As global lockdowns come to an end, the gaming industry is suffering commensurately. According to NPD, total US spending on video games (content, hardware, accessories) fell -8% in April.
NPD suggests that the Christmas/New Year holiday period showed disappointing results. For example, December sales were down 1% from 2020 and January 2022 sales were down 2%. But March collapsed with a 15% drop in sales compared to the previous year. The problems seem to persist. April saw an 8% year-on-year fall (to $4.33 billion), although the value of April hardware sales rose 16% to $343 million.
The figures show that April is the 5th month in a row where sales are down.
There were a few highlights, including consumer support for the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga game that had the highest launch month dollar sales for all Lego title and took the number 1 selling spot for the month.
A note on the sector from the investment bank Exane/BNPP indicates that there are still reasons for optimism in the short and longer term:
· The last couple of years have seen huge players new or returning to the ecosystem and we have seen a proliferation of ways to engage and socialize through gaming that is likely to stick around for the medium to long term.
· Recent comments from Sony, MSFT and Nintendo imply that the availability of next-gen consoles is expected to increase over the coming quarters.
· Given an easier comparison base, a stronger lineup of new games, and better availability of next-gen consoles, we expect momentum to improve in the coming months.
· Over the long term, there are significant drivers to sustain mid to high single digit structural growth for the industry.