The video game industry hit the pause button on sales in May, posting its lowest monthly revenue from U.S. retail stores such as Best Buy Co. and GameStop Corp. since October 2006.
Sales of games, consoles and game accessories such as extra controllers dropped 14% last month to $743.1 million, down from $866.8 million in May 2010, according to a report released Monday from NPD Group, a market research firm.
"A light slate of new releases is at the heart of last month's performance," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. Just 42 titles were released in May, compared with 58 in the same month last year. As a result, only 28% of last month's game sales came from new releases, down from 41% in May 2010.
With fewer new games available, foot traffic in retail stores declined and, along with it, impulse purchases, Frazier said.
The release of a digital add-on level for Activision Blizzard Inc.'s Call of Duty: Black Ops, which was sold via download from Internet-connected game consoles, also probably diverted consumer dollars on games away from traditional retail stores, she said.