September US game sales slide 8%, hardware down 19% - NPD

Industry-reporting firm's new report format shows steep decline in console, portable sales; Halo: Reach, Madden NFL, Dead Rising 2 top games; PlayStation Move boosts accessories.

For years, the NPD Group has issued hardware totals as part of its monthly report on US game sales. That changed with today's September report, which saw the industry-research firm withhold a comprehensive tally of how the DS, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, and Wii fared. Instead, the company reported only overall hardware sales, which fell 19% to $383 million.

However, NPD does not prohibit the big three console makers from saying how many units they sold during the month. So it was little surprise to see Microsoft trumpet the fact that the Xbox 360 was the top console--not including handhelds--for the fourth month in a row. Some 484,000 units sold during the period, an increase of 37 percent year-over-year. As of press time, neither Nintendo nor Sony had issued sales figures for their consoles, but NPD analyst Anita Frazier did shed some light on the matter.

Halo: Reach conquered the competition in September.

"Hardware unit sales, with the exception of the Xbox 360, are down versus last September, but a couple other platforms, specifically the PS3 and the PSP are up on an average sales per week basis as compared to last month (August 2010)," she said.

[UPDATE] Analyst reports released on Friday revealed the sales numbers for the Wii and PlayStation 3. The latter sold 312,000 units, a 37 percent decline when compared to brisk post-price drop sales in September 2009. The former sold just 254,000 units, a precipitous 45 percent year-over-year decline. Wedbush analysts blamed the drop on "gamer fatigue" and a lack of major titles for the console.

NPD's overall game sales figures have also changed, thanks to the inclusion of PC game software in the total for the first time. Overall sales of all game software and non-PC hardware and accessories fell 8 percent for the month for a total of $1.22 billion. It was another month of major decline following August's 10 percent slide, although that figure did not include PC software.

On the software side, game sales dropped 5 percent during the month to $655 million. With console and handheld software sales combining for $614 million, that puts the PC game market at $41 million for the month.

Meanwhile, non-PC software declined 6 percent to $614 million despite big sales of Halo: Reach. Though NPD has also stopped offering software unit sales figures, Microsoft was all too happy to declare that the sci-fi shooter had sold 3.3 million units domestically in the two weeks after its September 14 launch.

September also saw NPD change its monthly software chart. Gone are unit sales figures for the top 5, and the top 10 are now for combined sales of an individual title across all platforms, not a single title on a single platform.

Though NPD ceased giving out hardware figures, Microsoft wasn't shy about saying the Xbox 360 was the number one console.

However, the new system didn't stop the Xbox 360-exclusive Halo 3 from being the top game in the land, even when put against multiplatform games like Madden NFL 11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP) in second and Dead Rising 2 (360, PS3, PC) in third. In fourth place was NHL 11 (360, PS3), followed by FIFA Soccer 11 (360, PS3, PS2, PSP, DS) and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP). Coming in seventh was Mafia II (360, PS3, PC), with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (PS3, 360, DS, Wii) falling in eighth, Metroid: Other M (Wii) in ninth, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360, PS3, PC) bringing up the rear.

The month's sole bright spot was accessories, which saw sales increase 13 percent to $180 million. Frazier credit this in large part to the PlayStation Move, which saw each of its configurations finish in the top 10 accessories chart (which was not provided). The best-selling accessories for the month, however, remained the Xbox Live 1,600-point card and the $20 PlayStation Network card.

SEPTEMBER 2010 US GAME SALES

OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total: $1.22 billion (-8%)
Non-PC total: $1.18 billion (-8%)
Non-PC hardware: $383 million (-19%)
Non-PC software: $614 million (-6%)
Software: $655 million (-5%)
Accessories: $180 million (+13%)

TOP 10 GAMES
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Halo: Reach (360) - Microsoft
2. Madden NFL 11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP) - Electronic Arts
3. Dead Rising 2 (360, PS3, PC) - Capcom
4. NHL 11 (360, PS3) - Electronic Arts
5. FIFA SOCCER 11 (360, PS3, PS2, PSP, NDS) - Electronic Arts
6. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP) - Square Enix Inc
7. Mafia II (360, PS3, PC) - Take 2 Interactive
8. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (PS3, 360, NDS, Wii) - Activision
9. Metroid: Other M (Wii) - Nintendo
10. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360, PS3, PC) - Activision Blizzard

