NPD: August game-software revenue up 17.5 percent

Madden-mania helps console games ring up $397 million; hardware spikes 22 percent, thanks to an ascendant DS, but current-gen consoles plummet.

Wasn't 2006 supposed to be a year of doom and gloom for the game industry? As revelers were popping their champagne corks in the early hours of January 1, many analysts were predicting the following 12 months would be a long slog through a gloomy console-transition year.

However, after a few skittish months, things began to look up in April, which saw overall game sales--software, hardware, and accessories--rise 16 percent, according to the industry-research firm NPD Group. That number fell in May by 10 percent but rebounded in June by 25 percent. The upward trend accelerated in July, which saw combined sales climb 29 percent when compared to the same month in 2005.

Today, preliminary percentages from NPD's August report began to trickle out--and they also brought good news. NPD reported that non-PC game software sales rang up $397 million in August, a rise of 17.5 percent versus the year before. What analysts term "current-generation" software--games for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance--accounted for $249 million. So-called "next-generation" software--DS, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360 games--earned $148 million.

August's main moneymaker in console games was Madden NFL 07, which helped Electronic Arts' sales rise five percent during the month. The game sold nearly two million units during its first week, enjoying the benefits of having no competition from rival football franchises. That translated to a $100 million one-week tally, a record for the franchise. Analysts also singled out Square Enix's Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation 2), and Capcom's Dead Rising (Xbox 360) as best-sellers for the month. NPD's estimate did not include sales of THQ's Saints Row (Xbox 360), which has topped charts since its August 29 release.

By platform, the biggest software driver was a little thing called the Nintendo DS. Sales of games for Nintendo's dual-screen handheld rose 116 percent during the month, propelled by the continuing Brain Training and Mario Kart DS crazes. Sales of titles for the DS's archrival, Sony's PlayStation Portable, also saw an increase of 57 percent, while Nintendo's previous handheld saw its software dollars drop 27 percent.

But while things were rosy down handheld way, over in consoletown, year-on-year software sales fell almost all around. The sole winner was the PlayStation 2, which saw game sales climb a meager one percent. Meanwhile, GameCube game sales dropped 23 percent and Xbox game sales fell 53 percent.

So why did software sales spike then? Keep in mind there are no year-on-year comparisons for the Xbox 360, which went on sale in November 2005. However, the early NPD report did offer some insight into the console's fortunes. Some $89 million of 360 games were sold in August, beating analyst expectations (again).

During the month, around 205,000 Xbox 360s were sold, a slip of one percent compared to July. So far in 2006, the console has sold some 2.4 million units, according to NPD. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter expects the console to sell between 950,000 to 1.5 million more units through the end of the year, putting its 2006 total between 3.35 and 3.9 million units.

As for the other hardware platforms, once again it was a DS success story. Units of Nintendo's handheld enjoyed a whopping 168 percent year-on-year growth spurt during the month, outpacing the only other gainer, the PlayStation 2, which saw a rise of just three percent. Everywhere else, it was a veritable bloodbath. Sales of PSPs dropped 12 percent, GBAs slid 23 percent, GameCubes fell 23 percent, and Xboxes plummeted 93 percent, the last platform's sales no doubt cannibalized by its next-gen sibling.

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Discussion

104 comments
Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

From all that is being said below. it would seem most agree that video gaming is not as positive as the media tries to make us think, that sales are not as good as the media are trying to brainwash us of and that things need to change or this Xmas will be as bad, if not worse than the last two Xmas's. One more bad Xmas season and video gaming could go into freefall. Just like the movie business couldn't survive with two blockbusters a year and the rest crap, the gaming market cannot live on two 90% games a year and the rest 75% or below. And that is what's happening now.

mrnickyb
mrnickyb

The comment at the end of the article about original X-Box sales plummeting 93 percent due to the 360 is totally incorrect. The X-Box is down 93 percent because it is no longer in production and is almost impossible to find. I would love to pick up a new X-Box considering how awful the backwards compatibility is on the 360. I have a large X-Box library and if anything happens to my one working console than I will be using the discs as coasters in two or three years.

