July US retail sales lowest since Oct. 2006 - NPD

Stat-tracking firm reports dour results as total revenues slip 26 percent to $707.7 million last month; NCAA Football leads software, Xbox 360 tops consoles.

Global financial markets may be fluctuating wildly of late, and if one thing can be said for US game industry retail sales, it's that they've at least been consistent. That is to say, they've been consistently down. Today, the NPD Group issued its monthly US retail sales report, revealing total revenue that fell a precipitous 26 percent year-over-year to $707.7 million.

It may not be a bull market, but NCAA Football 12 is still doing well.

Total US retail sales of new games, accessories, and hardware was a particularly sore spot for the industry, as sales fell 20 percent to $687 million. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, those results signify the lowest revenue for sales in the new physical retail channel since October 2006.

"Despite the very rough month, new physical retail sales are down just 4 percent year-to-date and based on seasonality trends observed over the last 10 years, which have been remarkably stable year-in, year-out, industry sales in this particular channel are poised to land in the flat to -2 percent range once the total year is completed," Frazier said.

Further parsing the numbers, new hardware sales fell 29 percent to $223 million. Though NPD did not officially announce unit sales figures, Microsoft claimed victory for the month with its own announcement.

The Xbox 360 sold 277,000 units in July, according to Microsoft, with the company going on to note that its hardware has been the best-selling hardware in the US for 13 of the past 14 months. However, even that victory lap was somewhat doleful, in that Xbox 360 sales were down year-over-year.

"This was the first month that the Xbox 360 saw a year-over-year decline since December 2009," said Frazier. "This is more of a reflection of robust sales last July, which was the biggest month for unit sales of the 360 in 2010 outside the holiday months (November and December). Last year's sales of the 360 hardware platform were driven by the introduction of the Kinect-ready slim form factor SKU."

In its own statement following NPD's report, Sony touted only that PlayStation peripheral sales rose 18 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, Nintendo also omitted mention of its platforms in response to NPD's figures, though it did call out the performance of Ubisoft's Wii-exclusive Just Dance 2. The game sold 122,000 units during the month, according to Nintendo, making it the eighth title to sell more than 5 million units on the Wii in the US.

New US retail software sales for consoles, handhelds, and PCs slipped 30 percent during July to $356.9 million. Leading the month was EA Sports' NCAA Football 2012. Cars 2, which debuted on NPD's chart in June in the ninth position, shot up to second in July, and it was followed by Activision Blizzard's stalwart shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops.

JULY 2011 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail sales: $707.7 million (-26%)
Total non-PC retail sales: $687 million (-20%)
Non-PC hardware: $223 million (-29%)
Non-PC software: $336.2 million (-17%)
Accessories: $127.8 million (-8%)
Total software: $356.9 million (-30%)

TOP 10 GAMES FOR JULY 2011
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. NCAA Football 2012 (360, PS3) - Electronic Arts
2. Cars 2 (DS, Wii, 360, PS3, PC) - Disney Interactive Studios
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC) - Activision Blizzard
4. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii, NDS, 360, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC) - Disney Interactive Studios
5. Just Dance 2 (Wii) - Ubisoft
6. Major League Baseball 2K11 (360, Wii, NDS, PS3, PS2, PSP, PC) - Take-Two Interactive
7. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Wii, 360, PS3) - Majesco
8. Fallout: New Vegas (360, PS3, PC) - Bethesda Softworks
9. New Super Mario Bros. DS (DS) - Nintendo
10. Mortal Kombat 2011 (360, PS3) - Warner Bros. Interactive

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Discussion

130 comments
beuneus12
beuneus12

just look at that game list. No wonder sales are down lol

P90E21
P90E21

Oh but wait till the fall season and I bet the charts will be back. Did they look at the games comp to what the coming storm has.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Maybe because people were saving their money because Deus Ex, Gears 3, Dead Island and more come all together in August and September?? My guess...

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

most game releases for 2011 were all hype and not substance thats the reason for the downturn.

GarGx1
GarGx1

The market's been so dead, I've been playing old titles and even a crappy game on Facebook.

ForsakenWicked
ForsakenWicked

I think the industry needs to refresh itself. We get a lot of similar products and almost none of them differentiates from the competition. If you add to that the fact that several companies are abusing DLC, then you've got another reason for sales decreasing.

stziggy
stziggy

This had to be one of the driest months for games in ages. Where was this year's Red Dead Redemption?

coop36
coop36

I think people still buy plenty games. Most are just smart enough to be selective now. Or buy older games that came down in price.

stailcookie
stailcookie

I have bought one physical copy of a game in the past year. I have pretty much switched to rentals for my ps3 (few) and unreported digital purchases for my pc (MANY, eff u steam) entirely. These statistics most likely reflect me and my kind as much as any slump.

romedawg
romedawg

P.S. to add to my comment up top for anyone that missed the game Darksider's is dope!

romedawg
romedawg

I 117th every comment in here, on my gamefly I rented darksiders because of the lack of any good game that comes out at this time, its so stupid for all companies to load up for retail season of christmas for release, if one smart company released a game that was triple A it would corner the market instead of competing this holiday season with rage,cod mw3,battlefield,elder scrolls,gears of war, and uncharted just to name oh about 7 and I could go on....yikes! I just realized that there are no nintendo games on that list, this is a sad sad statement

LoserMike
LoserMike

@dmdavenport @TimboII The sales figures are compared to last July's sales figures. That means comparing July 2010 to July 2011, sales of vidoegames dropped 26%. So it doesn't matter that no AAA titles are never released in July.

TimboII
TimboII

Well...there's the fact nothing worthwhile comes out in July...and also the fact the price of gas and groceries seems to contantly be increasing...thus leaving no extra money for games.

