Videogames hit by austerity pressure in 2011

Image: Images of Money/Flickr.

Staunchly dedicated consumers may well have pumped some $17 billion USD into the overall videogame industry during 2011, but year-on-year performance figures show the previously recession-proof sector isn’t immune from austerity-fueled cutbacks.

Indeed, the latest numbers from market specialist NPD show that videogame hardware and software sales plunged by around eight percent ($1.6 billion USD) in 2011, despite the attraction of several big-hitting game releases around the Christmas period.

Taking a closer look at software purchases, NPD found that gamers splashed some $8.8 billion USD in 2011, which is a sizable drop when measured against the $9.4 billion recorded a year earlier.

It’s also worth noting that consumer belts were clearly tighter than usual during the recent festive holiday, with hardware and software sales for December dropping 21 percent year-on-year to $4 billion USD.

“December was very rough,” commented NPD analyst Anita Frasier. “Because of the great slate of content that came to market during the fourth quarter, I had expected December sales to represent a larger portion of total-year sales than what occurred.”

This year, the month of December accounted for just 23 percent of annual sales in the videogame sector, outlined Frazier, while the average sales percentage over the last decade has been 28 percent.

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