U.S. gaming sales slump in first half of 2022
Spending on video games in the U.S. declined 10% compared to the first half of 2021, down to $26.3 billion, tracking firm NPD reported Friday.
Why it matters: The market is cooling, due in part to temporary factors like a lack of major game releases and constraints capping console supply.
Details: Most major categories dropped when comparing the first half of 2022 to 2021.
- Game content spending is down 10%.
- Hardware spending is down 9%.
- Accessories are down 14%.
- Subscriptions were the only major category with a spending increase, but NPD hasn't made the exact figure public.
Mobile gaming has also been taking a hit.
- Tracking firm Sensor Tower says spending on mobile games was down 10.7% in June, compared to the same month a year ago.
- The drop was on Google Play, with a slight increase on Apple platforms.
- Thursday, Sensor Tower reported that for the first time spending on non-gaming apps overtook spending on games in Apple’s U.S. app store during the second quarter of 2022.
Between the lines: It's unclear how much inflation has played a role in curtailing the desire to spend money on games.
- But the lack of major releases since a winter bumper crop is striking.
- Older games dominated NPD’s top 10 game list for June with only one new release, Nintendo’s Mario Strikers: Battle League, cracking the top 10 (in the third slot).
- February’s Elden Ring keeps topping the charts, including in June. It is NPD's best-selling game for the last 12 months, outpacing the most recent Call of Duty.
The bottom line: The numbers underscore the myriad impacts of a pandemic that had temporarily intensified the public’s appetite for games and continues to complicate the ability of people to create and sell stuff to play.
- It’s no surprise that one analyst is expecting a small but rare contraction in the gaming market this year, before a return to growth.
Fun fact: NPD’s Mat Piscatella tells Axios that June saw the sale of one Nintendo DS, a system discontinued by its manufacturer many years ago.
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