Apparently kids bought school supplies instead of video games last month.
Or maybe they were saving money for “Halo: Reach” and other blockbusters coming soon.
The industry saw its worst August since 2006, with sales down 10 percent to $819 million, according to NPD’s monthly report. Hardware sales were down 5 percent and software sales were down 14 percent.
Among the consoles that did sell, Xbox led the pack, with 356,700 units sold in the U.S. last month. Sony’s PlayStation 3 sold 226,000 units and Nintendo sold 244,300 Wiis and 342,700 DS handhelds.
“Madden NFL 11” was the top-selling game, with the Xbox version taking first place and the PS3 version taking second. “Super Mario Galaxy 2” was third, followed by “Mafia II.”
NPD analyst Anita Frazier expects 2010 sales will reach $18.6 billion to $20 billion, with a late boost from “Reach” and the new motion-control systems coming to the Xbox and PS3.
She noted in the release that the Wii had its softest month since its debut, while the Xbox and PS3 posted year-over-year gains. Xbox sales were down from July, though.
“That said, with ‘Halo: Reach’ coming to market next week, if hardware sales react in a similar fashion to what was experienced when ‘Halo 3’ was launched in September 2007, September could be a huge sales month for Xbox 360 hardware,” she said in the release.
Frazier noted that there are about three times as many Xbox 360s compared with the launch of “Halo 3” “so the potential audience for ‘Reach’ is significantly larger.”
“Between the size of the potential audience, the quality of the game previews, and the hefty marketing program behind the game, we can expect big numbers to be reported with September results,” she said.