Australian gaming sales take a 16% hit

Flattening out of consumer market to blame

Consumers spent less on retail games, hardware and peripherals last year, according to the latest statistics from market research company GfK Retail and Technology.

The GfK found that total sales for 2010 amounted to $1.7 billion, a 16 per cent decline from the same period in 2009.

Console sales declined by 27 per cent with 1.6 million units sold, compared to 2.2 million in 2009 and console game sales were down by 13 per cent with 16.9 million units sold, compared to 19.3 million in 2009.

PC game sales, however, increased by seven per cent with 3.1 million unites sold, compared to three million in 2009.

The data measured sales from hardware, gaming peripherals and boxed software sold through retail outlets. However, the sales figures did not include revenue from online retail sales, downloadable content, online game subscriptions and mobile games due its difficulty to calculate.

Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) chief executive, Ron Curry, said the drop was less in comparison to many overseas territories, and that Australia’s video and computer games industry still remains buoyant.

“Australia did witness sales increases during 2008 and 2009 so what we are seeing is a levelling of the market,” he said.

The sales drop is not expected to last long with a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, entitled Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2010 – 2014, forecasting the categories to return $2.5 billion by 2014.

Online and mobile games are expected to drive this growth with online games forecasted to reach $534 million by 2014 and mobile games to hit $496 million in the same period.

“As the industry continues to evolve and interactive entertainment is delivered through increasingly diverse channels, it becomes more difficult to aggregate sales data through a single source,” said Curry.

However, the decline in sales was a contrast to reports from vendors.

According to Microsoft Xbox A/NZ general manager, David McLean, the console experienced a 20 per cent increase in total sales from the previous year, with reported global sales of eight million units for its Kinect hands-free platform for Xbox 360.

However, Microsoft does not provide revenue figures on a country basis.

Sony Australia posted local sales of $469 million for its PlayStation 3 console which includes hardware, software and peripherals, a 19 per cent increase since 2009 when it recorded sales of $394 million.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags Microsoftgaminggamessony australiagame consolesGfK Retail and Technology AustraliaInteractive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA)

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