We had to read this twice to make sure we got it right: Sales of console and portable video games in Japan are down 21% in the third quarter. The numbers are so bad Japan is dragging the global gaming industry down with it: Global game sales from July to September grew at a paltry 1%, despite fair growth in the United States (8%) and Britain (15%).
What’s going on? Gaming companies simply haven’t come out with the kind of must-have titles like Halo 3 or Super Mario Galaxy we saw in 2007. When there’s nothing exciting to play that’s new, gamers do other things (like, umm, go outside). And then there’s the recession. While video games generally deliver a lot of entertainment value for the buck (or yen), leaner wallets mean people buy fewer games.
The real test will be to see how games fare during the all-important holiday season, which sees the introduction of two updated portable consoles (the Sony PSP-3000 and the Nintendo DSi) and discounted Xbox 360s and games like LittleBigPlanet, already reported to be doing well.
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