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Declining Sales. WTF Is Going On?


moosegrinder
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Apparently Rage 2 has sold significantly less than Rage. Maybe not surprising given the mixed as fuck reviews but this isn't an isolated instance of a supposedly triple AAA title not meeting the heights of the previous in the series. Call of Duty and Fifa, historically two of the heaviest hitters, both sold less than expected according to investor calls and what not. There's even talk of Call of Duty having F2P elements this year. Even games that had a seemingly flawless promotion and release (specifically The Division 2) haven't sold anywhere near what the previous ones did.

Part of it is digital sales aren't accounted for in sales figures but there's no way they make up the apparently considerable short fall, so what's going on? Are people finally over fatigued by sequels? Has Fortnite killed a massive chunk of the market, bigger than people realise? Are people just bored of the current trend for open world/GaaS*/loot fests? Have a lot of people that played the originals moved on from gaming and just aren't buying them any more? It's fun to speculate and wallow in conjecture and anecdotal evidence so let's do that!



*I fucking hate this acronym but here we are.

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1 minute ago, moosegrinder said:

Part of it is digital sales aren't accounted for in sales figures but there's no way they make up the apparently considerable short fall

Can we be sure of that? An awful lot to seem to have changed to downloads.

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2 minutes ago, JohnC said:

Can we be sure of that? An awful lot to seem to have changed to downloads.

 

We can’t. From reports over the past few years it looks like digital sails have been a massive impact.

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Just now, JohnC said:

Can we be sure of that? An awful lot to seem to have changed to downloads.

 

Running with the speculative anecdotal conjecture element of the post (because I honestly don't know) it just seems like the leap to equal sales with digital looks a bit like a stretch to me. I guess we won't really know unless a publishers hands the numbers over but Division 2 sold 20% of Division 1 at launch. I genuinely can't see the uptake being 80% digital.

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I've bought the occasional physical game this gen but only when they're dirt cheap. Otherwise I'm exclusively digital.

 

Dunno about overall though. Maybe sales are genuinely down. Perhaps that's part of the reason publishers are so keen on Gaas. If you can't sell people loads of games get them hooked on one or two that you can keep charging them with.

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4 minutes ago, Timmo said:

I've not bought a physical game for a few years now.

 

I've moved a lot quicker to digital only than I thought I would. I guess a lot of people have, but there has to be a good slice of the market that still wants to buy physical so they can chop it in at the ever decreasing number of shops that do such a thing. Surely? No?

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Digital sales aren't included in the charts. [/thread]

 

Eurogamer keep saying in every sales article that digital sales can't make up the difference, but they have no basis on which to make that assertion. EA, for example, expect digital to account for 74% of their sales in this financial year, which is up from 49% in 2015 and 67% in 2018. The market is clearly moving in a way which makes the traditional charts data next to useless.

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Is it really that surprising that a very late sequel to a game nobody particularly cared about in the first place didn’t sell too well? Combine that with it not being very good, along with Bethesda’s classic anti-PR buzzkilling strategy of not giving out review codes until the day of release, and it’s hardly a shock that it got a bit of a pasting. 

 

Sekiro sold shedloads of copies just recently, while being super-hard and not based on an existing IP. Maybe games are in decline overall, but it’s hard to make a case on the basis of a handful of games. 

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Just now, K said:

Is it really that surprising that a very late sequel to a game nobody particularly cared about in the first place didn’t sell too well? Combine that with it not being very good, along with Bethesda’s classic anti-PR buzzkilling strategy of not giving out review codes until the day of release, and it’s hardly a shock that it got a bit of a pasting. 

 

Sekiro sold shedloads of copies just recently, while being super-hard and not based on an existing IP. Maybe games are in decline overall, but it’s hard to make a case on the basis of a handful of games. 

