Videogame consumers are buckling under the pressure of keeping up with the latest releases on
shrinking budgets, says GameStop. Reporting lower-than-anticipated
revenues in its latest fiscal quarter, the retail giant told Gamasutra it believes the industry has suffered from a case of too many options and too
"The quarter presented some
challenges in topline, due to a cash-strapped consumer that could not
afford all of the good titles released during the quarter," said
GameStop CEO Paul Raines in an earnings call.
Not that GameStop has suffered too much. Analyzing its fiscal numbers from the quarter
ending October 29, 2011, it reported revenues of $1.95 billion (up
2.5% year-over-year); and only a 1.5% dip in profits of $53.9
million. Key earners for the company included Batman: Arkham City,
Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Dead Island, and Madden NFL 12.
GameStop president Tony Bartel explained the slight drop in profits, noting: “We had expectations for
strong sales due to the great title lineup and record reservations.
But we found that consumers were unable to fund the products that
they wanted, as these strong titles rolled out week after week."
GameStop's analysis makes sense. This
year has been one of the busiest for AAA titles, and the recent
release of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, The Elder Scrolls V:
Skyrim, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Modern Warfare 3, Saints Row:
The Third – not to mention the impending arrival of The Legend of
Zelda: Skyward Sword, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Just Dance 3, and
a whack of other games – is making it hard for the average,
non-billionaire to keep up. But then, cluttered release schedules
tend to boost the sale of pre-owned copies, so we're sure GameStop
will do just fine.