Game sales drop 31% in June as recession takes a swipe


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EA’s Fight Night Round 4 took the No. 6 and 7 spots in top games sold in June. Credit: Electronic Arts.

Kerpow! Sales of video games, consoles and hardware peripherals in the U.S. took a 31% sucker punch in June to $1.2 billion, down from $1.7 billion in June 2008, according to market research firm NPD Group. It was the industry’s fourth consecutive monthly sales decline.


The recession, combined with a lackluster release schedule, led to last month’s 38% drop in sales of consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii and DS. Hardware sales fell to $383.6 million, from $617.3 million in the year-ago month.

Games took a slightly smaller, but still painful tumble, falling 29% to $625.8 million last month, down from $875.8 million in June 2008, NPD said.

For the first half of the year, the industry’s overall sales in the U.S. were down 12% to $7.3 billion.

Industry analysts had entered 2009 confident that the recession would leave games unscathed because of its perceived value in offering dozens of hours of entertainment per title and because of people’s tendency to stay home during hard times instead of spending money on big vacations. Now, those who have projected growth for the industry may be revising their forecasts.

Some industry watchers still have hope that the industry could pull out of its current tailspin.

‘You have weak hardware sales and you have weak software, so it’s prudent to be concerned about the rest of the year,’ said Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets. ‘But there’s still a chance for the industry to show growth for the entire year.’


Click ‘read more’ to get the list of top 10 titles in June, along with a tally of the number of consoles sold.

Top 10 Titles in June 2009

  1. Prototype (Activision)
  2. UFC 2009 Undisputed (THQ)
  3. EA Sports Active (EA)
  4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (EA)
  5. Wii Fit (Nintendo)
  6. Fight Night Round 4 for Xbox 360 (EA)
  7. Fight Night Round 4 for PS3 (EA)
  8. Mario Kart (Nintendo)
  9. Red Faction: Guerrilla (THQ)
  10. Infamous (Sony)

Console sales June 2009

  • Nintendo DS: 766,500
  • Wii: 361,7000
  • Xbox 360: 240,600
  • PS3: 164,700
  • PlayStation Portable: 163,500
  • PS2: 152,700

Source: NPD Group

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.