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Brier Dudley's blog

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

July 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Video game sales fall 29 percent, again

NPD’s monthly report on the decline of physical video game sales is out and it’s just as gloomy as last month’s.

Sales of game discs, hardware and accessories fell 29 percent in June, including a 45 percent plunge in sales of game hardware. Total sales of physical games were $699.8 million, down from $989.5 million the year before.

Still, sales of current-generation hardware systems were up from May, helped by the usual “dads and grads” seasonal bump, NPD analyst Anita Baker said in the release.

largescreenshot.jpgNintendo announced that sales of its 3DS handheld crossed 5 million in the U.S. It’s expecting another gain after the larger 3DS XL launches with “New Super Mario Bros 2” on Aug. 19.

Microsoft issued a release noting that the Xbox 360 remains, for the 18th month, the top-selling console in the U.S. It sold 257,000 consoles for a 47 percent market share last month, when total sales on the platform were $272 million in the U.S.

About 40 to 50 percent of game sales are now digital — downloads, microtransactions and the like. When those sales are added in, U.S. consumer spending on video games last month was around $1.36 billion, Baker said.

Physical game sales are down in part because there were 34 percent fewer new releases this year. The average item generated 4 percent less in unit sales, but 2 percent more dollars.

“This shows that while new launch performance is relatively stable, it is the sheer reduction in the number of launches that is contributing to the overall softness we are seeing in software so far in 2012,” Baker said. “The decrease in new launch volume accounts for 41 percent of the net unit decline and 47 percent of the net dollar decline from the first half of 2012.”

Here are the top 10 games sold in physical formats at retail last month:

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (shown above) (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, 3DS, PSV, PC)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3, PC)

Diablo III (PC)

Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC)

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

Batman Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)

Pokemon Conquest (NDS)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)

Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)

The Amazing Spider-Man (360, PS3, 3DS, NDS, Wii)

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