It was reported by Nintendo that the Wii U's debut managed to sell 400,000 units, which almost dried out the current stock. In fact, there are already a bunch of stores, if not all of them, in my area that no longer have it available. Unfortunately, it did not beat the original Wii's debut sales of 600,000 but Nintendo reports they had more units of the original one.
Not too long ago, EA's CEO made quite a bold statement claiming that PC gaming would overtake consoles because it's the "fastest growing platform." I completely agree on that truth, but how can you argue the fact that this current generation of consoles is about to hit the seven year mark while PC gamers have something "fresh" to look to every couple of months with the heated GPU battle of nVidia and AMD/ATI? See here, I play both pieces of hardware, but in the end, I always turn to the "year-closers" for my console needs and then turn to PC gaming afterwards. Though, with the line-up of games that didn't want to compete with this year's double shooter-titans, I might have to extend my console titles wish list to include games in the March-April time frame.
Still, we gamers and those who follow the industry itself closely can't hide from the fact that the sales for gaming hardware and software is declining and the current console generation is in free-fall. In fact, 2012 seems to be the worst year for gaming since 2006. While more people overall are buying and play games, the market has made a heavy shift to cheap or even free social gaming and online platforms and it's unfortunate because major developers and the industry makes most of its money from "AAA" titles.
But really, why is this so? Without thinking about the state of the economy and new gamers who are interested in social gaming, where have all the hardcore gamers gone? A statement made by NDP back in September suggested that "12 million gamers have vanished." While that statement uses analysis that does not include social and free-to-play games, 12 million is still a lot and something is wrong.
Personally, I think it's a rather straightforward answer as well as a psychological one. For starters, with 50 million Xbox 360s out in the hands of consumers, how much more people could you honestly sell to? Not a lot that's for sure and I'm sure that applies to every piece of hardware that's been around for the last six or so years. But another thing gamers I see on various message boards complain about is the pricing and arrangement of DLC. Gamers don't mind paying for more content, but why do it when said content is already on the disc or offered in a manner that's quite absurd? Buying content already on disk after dishing out $60? That doesn't even sound logical to me and quite openly have I seen numerous gamers turn to the horrid act of piracy, not because they're all cheap but because they do not wish to support certain companies and would rather make their purchases on games "worthwhile." That could also be why a major title like Resident Evil 6, which is made by Capcom mind you, has sold rather poorly in numbers.
A couple of months ago during Q3 2012, we saw a decline in sales of pretty much every gaming hardware and software. Still, that was kind of a dead time and fortunately, the end of the year, though not explosive enough to compensate for mid-year deficits, has helped out gaming industry sales quite a bit. Which was expected because you have the year-closers which break entertainment sales records and the debut of the Wii U. This shows people are still interested in popular blockbuster hits which this year; Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 both offered season passes for DLC at a discounted price and of course, new console hardware.
So I hate to put direct blame on anything but i'm sure gaming industry declines can be traced, even just a tiny bit, to Microsoft's and Sony's delay of their extremely anticipated next-gen consoles. We all know it's going to happen and when it does, we all know people will be running marathons across parking lots for one. Still, that's practically a whole year away and god knows there are companies out there that could use the boost from a next-gen gaming IP. So what do you guys think of next gen and where the gaming industry is headed in-terms of DLC arrangement, social gaming, and free-to-play?