According to an analyst report by Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter, the NPD has officially released its North American game sales figures for July 2006, showing the market up 22% to $386 million.
The analyst had originally predicted
a market of $365 million, up 15% compared to last year, but North American sales outstripped even his positive outlook, as handheld and particularly Nintendo DS titles took off, following the launch of the DS Lite.
However, the chart itself was led by Electronic Arts' NCAA Football
, which gained three of the four top spots if separating out by SKU, with Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros
for DS also a major seller for the month, and some surprisingly high entries for Xbox 360 title including Chromehounds
, and Battle For Middle-Earth II
This characteristic of the chart particularly shone out, with the installed base of Microsoft's next-gen console starting to allow more significant sales of games. Pachter originally predicted: "Though the Xbox 360 is now readily available, we expect Microsoft to sell approximately 200,000 – 300,000 hardware units monthly until the holidays when a strong lineup of Xbox 360 games is anticipated", and, true to his word, just over 200,000 units of the console were sold in the U.S. in July.
The biggest hardware success story was the DS, however, which outsold Sony's PSP more than two-fold following the DS Lite launch, with combined DS sales topping 375,000 over the entire country, but PSP sales only just over 150,000 for the month.