Video Game Sales Fall in March

Walking through Costco last weekend, I saw something shocking:  Wiis and Wii Fits on sale.  Costco doesn't usually get merchandise that's hard to obtain--why would Nintendo discount game consoles that stores can barely keep in stock?  (And indeed, the discount was underwhelming--about $5). 

But it turns out that video game sales are off across the board.

Among gaming hardware, Nintendo continued to rule the industry with the Wii, which sold 601,000 units. The company's handheld DS sold another 563,000 units.

However, sales of the Wii slipped 20% from the previous month. The XBox 360 fell only 15% from the previous month, while the PS3 fell only 7%. The 360 sold 330,000 units while the PS3 sold 218,000 units.

"If there was one area that surprised me this month, it was hardware sales," Ms. Frazier said. "While it's not unusual for March hardware sales to be lower than February, I thought we'd see higher unit sales on most platforms."

There weren't many new products on sale in March, it's true.  On the other hand, video games seem like one thing that ought to be countercyclical:  the games are expensive, to be sure, but if they substitute for going to bars, concerts, or sporting events, they ought to pay for themselves quickly.  I'm beginning to suspect that all of those people not patronizing restaurants are just . . . sitting at home talking to each other, or something.