NPD’s monthly report on U.S. video game sales is darker than a zombie shooter on a failing TV, but there’s a flickering light over the pathway ahead.
Sales of games, hardware and accessories fell 23 percent in August – after a 26 percent drop in July. Sales were $670 million, down from $874 million during the same period last year.
A bright spot was sales of hardware, which increased by unit volume after price cuts for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s 3DS. But dollar-wise, hardware sales were down 12 percent, to $283 million.
Game software sales were down 37 percent, hurt in part by the late relase of “Madden” – which came out at the end of August rather than the beginning.
I’ll bet gamers are also saving up for the raft of blockbusters coming out this fall, including “Battlefield 3, “Modern Warfare 3,” “Gears of War 3” and of course, “Kinectimals Now With Bears!”
NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in the release that sales of physical games are down 5 percent year-to-date, but more than half of the industry’s sales come during the last quarter around the holidays.
“Given the strong release schedule in the coming months, new physical retail sales could still be flat to slightly up once full year sales are tallied,” she said.
Additionally, there were several notable digital game releases that lured gamer dollars during the month, including “Fruit Ninja” on Xbox Live and a new “Call of Duty” map pack, Frazier said.
Microsoft touted Xbox sales during the month, noting that it sold 308,000 Xbox 360 consoles and the platform generated $232 million in retail sales during the month. It also held its 43 percent share of the current-generation console market and outsold the othre consoles for 14 of the past 15 months in the U.S., Microsoft said in a release.
Sony called PS3 sales “very strong the last two weeks of the month,” boosted by a $50 price cut and “inFamous 2” bundle.
The top 10 games for the month:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360, PS3, PC)
NCAA Football 12 (360, PS3)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)
Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd (NDS, Wii, PS3)
Cars 2 (NDS, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)
Just Dance Summer Party (Wii)
Just Dance 2 (Wii)
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Wii, 360, PS3)