1,936,636 games were sold for the week ending November 26th according to figures from UK statistics group GfK Chart-Track, a 9% increase on last year. Yet this bumper week doesn't compensate for what's been a difficult time in triple-A, and indeed some retailers suggest Black Friday is a factor in the downturn.
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Software sales during Black Friday week were up 181% - far more than last year's 60%. This has given triple-A a bit of a shot in the arm after a difficult quarter so far, with sales of many major games picking up. FIFA 17 returns to the number one spot, while sales of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare have now overtaken those of Battlefield 1. Console sales of Watch Dogs 2 - which unlocks on PC tonight - have also picked up, and are now comparable with the performance of recent Assassin's Creed titles.
GfK Chart-Track say “the Black Friday promotions have a huge effect on nearly every Top 40 title”.
More sales are always welcome news, but the overall impact of Black Friday on software sales may be a negative one. On Thursday last week, MCV put out a story in which retail sources blamed the sales event for the recent downturn in triple-A sales.
“The market cannot turn around now. Pre-orders and the first couple of weeks’ sales are enormously important to both publishers and retailers, but there have been some appalling results this year due to Black Friday, and customers waiting to see if the games are broken or if the stories are decent,” says one of MCV’s sources. This explains the three-fold difference in sales increase between the 2015 and 2016 Black Fridays - consumers are anticipating the event now, depressing sales for weeks in advance.
“It’s hard to see why publishers would release games in November going forward. Black Friday is the worst thing to happen to UK retail,” says the retailer.