MyGaming recently reported the fact that some of 2016’s biggest titles were seriously under performing on the sales-front.
Chief amongst these are Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Watchdogs 2, Dishonored 2 and Titanfall 2 – games that would have sold well in previous years that are now on their way to being considered relative flops.
Naturally this has sent alarm bells ringing with a number of industry insiders, pointing to several different reasons as to why AAA games sold so poorly in 2016.
Games are too long
One of the biggest problems with new triple-A games is that they are too long, according to industry analyst Rob Fahey.
Fahey posits that because games are much longer and more full of content than ever, gamers have no reason to go out and buy new games.
Add to this multiplayer games that can last hundred of hours, and you have games like the above that would traditionally sell well doing poorly.
While we can relate to the above and have personally found it to be the case where I don’t want to start a new game until I’ve completed the current one, it doesn’t explain why the phenomenon is only occuring now.
Mammoth titles like Skyrim and Modern Warfare are well over 5 years old at this point and we can see clearly that game sales didn’t dip unexpectedly after their release.
The rise of digital
While digital sales are more convenient and often cheaper than going to a brick and mortar store, they too could be causing the dip in sales, continues Fahey.
This is because despite all of the benefits of going digital, it has caused the pre-owned market to all but dry up.
Gamers no longer have games to trade in as they are all tied to a digital account, and there really is less of an incentive to buy physical copies.
As a result, while it was once much more affordable to buy a new game by simply trading in some of your older ones and paying in the difference, that option is now no longer on the table and gamers have to buy a games at full price or wait for a sale.
Lack of excitement
Writing for Eurogamer, Wesley Yin-Poole pointed out that it may simply be a case of gamers being burnt out on certain franchises.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be the 9th Call of Duty title released in as many years following Modern Warfare.
Watch Dogs 2 (despite reviewing well critically) follows a first game that received enormous negative feedback.
Dishonored 2 launched with terrible performance issues, and so the trend continues.
Tying into the first point of game being too long, the result is that because consumers get to be choosy with their money, they don’t have to settle for a game with drawbacks when they have plenty else to play.
The final point Yin-Poole makes is the matter of finances.
Yin-Poole points out that it’s not necessarily a case of people not being able to afford games (although that is a factor) but rather how predictably and quickly these games go on sale.
Case in point, why pay R1,000 for Titanfall 2 on release when less than a month later it was already discounted by nearly 50 percent?