The first months of 2005 have continued to be very tough for game sales, after a weak 2004 (see 'Game Market Soft in 04'), according to the just-released ICv2 Retailers Guide to Games #8.  Consumer traffic and spending is off, stores are having trouble paying their bills, there's been distributor consolidation (see 'Blackhawk Takes Over Gameboard Orders'), and lower orders at the manufacturer level for most companies are causing pain for publishers as well.  The reasons are varied, but some retailers are attributing the drop-off to the siren call of some recently launched online MMORPGs, that are sucking gamer time and money away from the paper variety.


There is hope, however, that a number of games released after the issue went to press will revitalize the market, including Zatch Bell, Rocketmen, and the Axis and Allies CMG. 


ICv2 also released its rankings of the top ten games in each category.  Here are the top five in each:


Top Five TCG Properties:

1. Yu-Gi-Oh!

2. Magic:  The Gathering

3. Versus

4. Pokemon



Top Five Miniature Game Properties:

1. Star Wars Miniatures

2. Warhammer 40,000

3. Dungeons and Dragons

4. HeroClix

5. Pirates of the Spanish Main


Top Five Board, Family, and Card Game Properties:

1. Settlers of Catan

2. Carcassonne

3. Avalon Hill

4. Ticket to Ride

5. Anachronism


Top Ten RPG Lines:

1. Dungeons and Dragons

2. World of Darkness

3. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

4. Mongoose

5. Green Ronin


For info on how to get the magazine, with more on the game market, interviews with retailers on how to deal with a down market, and the ICv2 Top Ten Games in each of the four categories above, see 'ICv2 Releases Retailers Guide to Games #8').