International game sales down 6% over Q3

Aggregated chart data shows US, UK, and Japanese markets all shrinking; Dragon Quest IX, Wii Sports Resort, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver, Madden NFL, and Halo 3: ODST top sellers.

September's underwhelming 1 percent growth aside, the NPD Group's monthly sales reports have portrayed a slumping US retail gaming industry for most of 2009. While that malaise wasn't limited to America, it wasn't quite universal, either.

Dragon Quest IX helped push Japanese game sales up for the quarter.

According to data compiled by the NPD Group (US), GfK Chart-Track Limited (UK), and Enterbrain (Japan), the three largest game markets for the July-September quarter had dipped 6 percent year-over-year. The UK suffered the steepest decline with a 19 percent year-over-year drop in the number of games sold. The US was also down for the quarter, with retailers selling 9 percent fewer games, while Japan actually saw its software sales surge 15 percent over the same period in 2008.

The bigger picture in Japan is a little less positive, as the report noted that year-to-date sales in the country are still down 9 percent despite the booming quarter. Much of the Japanese growth can be attributed to the massive success of Square Enix's Dragon Quest IX in the country. Despite being available only in Japan at the moment, the DS title was far and away the best-selling game across all three countries for the quarter, selling nearly 3.93 million copies.

Interestingly, three of the top five best-selling games received all or the vast majority of their sales from a single country. Like Dragon Quest IX, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver was available only in Japan, and the 2.07 million sold in the island country was enough to land the game in fourth place on the charts. Finally, Madden NFL 10 made it to third place on the strength of 2.58 million copies sold in the US. The American football game was also available in the UK, where consumers added a scant 30,000 copies to its tally.

There were a pair of legitimately international hits on the combined chart, with Wii Sports Resort and its 3.01 million sold between the US, UK, and Japan good enough to play runner-up to Dragon Quest IX. The Xbox 360-exclusive Halo 3: ODST rounded out the top five with 1.85 million sold. While it received contributions from each country, ODST sold a whopping 1.52 million in the American market, with Japanese gamers snatching up only 33,000 copies, and UK consumers contributing an extra 294,000 to the shooter's sales. In October, Microsoft declared the game had sold 2.5 million units worldwide.

The combined quarterly numbers were released to promote Top Global Markets, a monthly international reporting service offered by NPD, GfK, and Enterbrain.

Best-selling games for July-September 2009
Title--Total sold--US sales--Japan sales--UK sales
1. Dragon Quest IX--3,925,000--N/A--3,925,000--N/A
2. Wii Sports Resort--3,014,000--1,708,000--841,000--465,000
3. Madden NFL 10--2,612,000--2,583,000--N/A--30,000
4. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver--2,068,000--N/A--2,068,000--N/A
5. Halo 3: ODST--1,847,000--1,521,000--33,000--294,000

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Discussion

38 comments
Lupivdaman
Lupivdaman

Thanks to Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Assassin's Creed 2, Q4 sales will be saved !! I think it has something to do with the 2s. Madden NFL sells 2,583,000 in US and 30,000 in UK (WOW you Americans do LOVE your football) (These sales must be the opposite for Fifa 10)

grognard
grognard

@germanqr - yep, very true. Based on the numbers EA belatedly release on FIFA sales each year you're absolutely correct. Great series well deserving of its success.

TheSnakeBelmont
TheSnakeBelmont

high prices and lil muney, wot were they expectin? im from Mexico and the recession hit us good...as always :P

kickblocker
kickblocker

Ace237 is right, i also think most of the decline is due to game prices

Taylor9124
Taylor9124

Im guessing in about 4 days, the industry will have a good amount of Q4 sales made.

brian_13un
brian_13un

Hope it increase..... Again and surely it will for upcoming titles ^_^

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

There couldn't be a better time to invest. Almost all companies are down rigt now. With Christmas/Hannuka around the corner, let the good times roll.

Inconnux
Inconnux

With PC and console sales going towards digital downloads it is no surprise that RETAIL sales are slipping. This doesn't mean that global sales are down. NPD numbers are a joke.

Triton
Triton

Good news everyone...I heard the other day the Recession / Depression is over.... ps, I am still waiting for GT5 too...

mikal91
mikal91

wud have thought europe would be 1 of the 3 rather than UK on its tod. fifa would be there certainly if it was

germanqr
germanqr

@grognard I know, well not exactly, it's just that results are published by European videogame publishers/distributors seldom and late, so news sites can't use these results as, well, news. Anyway, drawing conclusions from charts that leave out probably 25% of videogame sales is probably pointless. I'm sure that FIFA 10 would appear very high up that chart if European sales were included, for example (although not in the top 5). And anyway, as a European gamer myself, I just don't like we're not mentioned in the news. Bad old eurocentrism, I guess, but still... :-)

ColonelX24
ColonelX24

We are in completely different cultures, so it's not surprising we have different tastes. That's the pacifist speaking, the rest just says go buy ODST.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Japanease.....just Japanease man....