Source: The NPD Group

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Discussion

182 comments
hordaak
hordaak

To the people complaining about spending $60 on a game.....rent first? There is also gamefly.

thehunter1900
thehunter1900

only reason that xbox sells more is because of halo, and that nintendo announced 3DS. because of the 3DS announce alot of people that wanted to buy a ds / wii = waiting for 3DS to arrive. and about the piracy common. 60 euro for a freaking game that you complete in 8 hours? the multiplayer aspects are hardly worth the extra money of it. not to forget that we are in a recession pritty much everywhere kk. cleuless company's are clueless. While the nintendo ds is under heavy piracy, but still pokemon black and white was sold out, and kinda broke all saling records. You can clearly state that piracy isn't the big issue. the big issue is that 99% of the games aren't worth it. about the pc vs console thing. a pc is superior to gaming. why company's lack to support it is because they massively jumped towards console industrie, for the reason piracy. on consoles there is alot lesser piracy going on. But at the same time they skip all the pc users. And eventuelly destroy themself. Look at gta series. the first ones sold really well. until they released the game "only for consoles" and 1-2 years later for the pc. The game was so dated that nobody actually could care less to even jump on the pc version. And they all blame piracy for that, kk. Clueless company's are clueless

calvinsora
calvinsora

It's surprising that analysts still think there's a DEFINITE future or trend in the gaming world. There is none, and that's the wonderful thing about gaming. Why have the comments gone into SW territory? I stay away from there for the exact reason to avoid the misplaced anger and despair to be found there. PC and consoles each offer their own experiences (experiences that I find to be identical, but whatever).

ktseymour
ktseymour

That's what I've been saying for years now FlashCharge. It's easier and cheaper to make a game that's mostly.. multi-player brain drains. Gaming studios have been heading this way for years now, not because s few vocal kiddies that constantly post on the net about multi-player, but because the resources needed to make a crappy multi-player knockoff are much cheaper and the profits that much higher. I still think the majority of gamers prefer a well polished single player game, with multi-player as a nice bonus.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

When a gamer pays 60 bucks for a game he expects to get something for his hard earned cash. So many times the single player experience in the games being release are sugar coated for the online multi-player experience. What a waste, these developers should sell these games as an online experience for half the price. The development of the games, in the past few months, have been less than great and the price still carries the heavy price tag.

chrisvandergaag
chrisvandergaag

Why are they withholding console-specific sales figures now? The best explanation the podcasters have come up with is that it riles fanboys. but who cares? it's useful info.

jhpeter
jhpeter

Game industry should stop sending their big titles to third party destroy them.

tachsniper
tachsniper

yea let's blame Piracy not a economy that hasn't recovered or lackluster titles not worth buying in the first place.

magusat999
magusat999

Oh - and might I add that the whole piracy paranoia has place an unbearable crush on sales. Developers are making games that should be on the PC for other consoles because they fear of "piracy" - which means they go from some sales on the PC to NONE. That doesn't help the bottom line either. SUre, there is piracy - but you aren't actually losing money, so why not sell what you can instead of selling none at all? Stupid. And despite the piracy aspect, companies who just ignored all that and put their products out anyway did very well, as long as they put out a quality product (look at how much Starcraft II, Mass Effect, Dragon Age sold on the PC for proof - and all three are heavily pirated). Another aspect is, along with all the high prices, gamers are expected to shell out fees to play online (MMO). Of course it cost money to run a game server - but how many game subscriptions do they think a person is going to be willing to pay for? And it really sheds customers when soething like APB happens and gamers realize they spent $60.00 for NOTHING. All games should have a singleplayer mode - something a person can play when the online service peters out. If they want gaming to survive, they are going to have to come up with a better price plan, or see the audience dwindle to nothing.

