Aussie gaming industry went south in 2010


Independent market research has recorded a 16 per cent drop in sales for Australia’s games and entertainment industry in 2010, compared with the previous year.

According to the report, produced by analyst house GfK and distributed by the Interactive Gaming & Entertainment Association, which represents games publishers, console game sales were down by 13 per cent with 16.9 million units sold in 2010, while console sales also declined by 27 per cent, with 1.6 million units sold in 2010. However, PC game sales increased by 7 per cent from last year with 3.1 million units sold in 2010.

However, the research carried a limitation: it didn’t analyse revenue from online retail sales, downloadable content, online games subscriptions or games delivered to mobile services. Instead, it focused on hardware, gaming peripherals and boxed software sold through “traditional” retail shops.

Industry experts tried to balance the news. iGEA chief executive Ron Curry said Australia was doing better than other international markets, as it achieved an increase in sales in the past two years. And he added that innovative ways of delivering games made it difficult to collect revenue data comprehensively.

“As the industry continues to evolve and interactive entertainment is delivered through increasingly diverse channels, it becomes more difficult to aggregate sales data through a single source,” he said.

In addition, both Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and Microsoft issued statements today claiming they had managed to defeat the market trend for decreasing console sales. Sony said its PlayStation 3 was outperforming sales of other game platforms, scoring a 41 per cent uplift in calendar year unit sales. The company claimed the PS3 represented 27 per cent of the approximate AU$1.7 billion industry.

“PlayStation 3 as a platform continues to outperform and grow, even during the double digit industry wide downturn last year,” said SCEA managing director Michael Ephraim.

Microsoft claimed its Xbox 360 was the fastest growing gaming console in the market in 2010, achieving a 20 per cent increase in sales. General manager of Xbox Australia and New Zealand, David McLean, said Christmas brought a 52 per cent growth from the same period in 2009, thanks to the launch of the company’s motion sensing Kinect.

“Christmas sales are a telling time for future trends and gauging what’s popular amongst consumers. With Kinect we have changed the landscape of the gaming and entertainment industry,“ he said “We have opened gaming to a new audience and essentially created a new genre in controller-free entertainment.”

McLean added he believed the future of the gaming industry would move towards the delivery of an integrated entertainment experience for consumers.

According to another report compiled by business consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, games sales will boost again by 2014, when they are predicted to reach $2.5 billion. At that stage, the report says online and mobile games will drive the growth.

However, iGEA’s Curry said a “healthy” expansion of sales was already happening through new channels of distribution. “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, “ he said. “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”.

Image credit: Screenshot of Sony’s God of War 3 game


  1. A survey which doesn’t include downloaded and online games is pretty worthless in this day and age. Like saying people aren’t travelling as much because horse-and-cart sales are down…

    • The problem is, though, that most of the various online platforms (eg Steam) won’t even respond to enquiries, let alone disclose data.

      • Yeah, I understand it’s quite logically difficult to get the data, I’m just not sure what value we get from seeing the retail numbers but still being totally in the dark with respect to the online numbers.

        Though I do like how Microsoft and Sony can always be relied upon to spin the numbers in their direction, no matter what the surveys say :-)

  2. When talking about the gaming industry, maybe they should make their judgments based on how much time was spent playing games rather than how much $$$ customers spent trying to find something worth playing.

    TF2 (action) and Eve Online (MMO) are still going strong, and i got a new Civ5 (strategy) in 2010. I can say without question that my gaming calender is full.

    • Because it’s all about profits. I’m starting to think that the pure capitalist model (profit, and short term profit, at the cost of all else) is actually becoming a detetriment to the first world.

      In the gaming industy alone we have seen games that have been made purely for the short term thrill, or with half the content locked up in DLC you have to purchase, all in the name of driving up profits, sometimes in the detriment of a great game.

      I don’t want to pay an extra $50 on top of the $80 I spent to get on the first place to get some extra goodies that should have been included in the game in the first place!

  3. The bean counters at GfK will need to rapidly move with the times.

    “PC game sales increased by 7 per cent from last year with 3.1 million units sold in 2010.”

    Like sales of music and video on optical media. I wonder how much of this media can now be found in pawn shops and landfill. Even video hire shops (some hire games) are on the decline.

    Did they include Nintendo? Did they include iPad?

    The iPad is now seen as a promising and ideal gaming platform, especially with convergance with Web 3.0 and Internet TV in the future. Just imagine playing games and participating in 3D virtual Worlds with cinematic quality on a global scale. Killer apps are just around the corner.

    Speaking of 3D Virtual Worlds, the number one is Second Life. It has its own economy which is performing better than the soil the servers are located. Even right now, I can host a international virtual meetings or conferences for Delimiter style discusions on my parcel. The number of simulators for roleplay and combat are plentiful. The global market for asset trading, object creation, and services rendered in virtual worlds is estimated at anywhere from $700 million to $2 billion per year. Second Life’s basic membership is free.

    The Second Life Economy

    ~~”The Internet is more powerful than the gun”~~

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