Pokedude1013
Pokedude1013

@ zaqcdebgt9513 yep, those damn japanese people, by playing RPGs that they enjoy, hurts us somehow... also your gaming tastes are infalliable. And you're going to respond to me probably with a lot of curse words. SO I'm just going to say. You smell. Go brush your teeth

NuKkU
NuKkU

no suprise there its not like its suprising so people chill

masterlu
masterlu

I wouldn't worry too much... this is still an industry obsessed with one-hit wonders and few but shining stars... and as we can see from the list so kindly provided above, this quarter shows a distinct lack of anything even mildly rousing.

grognard
grognard

@germanqr - NPD, Enterbrain and Gfk are the only reputable sources for game sales, which is why you don't see numbers for other regions. It would be interesting to see sales from additional territories, but reliable data is just not available.

zaqcdebgt9513
zaqcdebgt9513

Jeez, are Japanese gamers ever going to tire of playing the same types of RPGs over and over again?

scarface_dm
scarface_dm

o- and metalkid@ just look at the japanese sales they fail to give western made games a chance which one you think is more ignorant?

KC_Hokie
KC_Hokie

@ metalkid9 - With games like Killzone 2 and Infamous (exclusives to PS3) they choose Pokemon and a game were the lead character look to be about 7-8 years old. Both of which are DS games.....extremely strange picks when there is so much out there on Japanese consoles alone.

scarface_dm
scarface_dm

Atleast football is more interesting than Pokemon :| Anyways sweet for Halo:ODST, good to see the game sell like hotcakes

Jag-T1000
Jag-T1000

Dragon Quest sold 4 million? They're nuts in Japan! When this game is released in the U.S , it's not even going to sell 100,000.

metalkid9
metalkid9

@KC_Hokie, ya but not just japanese gamer but the whole world sees it bizzare how Americans like Football so much (yes it's a boring sport to the rest of the people in the world) which in fact the name doesn't even make sense. Maybe a more reasonable name like handegg would be more appropriate for that sport and leave the name football to the sport that deserves it. What I'm getting at is that just cuz you find it odd that Japanese gamers like these kinda games doesn't mean that you're right, and that's unfortunately the type of mentality that most Amercians have. they always think theyre the best and the they do everything right. They can also think that something else is odd with you guys.You should be more open-minded as to what others like. Just like you don't like something doesn't mean everyone else should not also. It's simply their culture.

germanqr
germanqr

@CoolkidX: They are, if you exclude hand-helds, not as popular around here as in Japan, clearly. On the home console front, the Eurozone is much larger than Japan as a videogame market (1.5x as big) But of course, you're right, since handheld games are indeed included in the figures above. In any case, it's a very large market.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

well the economy stinks, the world is in a downfall, people spend less, and games are very very expensive. i say play more of what you have already. maybe then we'd get better software not hastily shipped.

Paul_GameFury
Paul_GameFury

Does every other story have to be 'game sales down'? The economy is bad. We get it. Maybe the economy would start to recover if the media wasn't constantly drilling how bad things are into peoples heads.

KC_Hokie
KC_Hokie

@metalkid9 - I don't see millions of American gamers playing Pokemon and another DS game where the main characters look to be about 7-8 years old. With all the fantastic games out there the Japanese pick these two.....simply bizarre.

metalkid9
metalkid9

The oddness of American gamers never ceases to amaze.

KC_Hokie
KC_Hokie

The oddness of Japanese gamers never ceases to amaze.

Cooper25
Cooper25

Yeah...you numb nuts(gm dvlprs) keep on create games only fr consoles...this what you get..mudaks

CoolKidX
CoolKidX

@germanqr There larger then UK, but not larger then Japan.

germanqr
germanqr

Where's Euroland in the charts? GER+FRA+ITA+ESP combined are a much larger market than Japan or the UK...

UnknownForm
UnknownForm

Well I know who's happy...for now...Nintendo! Yes due to the fact that 3/5 of the games on the Top 5 list for July to September are Nintendo exclusives, Nintendo is making loads of money(being sarcastic)!

VectrexFanBoy
VectrexFanBoy

@swamptick so with that form of thinking, isn't wii sports resort better then halo odst? XP

CyleM
CyleM

America!!! **** Yeah! I wish they would make a NEW pokemon game instead of DS-making the old ones...

Ace237
Ace237

@swamptick Why in the name of God would you say that? I'm a shameless, hardcore Halo fanboy, but still. Your douchebaggery is probably going to start another flame war and ruin any discussion that could come from this. Good one. As for the actual topic, I think that part of this, nay, most of this decline is due to game prices. Even though they are typically (not always) not as good as their PC/360/PS3 brethren, Wii games continue to sell well. If Microsoft and Sony would lower their prices, the increase in sales would probably make up for the per unit value loss. On the other hand, if the above statement does not hold true, then the massive dev costs would never get payed. Ugh, how tiresome.

swamptick
swamptick

Halo 3: ODST for the win. Now....where was the PS3 exclusive on that list? Exactly.

hashabnelah
hashabnelah

What is remarkable about Dragon Quest IX is that it is the first non-Nintendo title to break four million sold in Japan. This has not happened before, but the game is still selling even though it has fallen off the Top 10 software chart. With sales and profits down from the major publishers from last year, shows that 2008 was a good year for gaming due to the number of high-profile "must buy" games available like Mario Kart Wii, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Metal Gear Solid 4.