spoo_
spoo_

godovivel please stop making a fool of yourself... US is not the only part of NA... The #'s are right but you also need to take a few things in consideration with the NPD #s. For some reason they don't count online sales and they don't count anyone besides AMERICA. If you want to find the worldwide #s go to: http://forum.pcvsconsole.com/folder.php?fid=23 Kids if you want to sound smart you need to pay attention in school, in this case geography class... Geever, I'm sorry but you wrong here are the numbers through June 30, 2006: Xbox 360 Hardware North America - 3.3 million Europe - 1.3 million Other - 0.4 million Worldwide - 5 million I'm not sure if they are how many shipped or sold but it doesn't mater because by now MS has sold over 5 million 360 units worldwide. I don't pull numbers and facts out of my ass like other posters here.

GeeverTidus
GeeverTidus

2.4 million xbox360 sold in NA...thats too low... and for the guyz who said that there were 5 million xbox360 shipped worldwide...hahaha think again it says just "shipped" not "SOLD" out... its really hard to accept for xbaxfans that in Asia and Europe their fav console flopped...a lot of xbox360 in japan and in major asian countries stuck-up in shelves... and even if they lower its price in the holidays still it wont attrack asians primarily because it doesn't cater the kind of games asians want... Xbox360 will never win the hearts of asians and that would clearly mean asian game publishers will develop more exclusive titles for PS3 and Wii because they will solely own the big market share here...this would only mean that either PS3 or Wii will lead the nextgen console war certainly because these 2 consoles can penetrate the worlwide gaming markets, unlike xbox360 who is having a very hard time pushing their console in asian gaming market....and remeber guyz fanbase alone will boost it sales, PLAYSTATION and NINTENDO has milliions of fans worldwide unlike xbox360 whose fanbase is just in NA and a little percent in EU:-)

GeeverTidus
GeeverTidus

2.4 million xbox360 sod in NA...thats too low... and for the guyz who said that there were 5 million xbox360 shipped worldwide...hahaha think again it says just "shipped" not "SOLD" out... its really hard to accept for xbaxfans that in Asia and Europe their fav console flopped...a lot of xbox360 in japan and in major asian countries stuck-up in shelves... and even if they lower its price in the holidays still it wont attrack asians primarily because it doesn't cater the kind of games asians want... Xbox360 will never win the hearts of asians and that would clearly mean asian game publishers will develop more exclusive titles for PS3 and Wii because they will solely own the big market share here...this would only mean that either PS3 or Wii will lead the nextgen console war certainly because these 2 consoles can penetrate the worlwide gaming markets, unlike xbox360 who is having a very hard time pushing their console in asian gaming market....and remeber guyz fanbase alone will boost it sales, PLAYSTATION and NINTENDO has milliions of fans worldwide unlike xbox360 whose fanbase is just in NA and a little percent in EU:-)

Sonic2batt
Sonic2batt

"meimnobody Only reason PS2s are being bought is to replace broken ones. People have built up ps2 gaming collections by whatever means and so they need the console since they never got a warranty or it was only for a year or two. Nintendo consoles on the hand for all intents and purposes never break." OMG, maybe you're on to something! Sony starts off each generation selling at a loss. But then the systems get popular and later break, so you'll have a situation like the PS2 now where people are buying replacements at a point where Sony is now making profit off the hardware! PStwo probably costs $50 to make now. So now you have people who bought 2 PS2's , that increases the installed base, they've already made profits off of all the games and accessories you've bought, and now they're getting the money they lost selling you your first PS2. LOL now look at the PS3 it will launch for $600 and they will SLOWLY lower the cost to the point where they're making 100% profit or more off the hardware.

wenbin09
wenbin09

Bring us more next gen games!!!

