Game Not Over: Video Game Sales Up 13% in January

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

While consumers might be cutting back on a lot of things these days, a new report says video games are not one them.

Alex Rollins is a manager at Gamerz Planet in Grand Junction. He says while he's heard the talk of business slowing down over the past few months, it's something he hasn't seen at his store.

"The new titles, the hot sellers like Call of Duty and Halo really don't slow down," said Rollins.

And he's not alone. A new report released by market research group NPD says the video game industry saw a 13 percent jump in sales during January 2009 -- raking in $1.3 billion.

Leading the way, the report says, are Nintendo Wii sales. Best Buy in Grand Junction says it just received a shipment of the game consoles on Saturday. Even at the going rate of $250 a pop, store managers say they were completely sold out by Sunday morning. Rollins says he can't keep Wiis on his store's shelves either.

"Nintendo just makes what they feel is enough and they'll just keep putting it out," said Rollins. "And people will keep buying it."

But he says the Wii and new games aren't the only things bringing in the bucks.

"With some of the mediocre titles you'll find that people will wait a couple weeks to get them used for ten to twenty bucks cheaper," said Rollins. "Used sales have actually been pretty good here."

In addition to used games, Rollins says he's noticed more people in his store looking for older systems like the original Nintendo, X-box, and Playstation.

"Those sales are actually pretty good because people are looking for some older stuff that's a little cheaper," said Rollins.

Whether they're buying the cheaper, used games and systems, or paying full price for the new ones, Rollins says he's not surprised consumers refuse to give up on video games.

"Video games are a cheap form of entertainment and you can find one for everybody," said Rollins.

And with the first numbers for 2009 looking good, he's hopeful they'll continue to feel that way for the rest of the year.

"Business is going to stay steady and it's going to pick up," said Rollins. "I'm confident."

The NPD report says in 2008, Americans bought a record $21 billion worth of video game systems.

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