June game sales up, fueled by GTA, MoH, Sith

$388 million at retail adds to year-to-date increase of 12 percent growth, despite across-the-board slowing of console sales.

NPD Funworld figures for console game and hardware sales for the month of June were released yesterday after the markets closed. Revenues that increased 2 percent to $388 million were driven by solid sales of GTA: San Andreas (on the Xbox), Medal of Honor: European Assault, Pokemon Emerald, and Star Wars Episode III.

The industry's big winners during the month were Take-Two, which saw June sales jump 124 percent over the same period last year; THQ, which saw sales jump 23 percent; and Electronic Arts, which saw a 6 percent increase in revenue for the month, according to NPD estimates.

By platform, compared to last June's figures, Xbox software sales grew by 14 percent, PlayStation 2 game sales were off 6 percent, and GameCube software sales took a 38 percent dip. Overall, compared to June of last year, June '06 software unit sales were down 4 percent. Higher average selling prices, however, contributed to the overall dollar-figure increase.

The month's top-selling games by revenue driven (across all platforms), in order, were Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith ($20 million in revenue for LucasArts); GTA: San Andreas on the Xbox ($19 million in revenues for Take-Two); Madagascar ($13 million in revenues for Activision); Medal of Honor: European Assault ($11 million for EA); and Lego Star Wars ($11 million in revenues for Eidos).

Overall dollars spent on console hardware (including handhelds) during June '06 were up 19 percent over last June. Year-to-date, hardware dollars are tracking more than 40 percent higher than last year at this time.

Analysts were quick to point out that hardware unit sales of the major home consoles declined 6 percent in June (against a decline of 4 percent last June). This is the first month this year that saw a decline, marking the first year-on-year drop in hardware sales this year. Overall, the PlayStation 2 remained the top-selling console in terms of share. Analysts said 27 percent of all hardware units sold were PS2s. Compared to last year, however, PS2 unit sales were off 17 percent, Xbox sales were off 35 percent, and GameCube sales were off 36 percent compared to June of last year.

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