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

And please, don't flame a company for making sale projections. They ALL do it and they ALL have met AND failed on their projections in the past at one point or another. MS, Sony , and Nintendo all made some bold statements and had to digress on some of the things they've said. They ALL over-estimate, in fact it's part of their strategy to do so, especially to their investors. Setting high goals is what most successful companies or people do. If you were in sales and wanted to sell 100 units before the next qtr. you would set a projection sales goal for 135 to 150units. You would NOT set it at 100. You set a goal the EXCEEDS the desired amount in order to ensure that it is met.

tutejaa
tutejaa

douche , they have sold more than 5million world wide by now :! US isn't the only market idiot. I think the sales will really pick up with Gears of Wars launch.

spoo_
spoo_

@harry007 "xbox 360 has sold around 3.75 million units worldwide............so come nov they would atbest beef up that figure to 5 million but again that is nowhere near the 10 million claim by MS." 3.7 million Xbox 360s have sold in NA alone and more then 5 million have sold worldwide. I don't know where you got your numbers from but try to check your source before you post otherwise you sound like an ignorant fanboy. Also you must have no idea how retail works MS should be able to sell 2.5 million - 3.5 million this Nov. and Dec. in NA. And they should be close to the 10 million mark by the end of the year but you are right that it won't happen before Nov.

dajuand23
dajuand23

Amen NinjaFoot! Coming from someone who has worked in the videogame retail business for 4 years now I must say that you are absolutely correct. Guys like Sumotaii don't realize how much the industry itself depends so heavily on games like Madden and GTA (which these to games are known to be system sellers). Without them we may not be enjoying alot of the other games that are out there today. Exclusive deals are made all the time and sometimes it's unfortunate. The NFL 2k series was a great series but that doesn't mean it's better. Both games had their strengths, but they BOTH had there own weaknesess. That's just the way it goes. I just hate to see people bash on things without doing research first. I especially hate to see it when people hate on the games that help put this industry where it is today, that being the number one form of entertainment in the world. I may not play games like Final Fantasy or anything, but I know what type of impact those games have in the gaming community throughout the world and I absolutely respect that.

NinjaFoot
NinjaFoot

Sumotaii, if it weren't for those 'idiots' who buy games like Madden and GTA, the industry would be in a much worse place than it is. Stop making yourself out to be superior in some way (you aren't) and just see things as they are. For gaming to continue to grow and not fester and die, it is going to depend on MORE of these 'idiots' buying up mass market games than is currently happening. Do you think the ps2 has been a runaway success because of the hardcore? It didnt hit the really astronomical sell through numbers until it hit a budget price that pretty much put it into impulse buy territory. And 'idiot' games like Madden and GTA being available for it didnt hurt either.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Amazing that the headline made it sound like everything was good! I mean doesn't 'August game-software revenue up 17.5 percent' make it sound like everything is well? Then you read down and see XBox 360 sales flat, with no competition, software sales paltry given no competition, Playstation 2 flatlining, even though PS3 was a long way off even with a Xmas release. We know PC gaming is down over 50% in 3 years with Peter Molyneux of Lionhead saying just last month that a PC version of a game alone cannot make a profit and needs console versions to do so. We have PC games back on the bad road of not running on average PC's, we have fewer and fewer genres to widen the market and we have a trend for more expensive games with less hours of gameplay (15 hours seems to becoming the average, that 3 or 4 years ago would have been 25 hours and 10 years ago 40 hours!). So why was a positive shine put on this news item? Because the media and industry overall has it's heads in the sand and think this breakdown in the video gaming market will sort itself out with no change on their part. Especially when it comes to gaming media we have not seen a change in how they cover the market in 20 years of gaming. Why one person to review a game? Why not three, all with interests in different genres, to give a better overall view (like they did in print magazine like Zzap magazine in the UK, a Commodore 64 gaming mag in the 80's)? How about follow up reviews 6 months after release to coincide with the hype having died down, patches having come out and the release soon to go on budget? Why should a game that had initial bugs get reviewed and slammed, then take the time to release patches that solve every problem and yet still have those initial '1.0' reviews on every website? What about reviews of mods and more coverage of the independent market? What about the media supporting the gamer rather than promoting the industry? Why, for example, should a $1.99 piece of armour for Oblivion get so much coverage, and yet a free utility that allows you to run the game better on a lower spec PC (called 'oldblivion') that helps 100,000's of gamers worldwide get no or little coverage? Why are 'niche' genres seen as 'dead' because they are not mainstream? Why can't a publisher release a lower budget game, that costs a little less to produce to sell to a small section of the market where sales will be smaller, but a profit can still be made? Why is it a game can only be successful if it cost $30 million to produce and sold 5 million+ units? As long as nothing changes in the gaming industry, sales will continue to fall, more and more 'average/mainstream' gamers will continue to walk away and find other interests, and the boom we saw in PC AND Console gaming we saw in the 90's become flat (18 months ago) then negative (last year) as we have gone through the first 6 year's of this century?

