Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 17, 2014

NPD December 2013

College classes have once again taken up my time where I cannot post frequently. In my current classes, every single student (every single one) intends to be a petroleum engineer, chemical engineer, or something associated with the medical technology. Houston is the energy capital of the world and is also home to one of the world’s most advanced medical centers. One thing I didn’t realize is that Houston has also become the ‘restaurant’ capital of the country. As a friend told me after a meal with a New York chef at a New York restaurant, “That meal might have worked here, but it wouldn’t have cut it in Houston.” Perhaps with the big oil industry that they get to establish crazy high standards for their restaurants. Regardless, every student in my classes is set on getting 100k or more once graduating, and they will likely get it. This place has no belief system except for the relentless pursuit of money. To me, it is the only sanity.

But nothing makes me too busy to comment on the latest NPD numbers. You would have thought, based on hype alone, that the PS4 was a Wii phenomena and that the Xbone and PS4 had outsold the Wii U’s install base. The truth is that the Wii U is still the 8th Generation Market Leader. “But that is because the Wii U had an additional 12 months on the market.” True. I expect the PS4 to be the worldwide market leader. But as for right now, the Wii U has currently outsold the PS4 and Xbox One. I bring up this fact just to bring people down to earth due the stupid crazy hype the Game Industry vomits out. After the Wii U’s honeymoon period of first holiday, it began to sell very badly. PS4 and Xbox One sales are at the risk of drying going forward. This is why I think the January NPD will be the truly indicative data month of this generation. PS4 and Xbox One should be in supply everywhere, and we can get a sense of the demand.

Vita is dead at less than 95k for December.

Wii U isn’t doing ‘phenomenally’, although I think that the 2d Mario bundle is helping it. (Even I’m tempted to get that bundle!) Super Mario 3d World and Zelda 3DS didn’t appear on the charts so I have no idea what units it is moving.

3DS outselling all the other consoles indicates that neither Xbox One or PS4 are ‘phenomenons’ at the moment. 3DS has shrunk from the DS numbers.

Xbox One is showing it can outsell the PS4 in the United States. If the PS4 is competitive to the Xbox One in the US, then the PS4 wins this generation hands-down as Xbox One doesn’t sell outside English speaking countries.

Software, that key indicator, is down. Digital copies do not explain the decline.

It is obvious what is going on. The economic depression is shrinking the overall video game market. Many people don’t even have jobs! Where is this consumer spending supposed to come from for video games? If every other industry is down, why should we expect the video game market to be any different? While I want to wait until next month, everything is showing that bad macro-economic trends are affecting the video game industry.

And the retail version of Minecraft is number nine of the best selling video games this year! Where is Miyamoto and his “Is that a PC game? Don’t let it come to our console! Ewwww!” mentality? Minecraft was the ONLY exclusive retail video game to break into the top ten selling games of the year. Minecraft beat out all of Nintendo’s games. Miyamoto: “Eeek! A PC game! It will have no place on our console!” That retard mentality is exactly why Nintendo missed the boat on the Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty phenomenons (both franchises started as exclusive PC games).

To illustrate The Shrinking, here is NPD December 2006:

NPD console sales for December 2006
DS: 1.6 million (9.2 million life-to-date)
PlayStation 2: 1.4 million (37.1 million life-to-date)
Xbox 360: 1.1 million (4.5 million life-to-date)
PSP: 953.2k (6.7 million life-to-date)
Game Boy Advance: 850.7k (35.1 million life-to-date)
Wii: 604.2k (1.1 million life-to-date)
PS3: 490.7k (687.3k life-to-date)

The Wii was supply restrained at the time (as we know it would later move enormous numbers very quickly in 2007).

The Xbox 360 outsold in the Xbox One comparing Decembers 2006 to 2014.

The PS4 is selling around the same amount as the PS3 did eight years ago (though this is likely because PS4 is supply constrained).

Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Xbox One sold about the same amount as Gears of War did on December. “But Xbox One has a much smaller install base than Xbox 360 did.” True, but Call of Duty is a much bigger series than Gears of War. I don’t see anything impressive in the software numbers. The top selling games are sequels of the big franchises of last generation. New gamers are not propelling the Xbox One and PS4 sales. Call of Duty and Battlefield have been moving big numbers for years.

There is NOTHING to suggest that the ‘Game Industry’ is doing better than it was a generation ago even if you remove the Wii, DS and those dirty, filthy casuals. There is everything to suggest that Xbox One may not move Xbox 360 numbers and PS4 might only match PS3 numbers. Granted, you never know where the next great game will come from that can rocket a console up.

You don’t hear much bragging from the Game Industry with this NPD. There are no parties or cheering going about. They know they are going to have a rougher time than last generation due to the economic depression (and it is a depression). If the Game Industry acknowledged their ‘growth’ of Generation 4, 5, and 6 due to positive macro-economic trends, then it could acknowledge their ‘decline’ of Generation 8 be due to negative macro-economic trends. Since the Game Industry declared their growth was due to their own personal genius minds, they cannot admit their decline is in large part due to macro-economic trends.

When you grow by macro-economic trends, you will die by macro-economic trends. The choice is clear. The ONLY way to survive and grow is go the Wii route. New gamers! New markets! And away with the hardcore.

2014 should give us the first indications of Nintendo’s Generation 9 strategy. If Nintendo continues their Generation 8 strategy into Generation 9, which I consider Atari 2600 / E.T. levels of insane, with Miyamoto going, “NOW is the time for 3d!”, Aonuma going, “NOW is the time for even more Wind Waker!”, and Sakamoto going, “More Metroid maternal instincts!”, I’ll shut down this website because I can’t handle two generations of Nintendo insanity in a row. It’s time for Nintendo to return to the Wii / NES / Atari 2600 style of consoles and abandon the N64/ Gamecube / Wii U of consoles. The Wii and Wii U are like two polar opposites: Wii and Anti-Wii.

And Nintendo? Don’t even bother putting out another console until you have an account system and have games to put out. A console should not be released 6 years on the dot like some sort of clock. A console should be released when it is ready for consumers.


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