According to the statistics recently released by market research firm The NPD Group, 2011 witnessed a notable plunge of 8 percent year-on-year, from $18.4 billion to $17 million, in total US consumer spending on video games at retailers.
Despite the fact that the performance of video game content across retail and digital saw a boost due to alternative monetization strategies, the 8 percent drop in total US video games sales revenue during 2011 was a result of a decline in video game retail sales across hardware, software as well as accessories.
The fall in US video game sales revenue for the month of December 2011 alone was as big as 21 percent, from $18.59 billion to $17.02 billion; which marked a complete contrast to the analysts’ predictions that the video game sales would report an increase during the month.
However, as per the NPD Group data, even though the video game sales revenue in the US dropped in 2011, the digital sales of games and add-on digital content, along with mobile and social games’ spending, rentals and subscriptions saw an increase of 7 percent to $7.24 billion --- a rise, which in the opinion of NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier, “partially offset the decline in new physical retail sales of content” during the year.
Pointing to the impact of non-retail monetization methods on game sales for 2011 overall, Frazier elaborated: “Total spend on content is down approximately 2 percent in 2011 while the total consumer spend against all categories is down approximately 5 percent.”