2012: The Year of Gaming Woes
Special to CNBC.com
Digital distribution is on the rise, but that doesn't soften the blow retailers have had to face this year.
Overall industry sales are down 27 percent compared to this time in 2011. And while May is expected to show some rebound — and there are a couple heavy hitters in the pipeline for this fall — most analysts agree 2012 will once again show negative retail growth, making this the fourth consecutive such year for the industry.
'The Force' is Weak with This one
The Force is Weak with This One:
Electronic Arts bet big on "Star Wars: The Old Republic" — to the tune of up to $200 million in development costs, according to some reports.
The game, which was meant to steal market share from "World of Warcraft," came with good credentials (EA spent time getting the game right and had its top-tier development studio overseeing it), but it launched at a time when player interest in persistent world games (with their $15-per-month charges) was waning.
EA recently revealed subscriber numbers have slipped from 1.7 million paid members in February to 1.3 million in May, citing casual customers who decided not to keep up their subscriptions. The development team behind the game has since laid off a portion of its staff.
-By CNBC's Chris Morris
Follow Chris Morris on Twitter: @MorrisatLarge