Even if you don’t typically follow gaming, you are probably very well aware that both CoD: Black Ops II and Halo 4 had huge debuts.
Halo 4 made over $220 million it’s first day, while Call of Duty generated $500 million within 24 hours of launch. With the holidays just around the corner, gaming is sure to keep blowing up well into next year, and Grand Theft Auto V is also expected to do big business when it goes live in Spring 2013.
Of course, there is also the Nintendo Wii U, the first new system from Nintendo in years, and gamers were waiting to buy it at midnight at the local Best Buy. So again, there looks to be a major critical mass building up with gaming, and we’re especially curious to see how the sales of Halo, Call of Duty, and the new Wii will do as the year winds down to an end.
The spin in the press is that gaming is once again bigger business than Hollywood, but as USA Today points out, retail sales from gaming up to now were below 2011. Hardware and software sales were down 8% from last year, and some feel its because gaming consoles from industry heavyweights (Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation) haven’t been updated in some time. Another source attributed the reduction in sales to people buying smartphones and portables instead of games and consoles.
At the same time, digital sales are up 22% in this year’s third quarter, and as USA Today confirms, half the gaming sales for the year can be added up in the last three months. Yet as promising as things look, the GameStop chain also feels cautious.
As GameStop executive Rob Lloyd told Reuters, “We’ve continued to find new ways to drive revenues and margins in our stores and that’s enabled us to hold on to some earnings in these difficult times. We’re still a little bit cautious in that it’s a difficult environment in which to forecast because the industry has been down. And we’ve got uncertainty surrounding what the supply of the (Nintendo) Wii U is going to be.”
Thankfully those concerns can now be assuaged. As this story was being finalized, Gaming Blend reported that the Wii U has sold out, and one was spotted on eBay for $3,000. All of this tells us that this is going to be one hell of a season for gaming, and it’s probably just the beginning.