jsambeckwith
jsambeckwith

Harry007: You are wrong in every respect. Get out. The Ps3 is not 'far superior' to the 360, the graphics are the same and the processor of the 360 has been shown to perform better in gaming than the Ps3, due to the fact it was designed specifically for that. There will not be 'total chaos' when the Ps3 launches. It will be far too expensive to even warrant a blip on most people's radar, and the launch games look, to put a finer point on it, crap. 'The 360 has flopped in europe'. You live in Canada. How the hell would you know? I live in europe, and can saftely say it hasn't. So be quiet. 'The most powerful consumer hardware ever made'. Have you ever heard of a personal gaming computer? Maybe you should look them up.

meimnobody
meimnobody

Don't worry the Madden numbers will drop. Madden is an American game fad anyway.

dclive2000
dclive2000

People kill me about the PS3. The console will be no diffrent that the 360. The DS is kicking azz now. Why?! People can afford it. Everyone keeps claiming " I'LL HAVE A PS3 WHEN LAUNCH". Yea, ok..... The only reason It'll sell because of the fanbase. Sony still doesn't have a official launch lineup and it's September?! $600.00 price tag. No HDMI cable included. No 1080p games when launch. No matter how much Sony is bending you guys over and screwing you ( with no lubrication), you still saying "I'M GETTING ONE AT LAUNCH". I still have not seen acutial game footage for at least several games for the PS3. Right now, I'm content with the 360. No matter what news comes out for the 360, fangirls always have an excuse to knock MS. I had my 360 since launch and no problems as of now. While you girls keep hope alive for the PS3, I'm playing next-gen right now on my 52in HDTV with the 1000 watt 7.1 Onkyo Surround Sound with music streaming wirelessely from my laptop as I play my "Next Gen" games. Europe, why did they push your release until 2007?! Oh well, let the ball bounce where it may.

faridmon
faridmon

am glad that i don't live in america, i mean Madden sold 2 million, thats just unbellieveble, thats new super mario bros numbers in just one week, are they for real? unbellieveble. and i loled at that guy said Dirge of Carbirus is great game, glad to see the DS doing its job, but in eurpe the DS is selling like hot cakes, but why is the sales of teh XBOX360 that low? i mean just 3.9, thats like 2 week of madden. hahaha

Sumotaii
Sumotaii

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

sega_boy78
sega_boy78

madden, is the ONLY NFL game out there and i have never liked it. i really wish SEGA had it's 2K line still b/c they should still be making it regardless of the monopolistic policies EA adheres to. also, the 360 and Wii will probably rule the gaming industry for awhile. it would help the 360 alot more if Best Buy and other "big box" retail stores would actually have good games playing on their kiosks. and no one seems to promote all the bonus features of the 360 like Arcade or streaming content from your pc, etc. i'm not a fanboy to any console manufacturer but i sure ain't buying the PS3, probably ever. Sony has pissed me off since their "over-hyping" of the PS2 launch that killed the Dreamcast. uuhh, i can talk all day about how the Dreamcast got screwed by Sony.

