Last year around Christmas, most people thought the recession would be over rather quickly and didn't mind spending that extra $50 on a game and $250 on a console.

http://www.pbs.org/nbr/site/onair/transcripts/081224d/

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SUZANNE PRATT: With shell-shocked consumers holding tight to their cash, many retailers are likely to ring up only bleak holiday sales this year. But as Lucy Craft reports from Tokyo, there's one gift-related industry expecting 20 percent annual sales growth.

LUCY CRAFT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Financial disasters or no, it's still fun and games as usual for the $35 billion video games industry. 2008 is expected to be another banner year for the business, as it rolls out long-awaited sequels to blockbusters like Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter. While other Japanese companies like cars or electronics are sweating over a slowing world economy, here in the video game industry, they're unfazed. In fact they say, the video game business is immune to recession. The industry isn't merely shrugging off the global slowdown. Chris Kramer, spokesman for Japanese software maker Capcom, says a sour economy is actually good for business.

CHRIS KRAMER: What we were finding was that people are being more cautious and more careful with their entertainment dollars. Instead of going out for a single evening of entertainment, what they'll do is they'll, they actually are going out. I'll take my $50 and I'll buy a game, because I know I'm going to get 40 hours, 100 hours of entertainment out of this game. People were actually buying more games, because they were looking at it as a better investment for their entertainment money.....
and today?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10350615-17.html

September 11, 2009 8:19 AM PDT

Video game industry takes another big hit in August
by Don Reisinger

Industrywide revenue in August slipped 16 percent year over year, market researcher NPD Group reported Thursday. And total year-to-date sales were down 14 percent.

Neither software nor hardware could stop the industry's slide. Hardware sales came in at $297.6 million for the month--down 25 percent compared with August 2008. Video game sales brought in $470.32 million--a 15 percent hit, year over year.

[..]

NPD analyst Anita Frazier was quick to point out in her analysis of August's NPD figures that the industry saw "its sixth consecutive month-over-month decline, and while improved over the last several months, it's still a notable decline." Worst of all, the industry is so far behind 2008 figures that September through December sales would need to "be up 14 percent in aggregate for 2009 to come in flat in comparison to 2008 sales," Frazier said.

Frazier did note that Microsoft's and Sony's decisions to cut the prices on their hardware made an "impact on units sales."