Even another record-breaking Call of Duty could not rescue the US video game industry from a twelfth consecutive month of declining software sales in November, according to the latest official figures from the NPD research firm.
But the “packaged goods” disc sales are only a part of the picture, now that we have digital and social and mobile games to take into account. Judging by announcements from Facebook and DeNA this week, hard-core gamers seem just as likely nowadays to be competing in these new gaming territories.
Two more executives have left Zynga, the leading social gaming company whose stock has lost 70 per cent of its value since going public in December.
There has been a string of departures this month after the San Francisco-based company issued disappointing quarterly results and its stock price continued to slide. The latest to leave are vice presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle.
Zynga has announced the resignation of John Schappert, its Chief Operating Officer (pictured left as his Zynga character), in a sign that the social gaming company is wrestling to recover from its poor financial performance.
Mr Schappert quit on Wednesday, with the company stating in an SEC filing that his resignation was not because of any disagreement over Zynga’s operations, policies or practices.
Electronic Arts says subscriptions for its Star Wars: The Old Republic game have slipped below 1m, forcing it to “pivot” to a free-to-play option for the much vaunted franchise.
Launched in December, Star Wars was supposed to try to supplant Activision’s World of Warcraft (WoW) online role-playing game, but its subscribers now amount to less than 10 per cent of the 10.2m users paying for that world-leading title.
Video game publishers have had their best November on record in the US, according to the NPD research firm, with hard-core gamers loading up on two first-person shooters and a classic role-playing game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from Activision was the top-selling title, with Electronic Arts rival, Battlefield 3, at number three, and the highly-rated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (pictured) from Bethesda Softworks splitting the two shooters.
Nintendo has received a Black Friday boost after a black year for sales – shifting more than 500,000 Wii consoles on the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.
Sales of the 3DS handheld console have also been booming, due to a new Mario game, bundling offers and a precipitous price cut.