Games Industry reports that investment banker Cowen and Company issued a report indicating that the US market declined by 21% year-over-year last month, despite the release of major first-party titles such as God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment, and prominent third-party releases such as the Tomb Raider reboot and BioShock Infinite, and Heart of the Swarm.
According to Cowen and Company, the lastest installment in the Gears of War franchise only moved 425,000 units in March, following its release on the March 19th. By comparison, Gears of War 3 managed to move in excess of 2 million units during its first month on the shelves. God of War: Ascension, developed by Sony’s own Santa Monica studio, was estimated to have sold around 360,000 copies in March, after launching on March 12th. Its predecessor, God of War III, sold around 1.1 million units when it launched in March 2010. Cowen and Company commented that they had expected March to be a strong month for the industry, but that these “two historically strong franchises appear to have significantly underperformed.”
On the other hand, higher-than-expected sales were reported for Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite, with the former moving close to 700,000 units in 33 days and the latter reaching 665,000 sales in ten days following launch. Sales of boxed PC titles has risen by 66%, due to the release of EA’s SimCity and Blizzard’s StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Sales figures for these titles were not reported.
Despite these successes, Cowen and Company expect that the overall industry will have slumped by 21% compared to March 12.