sideoftheham
sideoftheham

PS3 is going to fail in its first two years. Too expensive, and most of the "Exclusive" Games are coming to the 360.

oxymoron1331
oxymoron1331

Why does everyone instantly think the PS3 will dominate the next-gen? The games for launch are far from breath taking and most of the next gen games are going to be multi-platform. Those who think that 360 can't offer any good games, they have already had 25 games ranked above an eight and Oblivion made a 9.6. And with games like Too Human, Mass Effect, Fable 2, Gears of War, and of course Halo 3, how could you even think that the 360 will do poorly. It's all about the games and sony is getting to distracted with trying to "replace the pc" that they are forgetting about that. Sony will offer some good games but not at launch, but are games like devil may cry, god of war, and Metal Gear Solid enough to beat the other systems? I honestly don't think so. Yes, i am what you call a Xbox fan boy and i have been ever since my two PS2s broke and i played halo for the first time. I am open minded and willing to hear others out and i want to know why people think the PS3, 360, or Wii will win. I've already told you what I think now what about you?

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

" The game sold nearly two million units during its first week, enjoying the benefits of having no competition from rival football franchises." I chuckled at that description of Madden, because it's so true.

harry007
harry007

xbox 360 has sold around 3.75 million units worldwide............so come nov they would atbest beef up that figure to 5 million but again that is nowhere near the 10 million claim by MS. yea it is true MS has already shipped 5 million units worldwide but some of them are still idly on the shelves especially in japan where around 400 000 x360s are on the shelves. in europe too xbox 360 has flopped big time.....saint row is the only X360 game to appear in the top 10 eu charts after 3 months,,,,,(uk only) for just a week onlyyy. by the time THE FAR SUPERIOR ps3 launches around 5 million x360s would be sold everywhere .....but again yOU HAVE TO REMEBER THAT 3 MILLION PS3S HAVE ALREADY BEEN MANUFACTURED (WITHOUT BD DRIVE)......AND SONY WOULD STEP UP THEIR DIODE PRODUCTIONS TO MEET THE 6 MILLION FIGURE BY 2007, MARCH. SO NOV LAUNCH MEANS HEAT WAVES IN E-BAY AND AMAZON AND OTHER WEBSTORES. I AM IN CANADA WHERE THERE ARE MILLIONS WILLING TO DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING TO GET A PS3...............there would be total chaos when ps3 is launched. same phenomenon is noticed all around the world..........although some gamers are disappointed but still there are around 100 million waiting to get their hands on most powerful consumer hardware ever made!!!!!!!!!that challenges the potential of not just gaming consoles but the supercomputers of the late nineties.

meimnobody
meimnobody

Brain Age is just attracting nongamers to the DS. DS games in other countries are much higher then the US which is still dominated by the GBA. Expect the upcoming pokemon games to make the DS explode. Also there are a great many upcoming DS game releases that will make the DS sell a lot more to those on the fence. Xbox sales are plummenting since they aren't making them anymore and haven't for a while. They haven't reduced the price either. Gamecube still has a lot of stock. And has a more unique game library.

radiocreed
radiocreed

Looks like the 360 will be the North America's HQ.

Murpheus007
Murpheus007

First off, the PS3 is only launching with 500,000 units. So why people are basing the holiday sales off of that figure is beyond me. While I doubt Sony's prediction (if anything they ever say can be called that again) of having 2 - 2.5 million by years end, they will be shipping more than 500,00. That is just for Nov. 17. Yeah they'll be hard to come by, but Sony will have a Merry Christmas. They always do.

limelight022
limelight022

Bring NEW Super Mario Bros. to the Wii!!!!!!!!! That will skyrocket sales of the Wii instantly im sure.

DarkKefka
DarkKefka

It's funny how many analyst have made wrong predictions. Good for the DS - it seems that it just wont stop selling well.

