How the video games industry is faring
Companies in the video games business have been reporting earnings for the most recent quarter. Here’s a look at reports and results for selected companies that make or sell video games.
— July 12: NPD Group reports that U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories fell 29 percent in June to $700 million. It’s the seventh consecutive month of decline. Sales of console and portable software — the video games themselves — fell 29 percent from a year earlier, while sales of hardware fell 45 percent. Sales of accessories grew 4 percent. Excluded are sales of used games and rentals as well as digital and social-network spending. The top-selling game was “Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes,” from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Interactive.
— July 19: Microsoft Corp. says it sold 1.1 million Xbox 360 consoles, down from 1.7 million a year earlier, in what it calls a soft console market. Membership in its Xbox Live service increased more than 15 percent.
— July 25: Nintendo Co. says it sold 710,000 Wii units in the April-June quarter, down from 1.56 million a year ago. Nintendo is coming out with a successor, the Wii U, this year. It is forecasting 10.5 million units for the full fiscal year, which ends in March 2013.
— July 31: Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. reports a wider net loss and lower revenue in its latest quarter, but results are largely in line with expectations. It also announces a stock buyback of up to $500 million.
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., another game publisher, says its loss in the latest quarter was much bigger than expected, because sales of “Spec Ops: The Line” and “Max Payne 3” were not as high as the company hoped.
— Aug. 2: Sony Corp. says sales fell about 15 percent, largely because of lower sales of the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Portable devices and the games that go with them. The decline was partly offset by the new PlayStation Vita, which went on sale in December in Japan and in the U.S. and Europe in February.
Video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. says net income dropped because of lower revenue from games. But adjusted results — the more closely watched figure — easily surpassed Wall Street’s expectations and were much higher than a year ago.
— Aug. 6: Video game publisher THQ Inc. says revenue fell in the latest quarter, but adjusted results beat Wall Street’s expectations as the company plan to reshape its business advanced. THQ is changing its focus to its core gaming business that includes popular wrestling and action-adventure video games such as “WWE” and “Darksiders.” As part of that, it exited its traditional kids’ licensed game business, trimmed its product line and streamlined operations. The process, however, is still ongoing.
— Aug. 7: The Walt Disney Co.’s interactive games division saw revenue fall 22 percent to $196 million as there were fewer significant titles compared with a year ago.
— Aug. 9: NPD says retail sales of new video game hardware, software and accessories fell for the eighth straight month in July. Overall sales fell 20 percent to $548.4 million. Sales of consoles and portable software — the video games themselves — fell 23 percent, while sales of hardware fell 32 percent. Accessories sales rose 8 percent. “NCAA Football 13” from Electronic Arts Inc. was the month’s top seller.
— Aug. 16: GameStop Corp., the world’s biggest video game retailer, reports a 32 percent decline in its quarterly income as sales slowed because not enough new games came out to draw in customers. Revenue fell 11 percent to $1.55 billion, short of Wall Street’s $1.61 billion estimate.
— Wednesday: Zynga Inc. releases a sequel to “FarmVille,” hoping people will still play games on Facebook and computers as attention turns to mobile devices.
— Thursday: NPD says U.S. retail sales of new video game hardware, software and accessories fell for the ninth straight month in August. Overall sales fell 20 percent to $515.6 million. But one analyst notes that it was hardware that dragged on the month, while software sales dipped just 9 percent. “Darksiders II” was the month’s top-selling game.