How The Video Games Industry Is Faring

Published February 16, 2012 9:36PM (EST)

A look at results from selected companies in the video games business:

Jan. 9: GameStop Corp., the world's largest video game retailer, reports nearly flat sales for a nine-week holiday period that ended on Dec. 31. Sales of game software rose but sales of game consoles and other hardware slid. The company backed its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings guidance.

Jan. 19: Microsoft Corp. says revenue from Xbox 360 products and services grew 9 percent to $322 million, led by increases in consoles sold and higher revenue from the Xbox Live service. That was partly offset by reductions in sales of stand-alone Kinect sensors. Microsoft says it shipped 8.2 million Xbox 360 consoles during the latest quarter, up from 6.3 million a year earlier.

Jan. 26: Nintendo Co. reports a loss during the last nine months of 2011 (it didn't break out quarterly figures). Factors included a price cut for its 3DS handheld, a strong yen that erodes overseas earnings and competition from mobile devices such as the iPhone, which offer games-on-the-go. Nintendo lowers its forecast for 3DS unit sales, despite a price cut in August. It says it will have Wii U, the successor to the Wii, ready in time for the year-end holiday season. No prices were announced.

Jan. 27: Nintendo vows the company will be better prepared when it introduces the Wii U during the 2012 year-end shopping season. Without giving specifics, the company says the Wii U will come with a strong game lineup at the launch as well as secure and safe Internet services that will offer players individual accounts. The 3DS has lacked a strong lineup of attractive software games.

Feb. 1: Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. says it cut its losses in the final three months of 2011 without restructuring costs that brought down earnings a year earlier. The company says the holiday quarter was strong, led by game titles such as "Battlefield 3" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic."

Feb. 2: Sony Corp. says sales in the consumer products and services unit, which includes video games, fell 24 percent. It reports a loss for the unit in the latest quarter, compared with a profit in the same period of 2010. Sony partly blames lower revenue from PlayStation 3 because of a price cut and higher marketing costs for its networked gaming platforms.

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. says its net income dropped by 65 percent as the NBA lockout affected sales of the company's new "NBA 2K12" game. Take-Two also cut its outlook for the fiscal year because it's delaying the release of its "Max Payne 3" game.

THQ Inc. says "Saints Row: The Third" and "WWE 12" performed at or better than the company expected. But the company saw weakness in its uDraw Game Tablet, related software and other kids, family and casual titles. THQ has said it will stop developing traditional licensed video games for kids and will stop making the uDraw hardware. The stock fell sharply after the results came out.

Feb. 7: The Walt Disney Co. says interactive media revenue declined as the company moved away from expensive console games and focused on cheaper-to-make social games.

Feb. 8: Time Warner Inc. gives partial credit to its video games slate for a strong quarter. "Batman: Arkham City" came out during the quarter.

Feb. 9: Video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. reports a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a loss from a year earlier. Activision beat Wall Street's expectations thanks to blockbuster sales of its latest "Call of Duty" game and strong demand for other titles. Activision says its kids' game "Skylanders Spyro's Adventure" is "on track to become an important and sustainable franchise."

Market researcher NPD Group says U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories fell 34 percent in January from a year earlier to $751 million because of the lack of new game titles. NPD analyst Liam Callahan says the dearth of new games likely resulted in fewer people going to stores and buying other recent releases on impulse.

Coming up:

Unknown: GameStop Corp. (quarterly earnings).

By Salon Staff

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