July game sales lowest since October 2006, says NPD


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Video game sales continued to suffer in July, posting its lowest monthly sales in nearly five years, as consumers pulled back on buying game consoles and shifted their spending to lower-priced games for their mobile devices.

Sales of consoles and games plunged 26% last month to $707.7 million, down from $961.3 million a year earlier, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.


‘The category with the greatest dollar decline versus last year was console hardware’ as stores sold fewer consoles, said NPD Analyst Anita Frazier.

The report does not include sales of games sold as digital downloads, including games distributed through online platforms such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes App Store, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Live or Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Network. It also does not factor in sales of virtual goods or subscription fees for online games.

Such sources of revenue have become an increasingly vital portion of the industry’s income. Electronic Arts Inc., in its first quarter financial report, said sales from digital channels accounted for more than 23% of the publisher’s revenue. EA’s chief executive, John Riccitiello, has predicted that digital sales will account for more than half of the industry’s revenue within five years.

Meanwhile, the picture for games sold in shrink-wrapped boxes looks grim. Sales of game consoles such as the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo 3DS fell 29% in July to $223 million, NPD reported. Revenue from games played on those and other consoles dropped 17% to $336.2 million.

For a list of the top 10 titles, click on the continue reading button below.

Top 10 Games in July 2011 (publisher)

  1. NCAA Football 12 (Electronic Arts)
  2. Cars 2 (Disney Interactive Studios)
  3. Call of Duty Black Ops (Activision Blizzard)
  4. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Disney)
  5. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
  6. Major League Baseball 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive)
  7. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco)
  8. Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda Softworks)
  9. Super Mario Bros DS (Nintendo)
  10. Mortal Kombat 2011 (Warner Bros. Interactive)

Source: The NPD Group.



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— Alex Pham

Twitter/ @AlexPham

Screen shot of Fallout: New Vegas courtesy of Bethesda Softworks.