Video game sales slump as Xbox 360 sales surge

Retail game sales fell in June 2010 according to NPD data, but console sales were strong

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Retail video game sales fell slightly in June, dragged under by anemic handheld hardware and software sales, but bolstered by strong console unit growth. Helped by new model sales, the Xbox 360 topped the Wii for the first time in months, pulling ahead of Nintendo's console by roughly 30,000 units, and Sony's PS3 by a comfortable 147,000 unit spread.

But industry sales were down overall, dropping from $1.17 billion in June 2009 to $1.10 billion, year-on-year.

"Unfortunately, the industry realized a decline versus the same time period last year, driven by decreases in sales of portable hardware and console and portable software," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier, singling out the console hardware unit sales increase--35 percent overall--as "a bright spot."

Look for total U.S. annual revenue to slide in somewhere between $18 and $21 billion, predicts Frazier, highlighting Microsoft and Sony's motion controllers (Kinect and Move, respectively) and "the strong slate of content still to come," by which she probably means games like Metroid: Other M, Mafia 2, L.A. Noire, Brink, Halo: Reach, Dead Rising 2, EA's football lineup (NCAA, Madden), Sonic 4, Medal of Honor, Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Fable III, Final Fantasy XIV, Gran Turismo 5, and Call of Duty: Black Ops (not to mention PC biggies like StarCraft II, Elemental: War of Magic, DC Universe Online, and Civilization V).

June 2010 video game hardware sales, with growth compared to June 2009:

511k - Nintendo DS (-33%)452k - Xbox 360 (+88%)423k - Wii (+17%)305k - PlayStation 3 (+85%)121k - PSP (-26%)

In addition to across the board year-on-year console growth, Frazier noted hardware sales were up slightly from May 2010 in average sales per week. The Xbox 360 had it second largest non-holiday showing since Halo 3 launched back in September 2007, and the PS3 continued its unbroken upward sales streak--11 months of consecutive year-on-year increases.

June 2010 video game software sales:

583k - Read Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)548k - Super Mario Galazy 2 (Wii)380k - Read Dead Redemption (PS3)201k - New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)175k - Just Dance (Wii)

Wii Fit Plus w/Balance Board, Toy Story 3 (DS), UFC 2010: Undisputed (Xbox 360), LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Wii), and UFC 2010: Undisputed (PS3) slotted 6 through 10, respectively, but NPD didn't offer sales figures at time of publication.

Red Dead Redemption notched its second consecutive month at the top of the software sales chart, and Frazier says it's now the top holder for year-to-date sales.

While software sales slumped were down overall, Frazier said the top 10 titles actually sold comparably to June 2009's top 10 list, noting that "game sales are more concentrated this year" in terms of top-sellers.

But it was bad news for the new Tiger Woods game (guesses why abound), which only sold 32 percent of last year's total. The game didn't even make the top 10.

Time for a new feature golfer, EA?

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Tags MicrosoftplaystationsonygamingNintendogamesconsumer electronicspspwiinintendo dsXboxNPDHandheldsGame platformsHandhelds / PDAsgame consolesMetro

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Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)
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