The NPD results for August will see a release on Thursday, and already analysts are weighing-in on what to expect with the US numbers.
One such analyst is Michael Pachter, who has predicted a decline for both hardware and software due to online offerings.
Multiplayer was “the biggest driver” in the last 18 months
According to Pachter, strong online offerings are keep gamers happy enough for the moment that they’re not purchasing new titles, and the analyst has predicted a 6 percent decline in software sales, and a 7 percent decline in hardware for August.
“Based upon statements made by Microsoft earlier this year, it appears that millions of people are playing multiplayer games online for an average of 10 hours a week, making a serious dent in the time available to play other games,” he said.
“We remain convinced that the popularity of online multiplayer gaming has caused a decline in overall packaged product sales, and we expect this decline to persist unless the publishers change the multiplayer model.”
Publishers think a change (charge) will ’em good
Changes in the multiplayer model are happening though, as proved by both Electronic Arts and Microsoft, with the former charging used buyers $10 for online services, and the later raising the price of Xbox Live subscriptions.
Sony also introduced PlayStation Plus this year, for those seeking premium services, and other publishers are starting to take notice of the industry wide mini-trend.
“While we expect the publishers to continue to offer free multiplayer content that is similar in quality to what is offered today; we expect the publishers to channel their efforts on improvements to multiplayer by offering a premium subscription service, in the hopes of driving an ever- increasing number of customers to a pay service,” said Patcher, who has also suggested Microsoft will up the ante with an extra-premium service.
In the meantime, Pachter believes investors will remain cautious until financial gains from online services are more noticeable.
Be sure to check back with us on Thursday evening when the NPDs are released to see how close Pachter was in his prediction, as well as who bested who in everything for the month of August.
Start preparing your verbal barbs for one another now.