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Because no AAA titles are released in July, nobody buys any games. Because nobody buys any games in July, no AAA titles are released. And the spiral continues....

gfantini
gfantini

Well, actually there's something else: the dream is over, boys. The American economy is going through a decade long period of self adjustment. I'm sorry, bu the pre-2008 feast was simply not sustainable...

wiiplay1
wiiplay1

Maybe if somebody released a decent game that looked interesting to me, I would actually buy it.

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I have not been buying nearly as many games as I once did. I went from a life-long rabid gamer who pumped quite a bit of cash into the system and devoted a huge chunk of my time to it, to a dissatisfied consumer who is quickly losing interest. I've gotten so sick of the milking, nickel-and-diming, and customer abuse the gaming industry has embraced lately that it's sucked nearly all the fun out of it for me. If other gamers are like me, then this downward trend may continue (as it should) until the companes take notice.

destroyeur
destroyeur

It's amazing no publisher takes advantage of months like those to release their titles, there is absolutely no competition.

Gear64x
Gear64x

Summer is the slowest time for games, but it always bounces back as soon as September hits.

mikeyMKII
mikeyMKII

Judging from that Top 10 list, no wonder sales are low.

Goriza
Goriza

when i see this top 10 list i can easily understand these NPC low numbers

Willdabeast49
Willdabeast49

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Drakillion
Drakillion

"NCAA Football is still doing well" @_@ I'm actually not surprised to hear this actually.

Willdabeast49
Willdabeast49

Well if you release mediocre games this time of year and still charge me $60...Not gonna happen!

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

Well release some big games in the summer and this would improve sales.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

The top ten list makes me cringe. What the hell is all of this stuff? I hate how dev's leave all the games for the worst seasons. WHERE ARE MY GOOD SUMMER GAMES. Stupid competition.

singhellotaku
singhellotaku

Of course sales are down there were no games released this month

Zacmaccraken
Zacmaccraken

I want this "analyst" job!!!! It does not take a genius to predict that sales will be better on this year last months... DUHHH!!!!!

Zacmaccraken
Zacmaccraken

Want better sales??? Then release BETTER games!!!!! July's sucked hard, gaming-wise

XanderZane
XanderZane

August is one of the slowest months along with July, so I'm not surprised. I don't think anything great got released this month either. No real system seller. Only NCAA Football is a decent selling game. MLB 2K11 usually does poorly. Just Dance 2 is still selling very well. Oct and Nov will be the big months.

judahstarguy
judahstarguy

Stop making mediocre games and sales will recover.

tu2pac
tu2pac

That's because there are NO games worth buying currently. Check back in October - December when Batman, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Uncharted drop .... silly analysts ... Hey watch this, I'm an analyst too. "I predict in December that game sales will rise slightly ... ... now cut me a check

demonic_85
demonic_85

There werent any games that I wanted in July. Been playing lots of games from the summer Steam sale though.

pasheffi
pasheffi

stop buying NCAA and MADDEN you lemmings....

funkydude31
funkydude31

Ooooooo..you mean even with zumba fitness and cars 2 the sales for july slumped, what ever could be the problem. Tell the game industries to actually release decent titles in the summer, then they can complain if sales slumped. Sorry, if we get 2 AAA releases the entire summer you cant get all jumpy when sales are awful. Almost all of those top 10 games were not released in July, does it really take an analyst to figure this stuff out? They will make up for it come october/november.

CassadyH
CassadyH

Maybe now the industry has slipped back into sustainability. That's the thing about fads, investors get all giddy then the sky is falling, meanwhile the core audience is here doing what we always have done. buying games and looking forward to skyrim.

SephirothIsKing
SephirothIsKing

It's because nothing great has came out for a few months and it seems like all publishers are releasing everything between September-November.

joey16666
joey16666

I have 11 games pre-ordered from september - november. I saved all summer and have no idea where ill get the time to play all 11 from :P But at least they'll be in my drawer for when i need them. Ill be well stockpiled for next summer anyways.

subyman
subyman

I'm not surprised. The last 4 years have been propped up by Wii and DS sales. The Wii is not selling at all and the 3DS had lukewarm reception.

StanleyL
StanleyL

People, stop blaming this on the summer. The fact that fall sales are better than summer sales is already obvious. But revenue is down 26% year-over-year, meaning this is in comparison to LAST summer.

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

It's not suprising, this July wasn't that strong as far as releases go. This summer is kind of being looked past anyway, a lot of people are looking towards September (Gears of War 3, Resistance 3), October (Arkham City), and November (damn near too many to count LOL). There's at least $600 worth of games in that 3 month period each individual is looking towards owning. I'm thinking sales will rebound nicely in the fall LOL

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

Of course july was a slow month for sales. Nothing good came out. I had a bunch of cash in my pocket but no games to spend it on. As soon as they release games ppl will buy

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

It looks like the fraudulous strategy of online pass & vip code is not working that well to sell more new titles... Bad news for the industry, there is no game that I plan to buy anytime soon... except maybe Rage... I read on others articles that they hope that Madden will re-established the level of sales for september... ishhh, I wouldn't bid on that

motang
motang

It's the summer slump.

fattass21
fattass21

ummmmm, so exactly what came out this month? i dont think anything major came out this month. so of course there would losses.....

Enterprise-E
Enterprise-E

Summer times in particular are usually the slowest months in terms of games sales. Watch when September rolls around.

StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

Well maybe if they didn't raise the price of videogames 10 dollars right before the worst economic recession in decades. Lower the price of 360 and Ps3 games back to 50 dollars and then well talk...maybe.

bleedvideogames
bleedvideogames

economy is bad, game prices are high and theres a high volume of crappy games being made. i think that could be a reason