Traditionally, the NPD Group releases its figures of US game sales the second Thursday of each month. However, the industry-standard research firm forwent that practice in June, delaying the release of its May figures until after the June 15-17 Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Those figures were sent out today and revealed that the US game industry contracted once again. NPD reported overall retail sales of non-PC software, hardware, and accessories fell 5 percent year-over-year to $823.5 million. Hardware sales took the biggest hit, plummeting 20 percent to just $241.5 million. Software bucked the trend, rising 4 percent to $466.3 million.
One big reason software bounce backed was the release of Red Dead Redemption by Take-Two Interactive subsidiary Rockstar Games. Buoyed by rapt reviews, the open-world Western was the number one game of the month, selling a combined total of 1.513 million units. The Xbox 360 edition led NPD's top 10 with 945,900 units sold, followed by the PlayStation 3 version with 567,100 units.
Rounding out NPD's top five were Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy 2 with 563,000 units, followed by the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of UFC 2010 Undisputed. Though the pair cracked the top five, their sales numbers were below original expectations, selling just 221,100 units on the 360 and 192,300 copies on the PS3. The total 413,400 was less than half the million-plus units UFC 2009 Undisputed sold when it debuted in May of last year.
The rest of the top 10--which NPD declined to provide sales estimates for--included perennial fixtures Wii Fit Plus (sixth), New Super Mario Bros. Wii (seventh), and Pokemon SoulSilver (ninth). Two new Xbox 360 newcomers also charted, with the platform exclusive Alan Wake arriving in eighth and Skate 3 ollie-ing off the 10th slot's curb.
Though some software titles disappointed, it was a lackluster month for hardware all around. The usually robust DS and Wii had a weak month, selling just 383,700 and 334,800 units, respectively. By comparison, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sales were anemic, hitting just 196,600 and 154,500 units each. Even then, the PSP lagged far behind, selling just 59,400 units--one of its poorest monthly showings yet. (NPD no longer tracks sales of the PlayStation 2.)
In a statement, NPD analyst Anita Fraizer said that as low as the hardware numbers seemed, they are typical for the weak month of May. "Console hardware unit sales are, in fact, flat to last year," she said. "Declines in sales result from a lower average selling price this year compared to last. The portable hardware category contributed the most to the decline in hardware sales for the month, yet the DS is the best-selling hardware system for May."
Fraizer also pointed out that as low as the 360 and PS3's sales figures were, they were an improvement over April's dismal showings for both platforms. She also offered some big-picture analysis as well.
"The 360 platform, across hardware, software, and accessories, contributed the greatest share of revenue to industry sales for the month and year-to-date," she said. "The PS3 platform has enjoyed the greatest percentage growth, with platform sales across hardware, software, and accessories up 32 percent for the month and 28 percent year-to-date."
MAY 2010 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Games: $823.5 million (-5%)
Hardware: $241.5 million (-20%)
Software: $466.3 million (+4%)
Accessories: $115.7 million (+3%)
Xbox 360: 194,600
PlayStation 3: 154,500
TOP 10 GAMES (by SKU)
Title / Platform / Publisher / Release Date / Units sold
1. Red Dead Redemption / X360 / Take-Two / May-10 / 945,900
2. Red Dead Redemption / PS3 / Take-Two / May-10 / 567,100
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 / Wii / Nintendo / May-10 / 563,900
4. UFC 2010: Undisputed 2010 / X360 / THQ / May-10 / 221,100
5. UFC 2010: Undisputed 2010 / PS3 / THQ / May-10 / 192,300
6. Wii Fit Plus w/ Balance Board / Wii / Nintendo / Oct-09
7. New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Wii / Nintendo / Nov-09
8. Alan Wake / X360 / Microsoft / May-10
9. Pokemon SoulSilver / DS / Nintendo / Mar-10
10. Skate 3 / X360 / EA / May-10
Source: The NPD Group