Video game industry won’t set high score in 2011
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This is not a high scoring year for video games.
With total revenue for physical game sales up only 1% at just over $1 billion in October, the business will likely end the year flat to down 2% compared with 2010, according to researchers at the NPD Group.
The once fast-growing industry’s flatline is due to consumers not only spending less money in the tough economy but also investing more time in fewer games that they play repeatedly online instead of buying new ones.
However, NPD’s figures do not include the fast-growing category of online game sales and subscriptions.
Electronic Arts Inc.’s new military shooter, Battlefield 3, was the top-selling game in the U.S. last month, NPD said, coming in at just under 2 million units.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, debuted Tuesday, becoming its biggest competitor; publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. has already said the game sold 6.5 million copies in the U.S., Canada and Britain on its first day, setting a new industry record.
The No. 2 game in October came from a Hollywood studio, Warner Bros. Its well-reviewed Batman: Arkham City sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S.
The highest-profile new game to not break into NPD’s top 10 was Activision’s new children’s title, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, which landed at No. 11.
Dancing games continue to be one of the industry’s fastest-growing genres. Sales grew 135% in October from a year ago, led by Ubisoft’s Just Dance 3.
Among the consoles that gamers play on, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 led the pack, with sales up 20% over last October to 393,000 units.
November will probably be the biggest month of the year for the video game industry, with a number of highly anticipated sequels hitting store shelves just ahead of the holiday shopping season. They include Modern Warfare 3, Uncharted 3, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Below the jump are the top 10 video games sold in the U.S. in October.
1. Battlefield 3 (Electronic Arts) 2. Batman: Arkham City (Warner Bros.)
3. NBA 2K12 (Take 2)
4. Rage (Bethesda Softworks)
5. Just Dance 3 (Ubisoft)
6. Dark Souls (Namco Bandai)
7. Madden NFL 12 (Electronic Arts)
8. Forza Motorsport 4 (Microsoft)
9. Gears of War 3 (Microsoft)
10. FIFA Soccer 3 (Electronic Arts)
Source: NPD Group.
-- Ben Fritz
Top photo: A scene from Battlefield 3. Credit: Electronic Arts. Bottom photo: A scene from Batman: Arkham City. Credit: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.