As part of its new reporting format, NPD omitted hardware sales figures from its September US game sales report yesterday. Microsoft had no such compunction, however, proclaiming loudly that the Xbox 360 was the top console for the month, selling 484,000 units.
As part of an investors' note today, Wedbush analysts Michael Pachter and Edward Woo revealed monthly sales for the PlayStation 3 and Wii. The former sold 312,000 units during the month, beating expectations, but was still down 37 percent year-over-year because of brisk post-price-drop sales in September 2009. Pachter pegged the better-than-expected sales on the release of the new 160GB model and the launch of PlayStation Move motion-sensing system.
The Wii, however, fared far worse, being beat by both the 360 and the PS3. "The Wii continues to struggle due to gamer fatigue and a lack of high-profile releases," summarized Wedbush's report. "The era of standard definition gaming is rapidly coming to an end, and Nintendo may have missed the opportunity to revitalize its large installed base of consumers by offering them an HD version of the Wii before Sony and Microsoft encroach with motion control schemes of their own."
Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson also believes the Wii's best days are behind it. In his note, he said that, "September's data is another reminder that the Wii is well past its peak in the United States. It is also clear that the peak it set was high enough that it will present a nearly impossible comparison for the gaming industry for the foreseeable future. And, now Nintendo's partners are walking away from it. By our calculation, 26 percent fewer Wii games have been published this year. This does not mean that the Wii is finished selling units, but it does mean that this time, it wasn't different, and we are once again on the tail of a cycle."
The Wedbush report also predicted iPod Touch and iPhone sales will be "cannibalizing" the handheld market until the launch of the Nintendo 3DS next March, when he expects the Mario Factory's fortunes to rebound.
On the software front, Wedbush reported both Wii and DS software sales sank 38 percent in September, the former because of the inclusion of Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports with every new Wii purchase. The report also called out year-to-date declines in Wii software sales (down 24 percent by $385 million-plus) and DS software sales (down 10 percent by $90 million).