ReaperXxxx
ReaperXxxx

360 sales will skyrocket around the holidays. Just wait until after the PS3 launch. A lot of the parents planning on having a PS3 under the tree and going to have to grab a 360 when the PS3 sells out in 15 minutes.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

the ds is doing realy really well...when it first came out it looked stupid but now it looks really good

yoshi_64
yoshi_64

LoWpS Wrote: "wow, dang, xbox sales like... died. the main reason is probably that the 360 is out, and its backwards compatible... I expect a similar GC drop after the Wii comes out. " That may be so, but sucks for the fools who think the 360's BC is anything worth replacing an Xbox for.... GC will likely have the same thing though. The PS2 is the only console I see still selling strong after the release of the PS2

assassinX01
assassinX01

im getting sick of seeing the DS top charts for the same reason time after time. I've got nothing against the lil handheld, but c'mon, Brain training shouldn't be propeling a consle. Also, "During the month, around 205,000 Xbox 360s were sold, a slip of one percent compared to July." Is it just me, or are those some pretty pathetic numbers; the console is in its 10th month now, and those sound like pretty petty numbers. Is it A. Microsoft's own fault for not producing units at a reasonable scale, or B. the consumer's fault for waiting too much before buying one?

DS_fan_atic
DS_fan_atic

Did anyone expect the DS to take off like this when it launched?

LoWpS
LoWpS

wow, dang, xbox sales like... died. the main reason is probably that the 360 is out, and its backwards compatible... I expect a similar GC drop after the Wii comes out.

buzzoinks
buzzoinks

the ds rocks... it has next gen gameplay, reinvented controls, cheap price, and tons of great games, it's a towering wall of fun!

meimnobody
meimnobody

DS is new gen since it has new interface and a whole new way to play games. Sure there is a graphics update and processer etc but it is the whole interface with the stylus, mic and two screens that make it really stand out. DS seems to be outselling PSP by a factor of two to one for the US and Ten to one for Japan on a good week.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

I have had a 360 since it came out almost, and now finally some people I actually now have bought one (there just not geek enough to buy somthing for $400 right when it comes out xD). It's pretty cool and I agree with WagTheDog in because he says "The games are getting a lot better too, eventhough the GS scores don't reflect it." the games are getting alot better, and more numerous which is great! Because that also means that some of the older games are cheaper!

WagTheDog
WagTheDog

Well I'm glad to see the 360 is just 40,000 back of the PS2. That may seem like a lot but 3 months ago the gap was much wider. The 360 is slowly infiltrating homes, and the price drop in Japan shows us they're willing to do whatever it takes. The games are getting a lot better too, eventhough the GS scores don't reflect it.

oxymoron1331
oxymoron1331

Microsoft is doing really well if you consider that they are selling systems when 1) it's in the middle of summer and 2) not that many good games have come out. Sure Dead Rising and Saints Row are pretty good games but nothing compared to the games coming out later this year and next year. Most people are probably waiting for Halo 3 and when that comes to our doorsteps a lot more 360s will be sold. Many more will be sold this Holiday season too. The PS3 and Wii will sell out regardless of how good they are, so that means parents will buy what's actually there, which is Xbox 360. This will install a better fan base when kids don't just get what's the most popular. They will sit down and actually find out that the 360 is a really good system.

wafuls05
wafuls05

actually its only 400 thousand ps3's so..uh...yeah..

Fallout_red
Fallout_red

Dead Rising: The best game of 2006. Dead Rising deserves that, along with Dirge Of Cerberus. There are high quality, money kosting games out there BUT people buy low-budget DS games for $40!!?? Well, kodus to Dead Rising and Dirge Of Serberus.

jtvance
jtvance

harry007- The PS3 will hardly be blowing anything out of the water with that massive launch shipment of... 500,000 units??? hahaha

brightshadow525
brightshadow525

Wow... I didn't know the DS sold that many games/consoles... I'm really impressed. I thought it wouldn't be that much.