Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners came out in force on Black Friday, accounting for more sales of games than next-generation buyers, according to initial reports from analysts.
Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen & Co., wrote in a research note that Amazon’s top seller data for Black Friday suggests that current-generation games came back with a vengeance. Gamers stopped buying those titles briefly during the Nov. 15 launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and the Nov. 22 launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One. But by the time Black Friday came around, all of the top 20-selling titles on Amazon were current-generation games.
There were 10 Xbox 360 games on the list, eight PlayStation 3 titles, and two for the Wii. The winners included Electronic Arts, with six titles on the list including the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Battlefield 4, Madden NFL 25, and FIFA 14. Ubisoft had four titles on the list: the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and the Xbox 360 and Wii versions of Just Dance 2014. Activision had three titles with the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the Wii version of Skylanders: Swap Force. Warner Bros. also had three with the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Batman: Arkham Origins and the Xbox 360 version of Lego Marvel.
Creutz said the average discount among the top 20-selling titles was $19, a bit more than the average discount of $17 last year. EA had heavier discounts among its top three titles at $23. Discounting for Call of Duty: Ghosts was $15, higher than the last two year’s average for the franchise of $7. The Wii version of Activision’s Skylanders: Swap Force came in at No. 14, while Disney Infinity came in at No. 25. Both were discounted $25 and sold for $49.99.
Overall, Creutz expects that the top sellers for the month of December (which provides 25 percent of annual game sales) will be Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, and Madden NFL 25. Ubisoft is also expected to have a strong holiday sales season, based on weekend sales.
Meanwhile, Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at Sterne Agree, wrote that GameStop sales are on track for the quarter, with next-generation console sales selling well. The systems are generally sold out, based on checks at stores and premium pricing for resold consoles on eBay, Bhatia said. Gamers are purchasing about three games for every new console, with Call of Duty: Ghosts leading the way by far.
Bhatia said that much of the early results for new console sales are based on allocations the various retailers received. But he said that the PS4′s price advantage (the PS4 sells for $400, the Xbox One for $500) and more favorable launch buzz are helping it take a lead over Xbox One in many key markets. On eBay, the PS4 appeared to have a greater premium over the base price than the Xbox One had.
Besides Call of Duty: Ghosts, the leaders in next-generation software sales were Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Killzone: Shadowfall (on the PS4), Ryse: Son of Rome (on the Xbox One), and Forza Motorsport 5 (on the Xbox One).