 

Yeah, with Rage it's not surprising as such, it just seems to be more of a trend than it should be. I also thought it wouldn't be so unanimous that people would think digital is the sole reason. Short thread, it seems :P

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4 minutes ago, K said:

 

 

Sekiro sold shedloads of copies just recently, while being super-hard and not based on an existing IP. Maybe games are in decline overall, but it’s hard to make a case on the basis of a handful of games. 

 

Which contrary to what I just said, I bought physical (the only game I've done so in at least a year).

Starting to think they get these sales figures by monitoring what I buy and extrapolating from there.

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1 minute ago, Strafe said:

Rage 2 didn’t sell very well because it wasn’t very good. I don’t think RDR2 had this issue.

 

Rockstar games are the games other companies avoid like fuck, because they're one of the very few guaranteed sellers. They're black hole games. Actually, in the case of Call of Duty, Fifa and other games from the back end of last year, RDR2 happened and took a chunk of their pie.

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1 minute ago, Strafe said:

Rage 2 didn’t sell very well because it wasn’t very good. I don’t think RDR2 had this issue.

Yup . Lots of good games have sold very well . Spider-Man , god of war etc .

 

didnt days gone sell well too ?

 

 

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A few things I can think of -

 

Rage 2 is a Bethesda game, everyone remembers how well the last Bethesda game went right? What was it, Fallout 75 or something like that? 

 

Triple A title's rarely come finished in today's world and end up being patch for 6 months + after release. So I imagine a lot of people wait a few months for the price to drop and the game to be completed before purchase.

 

You can also get so much more for your money with indie titles and that these day's that Triple A titles should have stepped it up in terms of quality but that never happened so why bother?

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9-10 years ago I would have bought most games at launch, finished them and trade them in toward the next one.

 

This year I have only bought 3 games : Resident Evil 2, Sekiro, and Mortal Kombat 11. I didn't even rate Sekiro (neg away) and sold it to pay for MK11.

 

I'm 34 years old with a full time job, married but no kids so get more time than most and yet still I haven't felt the need to buy new games.

 

Resident Evil 2 was so well made and had good replayability and MK11 is currently keeping me really busy. In the interim I'm enjoying classic games on my modded PS Classic, and we had Apex for that multiplayer fix that didn't cost anything. There's just zero reason for me to buy something like Rage 2 now (despite really enjoying the first one) where all it will do is sit on a shelf for a few weeks before I get round to it.

 

Also, it looks just like the recently released Far Cry New Dawn which was a new skin of Far Cry 5 and the latter is just over a year old. Games are getting to identitkit and boring and who has the time to keep playing these similar looking games over and over? Call of Duty i adored 10 years ago but apart from sharing the name the new games in the series look nothing like the ones I loved.

 

So as a boring rapidly-approaching middle age man that still buys physical games exclusively, that's my excuse. I'll be buying Shenmue III next though.

 

The Apex/Fortnite effect can't be understated , they are free, they are on every youtuber's playlist, there's no ps plus cost involved, the barrier to access is incredibly low, it's super mainstream so you can talk to all your friends about it, i'd imagine for most young people the idea of spending time playing something that isn't so popular AND costs money to be just odd.

 

When i was 12 I was buying Sega Saturn magazine and dreaming about importing Metal Slug and wanting to try any new games I could get my hands on and those kind of days of gaming are long gone. To be fair if I could download a free game on my Saturn that everyone talked about , loved, and constantly had brand new, seemingly never ending content, I doubt I'd have spent much time on alternatives either.

 

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1 hour ago, Eighthours said:

EA, for example, expect digital to account for 74% of their sales in this financial year, which is up from 49% in 2015 and 67% in 2018. The market is clearly moving in a way which makes the traditional charts data next to useless.

 

You've conflated what percentage of their overall revenue digitally sold content accounts for, and what percentage of full games sold is digital, a number they do not release for many individual games (apart from the odd general trend mention).

