The holidays are here again, as the game industry opened the fourth quarter in a big way, according to the industry-tracking NPD Group. The firm today released its US retail sales figures for October, and NPD analyst Anita Frazier put the industry's yearly growth to date in perspective.
"This year sales have already achieved the annual sales number for 2005," Frazier said, "and the two biggest months are yet to come. I think we'll see not only record-breaking revenues but record-breaking year-over-year growth when the final numbers are tallied."
Game sales for October were up 39 percent to $513.9 million, with hardware sales up 127 percent to $469.7 million. Factor in accessory sales, which Frazier said increased sharply alongside the hardware sales, and the industry as a whole for the month took in $1.1 billion, up 73 percent from October 2006.
As promised, the group's monthly recap also included hardware sales figures, and the Xbox 360's Halo 3-sparked reign atop the charts was short-lived. For October, the Wii retook the sales crown with sales of 519,000 systems, followed by 458,000 units sold for the Nintendo DS. The Xbox 360 posted sales of 366,000 systems, while the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 followed with 286,000 and 184,000 sold, respectively. The PlayStation 3 trailed with 121,000 sold, perhaps hurt by Sony's advance notice that it would make a less expensive version of the hardware available in November.
As expected, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock was all over the sales charts. The Xbox 360 bundle of the game and guitar sold more than 383,000 copies, followed by the Wii bundle (286,000), the PS2 bundle (271,000), and the PS2 stand-alone version of the game (nearly 232,000).
"Guitar Hero has certainly established itself among the elite video games properties," Frazier said. "Very few games sell in excess of 1 million units in their first month in market, but Guitar Hero III did easily with combined sales of 1.4 million units in only 6 days. Since it has broad appeal, it's also the type of game that should continue to do very well throughout the holidays."
While dwarfed by the cumulative sales of Activision's rhythm franchise, Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 sold more than any other single-platform release of a game during the month, notching almost 434,000 new recruits. Year to date, Halo 3 is still the best-selling game with 3.7 million sold in the US. Madden NFL 08 is close behind with 3.2 million sold across all systems, followed by Guitar Hero II (2.8 million), Wii Play with Wii Remote (2.5 million), Pokémon Diamond (2.1 million), Pokémon Pearl (1.5 million), Spider-Man 3 (1.4 million), and Guitar Hero III (1.4 million).
Top 10 best-selling games of October 2007, according to NPD Group
Halo 3 (regular, collector's, and legendary versions)--Xbox 360--434,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (with guitar)--Xbox 360--383,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (with guitar)--Wii--286,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (with guitar)--PS2--271,000
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass--DS--263,000
Wii Play with Wii Remote--Wii--240,000
The Orange Box--Xbox 360--238,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock--PS3--232,000
FIFA Soccer 08--PS2--130,000
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day--DS--117,000
October 2007 hardware sales, according to NPD Group