In a presentation at the Game Trade Show on Monday, ICv2 CEO, Milton Griepp said the US and Canadian hobby game market declined last year for the first time since the media company has been tracking the numbers.
Griepp attributed the 2018 decline to the collectible game category, which he said accounts for 40% of the hobby game market. ICv2 defines this category as anything with ‘blind packaging’ where the consumer is unaware of what the contents are.
According to Griepp, a weak start for Magic: The Gathering in 2018 coupled with declining Pokemon numbers after a strong 20th anniversary in 2017 were to blame for the decline, but he was optimistic the category would recover.
“I don’t think this is a longterm secular trend. I think it’s more cyclical.,” he said to the audience of mostly game store owners.
The non-collectable miniatures market continued to grow in 2018 buoyed by strong sales of Games Workshop brands, Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar, Griepp said. The category was also helped by growing sales in role-playing game related miniatures. Griepp said there was a slow down in Star Wars related products like X-Wing.
Board Games continued grow, but that growth was slower than the previous six years of tracking by the company. Griepp said the massive proliferation of titles have caused issues for retailers, especially during the key holiday months. Griepp said this caused a “flight to evergreen games.”
“We saw very strong growth of the core brands in the hobby board game space last Christmas. Some of those may have been overshadowed by new stuff coming out, but evergreens came back with a vengeance,” he said.
Griepp said role-playing games sales are strong, but he thinks that might be slowing. Dungeons & Dragons lead the category by multitude over the competition. Griepp also said the category is benefiting by a growth in new titles.