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People are spending much less on video games this year compared to 2021

PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles

It’s been a peculiar start to the new generation (pic: Metro)

A US study suggests that video game spending is significantly down on last year, and likely to get worse given the rising cost of living.

It’s been obvious from recent financial reports, from Microsoft and Sony, that the video games market is slowing down considerably, from its all-time high during the pandemic.

2021 was already down on the previous year but now 2022 is off to an even slower start, with US spending on video game products down by a massive $1.78 billion (£1.46 billion) in the second quarter of this year. So far, it’s down 13% in total for 2022, which is a very significant drop.

There’s one very obvious reason for this: the lack of new games, as well as the lack of major announcements to drive excitement about future releases.

Companies can’t do anything about the thin release schedules, which are a direct result of the pandemic and the fact that while it was relatively easy to get games finished, that were almost done before the coronavirus hit, we’re now dealing with games were the majority of work was done under the shadow of Covid.

Hopefully we’ll move past that over the course of the next year, but Christmas 2022 is not looking like a busy one, and the year as a whole is likely to be one most companies will want to forget.

Although there’s nothing anyone can do about this, the lack of preview events. and general lack of communication from most publishers (Sony has frequently been berated for this, but it’s not just them), is harder to explain.

Not only was there no E3 but hardly anyone tried to create their own alternative, so it’s no surprise to find that more casual gamers have seen their attention drift elsewhere.

The NPD report only covers the US, but the situation seems to be mirrored everywhere, with subscription content such as Game Pass being the only segment to see positive growth this year.

Companies haven’t even got the excuse of scarce stock for the next gen consoles anymore and while the situation still isn’t optimal, especially for the PlayStation 5, it’s nowhere near as bad as it was in 2021 and earlier.

Although it’s falling, spending on games is still currently higher than it was before the pandemic but there’s now the obvious problem of looming recessions in several countries and a greatly increased cost of living.

Without exciting new games to tempt people to buy more, though, that might be less of a problem than usual for cash-strapped gamers.

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