The latest sales figures for video games sales for January 2012 show a surprising decline, by several millions, across the American market.
According to the consumer group National Purchase Diary (NPD) stores in the USA shifted $1.14 billion sales of video games in January 2012. This reads like an impressive figure until it is compared with the sales for the same period during 2011. When the sales data are compared, video game sales are down 34%. The news is even bleaker for hardware like video game consoles, where sales have fallen by 38% (to $356 million).
Some games, according to The Washington Post, did sell in vast quantities like (in order of units sold): "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3", "Just Dance 3", "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" and "NBA 2K12".
According to the BBC, some analysts are speculating that the fall in sales is simply a reflection of the limited number of new releases. To this NPD state: "Shoppers were not drawn to stores due to new launch activity."
However, others consider that the f all reflects a real weakness in the economy and a lack of consumer spending power.
If the latter argument is proved correct then this does not present good news for video game companies like Sony, who plan to launch the next version of the Play Station (a device, which follows the PlayStation Portable (PSP), called Vita) in a few weeks time. Currently Microsoft's Xbox 360 is the top selling video games consul.
The fall in January is also seen in the UK, which is another big video games market. According to IGN a similar fall in sales has been seen.
Based on these results the outlook for the computer and video games industry looks less good for 2012 compared with previous years.