Music game sales are down 46%

NPD Group’s Anita Frazier has cast a grim outlook on the formerly booming music game market, revealing that sales are down 46% from last year. Although things are bleak, it’s not all bad, since music games are still top sellers and the recent release of The Beatles: Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5 may re-energize things.

“While sales of this genre are down 46% year-to-date,” explains Frazier, “unit sales are down much less because lower prices are playing into the dollar sales decline. It’s still the third best-selling genre for the year after General Action and Multiple/Other Sports (where Wii Fit resides).”

Given the saturation of the music game genre, it’s hardly surprising that sales are down. Evil publisher Activision releases several Guitar Hero games a year, and then there’s Rock Band, SingStar, and plenty of bottom-shelf “me too” games that aren’t important enough to be mentioned. We simply don’t need all these plastic peripheral music games, and even of the ones we do need, there are too many spin-offs and sequels.

I hope the industry cools its jets before the bottom falls out of the whole thing. The mainstream market has a ridiculous tolerance for things, but there is always a breaking point.

Jim Sterling