cares? game

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sales are down? And the answer is because I want to talk about

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the sales of two specific games. I want to talk about the sales

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of Horizon forbidden West, and Elven. Right. Because I would

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argue that these games are pretty similar. They're both

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very deep involved RPGs. And they're both actually

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surprisingly large. I would also argue that they're both

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absolutely incredible games, I played both, I found each of

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them to just be real wheel masterworks that clearly, their

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developers put just so much passion and love into however, I

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think if you look at the sales data for these games, you see

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sort of an interesting story. So Elden ring has sold incredibly

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well. In April, it was the second best selling game of the

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month. And I believe the prior month, it was number one. And

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this is after launching. So towards the end of February. So

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this is basically launch month sales data. In contrast horizon

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forbidden West was the fifth most popular games, then march

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and down to the seventh best or most popular games selling in

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April. And, you know, you could argue that these numbers are

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good for forbidden West, because it is a console exclusive. And

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that's certainly true to some extent. But you do see console

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exclusives like say Caribbean and forbidden lands, cracking

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the top three, I would argue that horizons are bitten West

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should be selling better than it is. And I would argue that

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reason is Elden. Right? Because they're really going after the

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same consumers. And I think Elden ring has kind of sucked up

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the game or Zeitgeist about that phenomenal, you know, largely

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single player driven RPG experience. So why did I want to

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talk about this, I want to talk about this because this

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highlights something to me that I think is coming increasing

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problem in our industry, the difficulty of finding launch

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windows for games, like let's just be honest, the games

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calendar is getting more and more crowded. It used to be I

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remember a time when there was a real post-holiday slump, when

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nothing really important would launch in February. And now, you

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know, you can just look at the launch calendar, you had some

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stunning games like horizon and Elven rain coming out in that

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time period. And I would also argue, if you were a marketer

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working on horizon for bitten West, that February launch

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window probably felt pretty safe to you know, I'd rather go up

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against something like elven ring and say Call of Duty.

William Collis:

Right. You know, I think you know, there's always going to be

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competitors out there. I think elven ring probably felt

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relatively safe. And I even see, you know, some intelligent

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decisions made around the exact launch timing with horizon

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choosing to go out a week before, Eldon rain better to

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launch first, if you can. So I think it's a relatively

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intelligent and well chosen launch time. And it just shows

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the difficulty of even getting a triple A constant title, like

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horizon into a calendar, where it can find breathing room to

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get the full credit for the excellent game it is, and

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candidly get the appreciation it deserves. This is another factor

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limiting our industry. It's not just big budgets. It's not just

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long, Dev times. It's not just the complexity of launching

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triple A games. It's literally how do you find a window to get

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your triple A game to breathe in. And I think the conflict

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between horizon and Elven ring perfectly illustrates just how

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crowded we are as a market and candidly how tough it is for new

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or innovative IPs to even find a launch window to break in.

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Basically, if you aren't an established triple A game with a

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preset launch timing. It's just really hard to find a moment for

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you to breathe in the sun. So it's just a fun little story. I

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wanted to talk about highlighting, I think a little

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bit of a less traveled angle on sales data in our in our games

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industry. So I hope you enjoyed this week's office hours and I

William Collis:

look forward to seeing you next week.

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