Each month when the NPD Group releases its latest estimates for U.S. retail video game sales, we pore over the top 20 chart to monitor the latest movements in the software market.
The August 2010 chart predictably includes new releases Madden NFL 11
from Electronic Arts, along with Mafia II
from Take-Two Interactive.
Except for those two titles, however, all other titles in the top 20 games for August were released in earlier months, from Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
in July of this year back to Mario Kart DS
, which debuted in November 2005.
While Nintendo's games sell well month after month – almost every month in 2010 has featured four or more Mario
titles in the top 20 – it isn't the only publisher enjoying perennial successes. Ubisoft's Just Dance
for the Wii has charted several times this year, as has Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
In Gamasutra's conversations with the NPD Group, we've mentioned that these repeat titles obscure the trends going on below the top tier software, where titles may sell tens of thousands of units, but not hundreds.
We recently proposed a new view of the software charts that we thought would provide some illumination into this area, and the Group was kind of enough to provide that data.
The chart below shows the top 10 new releases in August 2010, ranked by unit sales, with versions on different platforms combined. No precise sales figures were made public, but the following data was made available:
Naturally, the two new releases which had entries in the top 20 chart, EA's Madden NFL 11
and 2K Games' Mafia II
, took the top two spots on this chart, the latter with around 225,000 units combined across both Xbox 360 and PS3. The information on the other eight titles, however, is completely new.
The 3rd title on the list is Kane & Lynch: Dog Days
, a high-profile sequel from IO Interactive and Eidos which was notably absent from the top 20 chart. So while it is true that sales were certainly below expectations, we can now at least say where it was relative to other new releases.
Ubisoft's Gold's Gym Dance Workout
, exclusively on the Wii, was the 4th best-selling new title in August, while Disney's Sing It: Family Hits
– available for both the Wii and PlayStation 3 – came in 5th.
The remainder of the top new releases for the month were handheld titles, and for once that doesn't mean just Nintendo DS software. While Natsume's Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar
came in 6th for the month, it was followed by Ys Seven
, an action RPG published by XSEED and available exclusively for Sony's PSP. Of all the games on the chart, Ys Seven
is particularly interesting because it was also released simultaneously on Sony's PlayStation Store as a downloadable game.
That is, the publisher realized these physical sales (here estimated by the NPD Group), but also additional sales downloaded directly by consumers. As of this writing, there are only 167 ratings for the game on the U.S. PlayStation store, all of which had to have been entered by consumers who bought and downloaded the game. (Those 167 consumers, however, have given the game a strong 4.86 out of 5.0 score.)
While Tecmo published Monster Rancher DS
in Japan, that title was published by UFO Interactive in the United States, and it reached the 8th spot on the chart of new releases last month.
Launched simultaneously with a video bearing the same title, Dora's Big Birthday Adventure
for the Nintendo DS was the 9th best-selling new game. This title is also slated to be released on the PlayStation 2 and Wii in October 2010.
Rounding out the top 10 new releases is a puzzle game from Mumbo Jumbo, Mahjong: Journey Quest for Tikal