 

Digital sales of fullpriced retail games isn't the overwhelming majority of sales at present. Digital is bigger because of things like PC games being overwhelmingly digital and DLC and MTX are practically all digital too.

 

EA reported that for PS4/Xbox, digital sales had reached 47% in 2018, so they should reach the majority of sales this year.

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1 hour ago, moosegrinder said:

 

I've moved a lot quicker to digital only than I thought I would. I guess a lot of people have, but there has to be a good slice of the market that still wants to buy physical so they can chop it in at the ever decreasing number of shops that do such a thing. Surely? No?

 

 

Yeh, definitely. I try not to buy digital at all if possible (bar the odd game I think I will play a lot) on console so I can sell on. PC on the other hand has been digital since steam started so god knows how I justify that. Lower prices probably.

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Ignoring digital sales, franchise fatigue, wrong time of year etc it could even just be down to choice. When Rage came out was Netlix, Amazon Prime, digital boxsets etc as prevalent? What about games with gold, ps plus with all the free games they give out monthly? What about gamepass where i have 100 games every month to choose from, with at least 10 great ones in there. What about all the sales and games being practically given away?

 

How many games do you have on your xbox one or ps4 dashboard. On my Xbox i have access to over 200 games between the literal handful of games i've bought, backwards compatibility and games with goal. Let alone including gamepass or f2p games like apex legends. Every other console i've owned i've probably had 10-20 games in my collection, now though i can't turn on a machine or install a service without being bombarded with free games and top quality free games too.

 

Then there is the constant sales, Rage 2 will be £20 within 2 months. Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently £20 in loads of places now and with so many games there to play currently (if i was interested in Rage 2) i know i could just wait till it drops in price cos i probably won't get around to playing it before it does anyways.

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Those of you who now buy everything digital: do you wait for deep sales to pick games up at a reasonable price? If not, do you just have loads of disposable income and are cool with spending it irresponsibly (I believe some games are £59.99 a pop digitally these days - fucking wild) or do you only buy a few games a year?

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5 minutes ago, ann coulter said:

Those of you who now buy everything digital: do you wait for deep sales to pick games up at a reasonable price? If not, do you just have loads of disposable income and are cool with spending it irresponsibly (I believe some games are £59.99 a pop digitally these days - fucking wild) or do you only buy a few games a year?

Depends on the game , Most are £54.99 on release. If I really want it, I'll buy full whack. If I don't I won't and I'll wait.

 

As I said many times before. In real terms, £54.99  is cheaper than when we were paying £39.99 in 2002.

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Yes, that is a pertinent question as fullpriced game sales at launch on console are hardly bargain price territory. Some avid buyers can justify the pricing with physical games as long as you are willing to get on the hamster wheel of reselling, but with digital, you are stuck with it forever so £50-£60 per game will soon add up.

 

Hardly any games this year in the UK have sold bucketloads of actual copies at retail at fullprice so I'd be very surprised if the digital fullprice sales were way bigger over the same timeframe, given the lack of resale.

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7 minutes ago, ann coulter said:

Those of you who now buy everything digital: do you wait for deep sales to pick games up at a reasonable price? If not, do you just have loads of disposable income and are cool with spending it irresponsibly (I believe some games are £59.99 a pop digitally these days - fucking wild) or do you only buy a few games a year?

 

Decided to go digital only a couple of months back. Just buy things in the sales. Happy to be behind the curve in terms of new releases.

 

To be fair though hardly bought anything - in fact only Dangerous Driving. What with Games With Gold, GamePass etc just no need.


With the popularity of Fortnite and other FTP games - subscription services like GamePass think the way I consume games has completely changed. Not sure I'll ever buy a AAA game again....  Guessing the youngsters now will expect the way Fortnite works is pretty normal... 

 

Be interesting to see where all this goes. Going forward I'm interested to see where Google go with Stadia. As for the next gen of traditional consoles have to say not really interested. Well other than where I will get to play the next instalment of Mario... :D 

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