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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

November 11, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Video game sales rebound, big gains for Xbox, 3DS

After a bleak summer the video game industry saw sales climb 3 percent last month, with big sales of Xbox 360 consoles, Nintendo 3DS handhelds and blockbusters such as “Battlefield 3.”

U.S. sales of game hardware, accessories and game discs were $1.05 billion in October, up 3 percent from October 2010. Hardware sales grew 6 percent and game software sales were up 1 percent. Accessory sales fell 5 percent.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a release that November should be another big month, with the release of games such as “Uncharted 3,” “Call of Duty: Modern Wafare 3,” “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” and “Zelda: Skyward Sword.”

It may not be enough to turn the year into positive territory, though. Frazier expects the industry to see the full year’s sales of physical games and hardware “come in flat to down by as much as 2 percent once full year sales are in,” she said.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was once again the best-selling console, with a 20 percent sales gain over October 2010, and sales of Nintendo’s 3DS and DS handhelds were up 25 percent.

Microsoft said it sold 393,000 consoles in October, holding its 44 percent share of the current generation console market. Total spending on the platform last month was $490 million in the U.S.

To continue the momentum – and highlight new entertainment services coming to the Xbox – Microsoft’s going to be spending more on Xbox advertising this holiday season than it did in 2010, spokesman David Dennis said.

“We are not just advertising games anymore – we are talking very aggressively about Kinect and how Kinect can interact with all your entertainment,” he said.

Nintendo said it sold more than 1.65 million 3DS handhelds, putting it on track to exceed first-year sales of its best-selling DS, which sold 2.37 million units in the first year after its November 2004 launch.

Nintendo also sold “nearly 250,000” Wii consoles last month. Through the year so far, it has sold a total of 7 million hardware systems and more than 55 million games. It noted that the totals should jump after the new “Zelda” launches Nov. 20.

Here are the top 10 games from the month:

Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)

Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3)

NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC)

Rage (360, PS3, PC)

Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360)

Dark Souls (PS3, 360)**

Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP)

Forza Motorsport 4 (360)

Gears of War 3 (360)

FIFA Soccer 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, 3DS)

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