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

September 12, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Madden effect: Video games show first real gain since 2011

Makers of traditional video games can break out a very small bottle of champagne.

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Sales of physical games and hardware rose in August, posting the first real increase since October 2011, according to the latest NPD report on U.S. game sales.

Overall sales of packaged games, hardware and accessories rose 1 percent, driven by new games such as “Madden NFL” (pictured) and a late surge in sales of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. New versions of the consoles are coming, but current models are seeing price cuts and aggressively priced bundles to keep them moving ahead of the Xbox One and PS4 launches in November.

Still, overall hardware sales were down 40 percent, while game sales grew 23 percent.

Overall physical game sales totaled $521 million, including $90.8 million worth of hardware, $136.7 million worth of accessories and $293.4 million worth of games.

Nintendo’s 3DS was the top-selling hardware platform for the fourth straight month, while the Xbox 360 was the top-selling console for the 36th consecutive month.

Microsoft noted that it sold 96,000 consoles and total spending on the 360 platform last month was $213 million, ahead of other platforms.

NPD estimates about half of game sales are now digital downloads and add-on content. It believes Americans spent just more than  $1.2 billion on both digital and physical game products last month.

NPD’s monthly report also showed a gain of physical game sales in January, but it was an anomaly, because the company counted activity during one more week than it had the previous year.

Here are the top selling titles last month:

Madden NFL 25 (360, PS3)
Saints Row IV (360, PS3, PC)
Disney Infinity (360, WII, PS3, NWU, 3DS)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist (360, PS3, NWU, PC)
Minecraft (360)
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)
NCAA Football 14 (360, PS3)
Payday 2 (360, PS3)
Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn (PS3, PC)
Pikmin 3 (NWU)

Comments | Topics: 360, madden nfl, Microsoft

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