Nov 15, 2013
There have been a number of huge releases over the past few weeks, that would usually sell like hotcakes. However this year, a number of publishers are reporting that their games are not selling so well, perhaps due to the upcoming next-generation, meaning some players are waiting to upgrade.
At the beginning of November, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag had 60% lower sales than it’s predecessor. This is despite the fact it has been eagerly anticipated by many fans of the series, who couldn’t wait to get started on more pirate adventures. Of course, this game is also releasing on next-gen consoles, and fans may be waiting to purchase their copies on these systems. Activisions UK managing director has addressed this issue, stating:
“It’s difficult to know how many people will buy current-generation or will wait… There probably is a slight amount of nervousness and hesitation in the marketplace with next-gen just around the corner.”
FIFA 14 is also reporting a drop of 24% is launch week sales, but is a sure fire purchase for any footballing fan on PS4 or Xbox One. Battlefield 4 is another title to come under fire, with a drop of 69% compared to their previous entry. Games Centre’s Robert Lindsay explained why current-gen sales are simmering down:
“There’s been a natural decline in current-gen software sales throughout the year which would have continued regardless of new consoles but there’s no denying that PS4 and Xbox One is having an even bigger impact. But our next-gen software pre-orders are strong, adding them to current-generations sales would make up most of the deficit.”
Despite this movement, it could also highlight the public are tired of replicated, annual titles. Perhaps some innovation and new IPs could breathe some fresh air into the industry. Yet with the next-gen on the horizon, this is sure to come surely. We are of course, at the end of the current generation, with many developers creating new titles for the newer consoles. Current-gen systems will probably only remain home to huge titles who can afford to release multiplatform, and games which rely on having a huge user base in order to profit.
The fact that so many titles are being released simultaneously on current and next-generation consoles is something that we have never seen before, so sales have been difficult to predict. Whether next-gen game sales will see a rise in AAA populatrity is yet to be seen, but consumers are sure to pick up their favourite franchises on what is otherwise a poor list of launch titles, especially with the recent delays.
Another matter is that GTA V is seen as the last current-gen title many gamers will pick up, with the Online aspects and expansive single player keeping them occupied for months. A great portion of the public are not in need of picking up another AAA title quite yet. Double this up with the rise of PC gaming and huge sales on current-gen titles available on Steam, then you can see why people are opting to steer clear of dropping the full RRP for games which will be outdated soon.
The fact of the matter is that for many of these games, this was merely the first phase in the games release, as they opt to sell their title to those not looking to upgrade to the next-gen quite yet. They will also be holding off some of their advertising campaigns for the upcoming next-gen versions, and so the marketing has to be staggered. But for many avid gamers out there, they will be keen to pick up games on launch day or over the Christmas period. Many gamers are unsure of which console to go for with such close release days, as usually there is an obvious market attached to each system, or varying release dates. But with remarkably similar consoles, there is a lot of apprehension.
The Next-Gen has certainly caused problem for current-gen AAA sales, yet this is sure to be recuperated with a lacklustre launch line-up. Although it signifies a loss of sales for many big titles, it could also save them.