After enjoying a boom in recent years, the video game industry has started to show signs of slowing down — in the U.S., at least. According to market research firm NPD (via The Verge), the overall spending in the country totalled US$12.35 billion in the recent quarter, marking a 13 percent decline year over year.
The findings aren’t exactly surprising, considering how Microsoft and Sony both reported revenue drops in gaming just recently amidst sluggish pandemic growth. The latter saw a massive 26 percent plunge in game software sales year over year, while Xbox’s hardware revenue dipped 11 percent in its recent quarter. This is on top of a six percent drop in Xbox content and services revenue and a seven percent decline in overall revenue.
Nintendo has yet to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings, but the company had earlier forecast estimated sales of 21 million Switch consoles, down from 23.1 million the previous year. Despite that, the Japanese company still took the lead in hardware unit sales, with Sony’s PlayStation 5 generating the highest dollar sales.
The overall decline in spending doesn’t mean that the fate of the video games industry has been sealed. Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at NPD, remains open to the possibility of changing outcomes, saying that “unpredictable and quickly changing conditions may continue to impact the market in unexpected ways in the coming quarters.”