Back at E3 when we met with EA chief executive John Riccitiello, he told us that he expected software sales (as measured by NPD) to see growth in the low to mid single digits this year. Since then, however, the game industry has continued to struggle, posting four consecutive months of decline so far. Riccitiello has therefore changed his tune when it comes to software sales growth.
On the EA conference call following the publisher's Q1 results, Riccitiello commented on his outlook for the industry and retail environment: "This year through June packaged goods software sales were down 12% in North America, and we estimate minus 10% in Europe. Even though we expect tough compares in the June quarter, software sales were softer than expected, due in part to fewer hardware sales. In addition, we saw significant declines in the music category, which was down 52% with Rock Band having a particularly tough compare. As a result, for the calendar year we now expect packaged goods software sales to be flat year-over-year in North America and Europe combined."