Today the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association released figures stating that sales of video games in Australia are down 16% year on year, despite accumulating a grand total of $1.7 billion in revenue in 2010.
It seems like a grim number, but iGEA CEO Ron Curry claimed that it was a steadying year - with Australia navigating the Global Financial Crisis more effectively than most other western economies, the bouyant numbers of the last couple of years were bound to take a more realistic turn in 2010.
“Compared to the most other international territories," began Ron, "our local interactive entertainment market has done considerably well to weather the global economic crisis which affected a broad range of entertainment industries and what we are seeing now is a levelling or righting of the market.”
It's also important to note that the numbers did not include sales from digital sources such as the App Store, Xbox LIVE, PSN or Steam - sources which are starting to account for a rapidly growing percentage of our collective video game spendings. Finding ways to account for this new outlet accurately is one of the new challenges for the GfK - which collects and collates the data - as the games industry grows in new directions.
“As the industry continues to evolve and interactive entertainment is delivered through increasingly diverse channels," began Ron, "it becomes more difficult to aggregate sales data through a single source. Anecdotally, sales of interactive entertainment products are continuing their healthy growth; however, the ways these products are being consumed and engaged with is expanding and changing dramatically, as is the industry itself.
“Digital downloads, online subscriptions, micro and mobile games and alike are expanding consumer spend into areas that we are unable to measure in the traditional manner. 2011 will continue to see consumers investing in a wide range of interactive entertainment offerings which will further strengthen the ongoing success of the industry,” said Curry.
The lower number can also be attributed to the fact that we are in the tail end of a console cycle - both in terms of home consoles and handhelds. Hardware sales were down 27%, compared to only a 13% decrease in console game sales. Surprisingly, PC games saw a resurgence, with sales increasing by 7%.
Despite this year's decrease, sales in the games industry are projected to increase to $2.5 billion by 2014.