U.S. retail game revenue drops by 20 percent

In a story worthy of mention in a doomsday journal, the NPD Group revealed that video game revenue in retailers across the United States have dropped by a solid 20% in February of 2012, as reported by Gamasutra. Retail software sales suffered heavily, with a little over $485 million in revenue — a staggering 24% decline from sales in February 2011.

In slightly less pessimistic news, Microsoft set the pace in the hardware sector in February, moving 426,000 Xbox 360 consoles.  The debut of Sony’s second portable platform, the PlayStation Vita, also helped defibrilate hardware sales – which were up 87% from January of 2012, but down 18% from February of 2011.

The NPD group does not have solid data on used, rental, or digital game sales, but it estimates that in total, these other channels accounted for approximately $550 to $600 million in revenue.

Ordinarily, I would blame these disappointing figures on the economy, but Danny tells me that generally, video game sales do well in lull economies, as people will always see escapist entertainment as relatively inexpensive and just as enjoyable, regardless of how many financial institutions go belly-up. So it does seem as if there’s something else causing this sharp decline in revenue. Maybe it’s the prospect of war in the Middle East, pushing people towards buying non-perishable food supplies. After all, a PC’s the first thing to go when the EMP hits. Well, to be fair, we probably won’t be needing it, since we’ll get to play Fallout in real life and all.