If what goes up must come down, then what goes down occasionally bounces.
But not in 2010. The video games industry dipped for the second year in a row according to retail spend estimates released by sales tracker NPD Group last night.
NPD claims spending on physical gaming hardware, software, and accessories in 2010 was $18.6 billion. That's a 6 percent drop from 2009's $19.7 billion, which was itself an 8 percent drop from 2008's record $21.4 billion. Analysts had earlier in the year suggested late 2010 sales, hypothetically bolstered by new motion control products from Microsoft and Sony, might raise lagging year-to-date numbers to a flat year-on-year finale. No such luck, it seems.
2010's estimated total "consumer spend" on games content -- excluding hardware, but including newer indices like rentals, digital sales, and subscriptions--was between $15.4 and $15.6 billion, which NPD says was roughly on par with 2009. The company says it'll release a final analysis of the figure in March.
On the upside, PC physical game sales enjoyed a modest boost, up 3 percent over 2009. Accessory sales were the other spot of bright news, rising by 13 percent year-on-year, though owing to a 20 percent spike in average retail price.
Brighter days ahead? Perhaps. Bring on L.A. Noire, The Last Guardian, and pretty much anything else without a 2, 3, 4, or 5 in its name.