The problem? Console makers, particularly Microsoft, might have chosen to cut prices too soon, hurting the industry’s prospects for revenue growth.
“Despite a decline in dollar sales, hardware unit sales for eighth generation consoles increased by 3 percent over November 2013,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. That means price cuts, like Microsoft’s $50 reduction for its Xbox One console in the US and aggressive bundling of free games with console purchases to further entice customers, may have done more harm than good.
The games industry has struggled to show consistent growth since launching the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 video game consoles a year ago. So far, the trend has been that hardware has sold well, while software has underperformed.
Nearly every month since Microsoft and Sony launched new game consoles in November 2013, hardware purchases have made up for the fact that players just weren’t buying that many new games.
Yet last month the industry flip-flopped. Hardware sales at US retail stores fell 23 percent to $1.01 billion from the same time last year, according to a report from industry researcher NPD Group. Game sales, meanwhile managed to almost break even with a 2 percent decline to $1.09 billion. Year over year, overall retail game spending across hardware, software and accessories dived 11 percent to $2.41 billion.
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