NPD: July U.S. Retail Game Industry Sales Lowest Since Oct. 2006

The latest report from tracking firm NPD shows that total U.S. sales for July were down 26 percent to $707.7 million -- the lowest recorded monthly retail performance since October 2006, the firm said.
The latest report from tracking firm NPD shows that total U.S. sales for July were down 26 percent to $707.7 million -- the lowest recorded monthly retail performance since October 2006, the firm said. "Despite the very rough month, new physical retail sales are down just 4 percent year-to-date and based on seasonality trends observed over the last 10 years, which have been remarkably stable year-in, year-out, industry sales in this particular channel are poised to land in the flat to -2 percent range once the total year is completed," noted NPD analyst Anita Frazier. Frazier pointed that out that while U.S. retail sales were down year over year, digital sales could help make up for the decline. "New physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories accounted for 69 percent of the total consumer spend on the industry in Q1. We have measured some remarkable growth in other ways that consumers are acquiring content, including digital sales of full games and add-on content, mobile games, and social network gaming. Growth in these areas, combined with a flat to modest decline in new physical sales should result in 2011 showing growth over 2010," she said. Hardware Microsoft said that it had the best-selling home console for yet another month, with 277,000 units sold in the U.S. during July. Frazier pointed out, however, "This was the first month that the Xbox 360 saw a year over year decline since December 2009. This is more of a reflection of robust sales last July, which was the biggest month for unit sales of the 360 in 2010 outside the holiday months (November and December). Last year’s sales of the 360 hardware platform were driven by the introduction of the Kinect-ready slim form factor SKU." While NPD no longer releases hardware sales unit figures every month, the firm said video game hardware generated $223 million at U.S. retail during July, down 29 percent compared to last year. "Unit sales of all hardware platforms declined versus last July, and also declined on an average sales per week basis from June 2011. Combined unit sales of the 3DS and the DS were about flat to last year," said Frazier. Accessories in July were down 8 percent to $127.8 million for the month. Sony noted in an official statement that PlayStation peripheral sales were up 18 percent year over year, pointing specifically to the PlayStation Move and Sharp Shooter. Software Software during July generated $336.2 million, down 17 percent year over year. Electronic Arts' Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title NCAA Football 12 led sales for the month on the all-platforms list, followed by Disney Interactive's multiplatform Cars 2. "New physical retail sales of software saw a 10 percent decline in unit sales versus last July. There were substantially fewer new releases this year, and the top selling games, with the exception of NCAA 12, didn’t perform as well as last year’s top sellers did. Looking across PC, console and portable game sales, 19 titles sold over 100K units last July, while this year, only eight titles peaked 100K units," noted Frazier. She continued, "Within new physical retail sales of console and portable games, July 2011 saw just 17 new releases (at the title level) compared to 29 last July. Setting NCAA aside, the average sales per new release this July were up 42 percent in units versus the average sales per new release in July 2010." She also noted that NCAA Football 12 saw a 15 percent increase in unit sales compared to NCAA Football 11 in July 2010. She said, "The increase in sales could have been fueled by ardent football fans who have to wait a little longer to get their hands on Madden this year." She noted that EA's Madden 2012 won't release until August 30, which falls within NPD's September reporting period, meaning the title won't factor in to August's sales report. Last year, Madden 2011 comprised 28 percent of new physical retail U.S. software sales in August. The top ten best-selling retail games in the United States for the period beginning July 3, 2011 and ending July 30, 2011 are as follows:
Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only; across all platforms incl. PC)RankPublisher
NCAA Football 12 (360, PS3)1Electronic Arts
Cars 2 (DS, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)2Disney Interactive Studios
Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, DS, Wii, PC)3Activision Blizzard
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video game (Wii, DS, 360, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)4Disney Interactive Studios
Just Dance 2 (Wii)5Ubisoft
Major League Baseball 2K11 (360, Wii, DS, PS3, PS2, SP, PC)6Take 2 Interactive
Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Wii, 360, PS3)7Majesco
Fallout: New Vegas (360, PS3, PC)8Bethesda Softworks
New Super Mario Bros. (DS)9Nintendo
Mortal Kombat 2011 (360, PS3)10Warner Bros. Interactive

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