Game’s New CEO Seeks Another Wii Effect With Sales Still Down

Game Group’s sales for the 19 weeks to June 12 were 11.4 percent from the same period last year, as video game sales showed few signs of emerging from their slump.

“The good range of software releases, such as Red Dead Redemption and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, have sold well, although not in sufficient volume to offset the year on year decline in hardware and software sales,” the retailer says.

“In the UK market, hardware revenues have decreased by 33%, primarily due to lower Nintendo sales, and software decreased by 11% leading to an overall decrease of 19% (source: GfK ChartTrack).”

In other words, nearly everyone who’s going to buy a Wii has bought a Wii, and game sales for that and other consoles are still soft.

In truth, game hardware and software sales are naturally cyclical, ebbing and flowing to the warm glow that follows a new console release. But, with Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii already established now in the market, where will retail growth come from if not from blockbuster games like Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Red Dead Redemption?

One possible answer: Wii copycats. Microsoft’s Kinect and Playstation’s Move each mimic the Wii’s core proposition – introducing player movement in to games, thereby extending the audience to casual gamers – but build on it with added features and better graphics.

Each is a new piece of hardware that will introduce new conventions to the consoles and unleash a new set of software for buying – but neither is strictly a new console entirely, so we’re unsure how much they can lend to Game.

Game Group’s online sales are up 13.5 percent and, on this, the company claims to be growing ahead of the UK market, of which 17.6 percent of game sales come from online.

The company has appointed former Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) UK consumer director Ian Shepherd as its new CEO and is upping cost cuts to £5 million for the second half of this year and £7 million next year.