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Console sales fall sharply while online game users rise 22%
One swallow does not make a summer, but with NPD data showing continued weakness in retail sales and ComScore reporting a strong rise in web gamers, are we moving to the end of the boxed game?
87 million Americans visited a gaming site in May 2009, up 22% from the same month in 2008. Yahoo! Games was the largest site with 19.3 million uniques while Electronic Arts (the only traditional games company in the list) was #2 with 18.0 million visitors.
Amongst the independents, SPIL (up 65% to 7.2 million visitors) made major inroads against companies such as Miniclip (up 12% to 8.4 million) and Wild Tangent (up 16% to 13.8 million.)
MSN Games and Real Arcade both lost visitors, two of only four sites in the top 25 that aren’t growing.
Venturebeat writer Dean Takahashi writes that the growth in the online games market is “a stark contrast to the slide in overall console game revenues in the U.S., which fell 23 percent compared to a year ago in dollar sales, according to market researcher NPD.”
While monetization remains an issue for web games, the infrastructure costs and marginal cost of delivery are vastly lower. This is yet more evidence of the inevitable decline of boxed games.
Top Online Gaming Sites
May 2009 vs. May 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
|Total Unique Visitors (000)|
|Total Internet : Total Audience||190,858||193,825||2|
|Nickelodeon Casual Games||N/A||14,836||N/A|
|Betawave Partners – Partial List||3,894||7,406||90|
|GSN Games Network||910||6,034||563|
|Big Fish Games Sites||4,392||5,592||27|