magusat999
magusat999

I don't know how much they expect to sell considering the price of gaming for the last couple of years - or even since the Xbox360, Wii and PS3 came out. Even though the original Xbox and the PS2 were expensive at launch, the prices went way down over a period of one year - this has not happened with the current consoles. It doesn't matter if they "have to" keep the prices up to recover from lost money - the fact is that whatever the reason the prices are too high for the average person to just run out and buy whenever it strikes them. Sony lost control of game pricing, and now games now games are priced through the roof - that's the major sore point I have about Sony losing control over the game industry, although I have no love for their PS3 pricing. Nintendo, feeling all "top of the world" now, is starting to push the prices to the 1990's, when they charged $80.00-$100.00 per game. The fact that they changed the price of the 3DS after the Tokyo game show, because "people liked it" shows how far up their shoulders their butts have climbed. It's a simple reason - gaming is getting too expensive. When games were $49.99, accessories were $30.00 or less and game consoles lowered their prices after a short time there was a boom - now that game companies think they have a lock they have been trying to milk us - but people run out of money and then there is nothing left but curd.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

lol 360 aint out sellin nothing , its way behind wii , so sales shouldnt matter no more i stopped counting once 360 was 40 million units behind and leading a few months wont help it any especally if its not selling in japan

acasero44
acasero44

Im not buying that thrash game known as black ops

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

So people didn't rush out to buy a PS3 when they found out about the Move? I'm shocked!

max_1111
max_1111

@maybock3000 It takes creativity to make a game that doesn't entrance its audience through the simplicity of blowing somebody's head off on the new next generation FPS engine... Which is something a large portion of game developers don't have anymore. (Not to imply that i don't love a good FPS game now and then.) They'd rather just pump out the next Call of Duty, Call of Duty clone, or Halo, with the hopes of cashing in on all the mouth breathers that will gobble it up, finish it in a week, then wait on their knees for the next installment. (Case in point, the user comment right beneath me.)

misst3r
misst3r

What did some idiot say about gamers getting "fatigued"? When I think about some of those COD4 mp marathons I pulled off... and even still it seemed like I couldn't get enough

maybock3000
maybock3000

If they created more games that weren't rated M, I think the industry would do better. The violent factor has gotten out of control.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Now that people are falling off the Wii fadwagon of course the sales of that console are down. Any gaming company that bases it's core strategy around the casual gaming market is playing with fire. Sooner or later they are going to burn you because in the end they don't care about gaming that much. PS3 Move launched in mid-month so I would guess front end sales were depressed as people held off for the new bundles. 360 is up, showing that the slim version is moving along but I wouldn't be surprised if their overall numbers drop off as holiday buyers wait for the Kinect bundles. Now waits for Wii fanboys to give me thumbs down for pointing out a reason for declining Wii sales, even though I have nothing against Nintendo or the Wii.

Buriz
Buriz

There were no games in september, or august. Expect October to be slightly better... that trend will continue around feb. or 2 months later, this happens every year and every year the game industry analyst make it sound like it's the END OF DA WURLD There are good game seasons (fall, winter) and then there are bad game seasons (spring, summer)

Buriz
Buriz

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

ACEGamer89
ACEGamer89

Why is this article talking about the sales of Halo 3...I'm pretty sure it didn't outsell all those other games. I think they meant Halo Reach. Better fix that paragraph...

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

I guess I'd also be fatigued if all the games I played simulated beating off.

TTDog
TTDog

@Alkpaz: The music, as you'd expect from a game based around a composers dream, is magical... you could almost pass it off as an educational game as between each chapter it goes into more depth on Chopin's life history. Combat wise, all characters have different moves depending on whether they're standing in the light or the dark, adds a nice element of strategy to some battles as you have to lure enemies into, or out of, the dark to beat them.

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

@TTDog I'll definately check Eternal Sonata out! The trailer looks GOOD!

TTDog
TTDog

@Alkpaz: 10 Notes... English, maybe $16... postage free, via work, just the cost of the ad. Ebay's better for older stuff, if it's new then it can be hit or miss.

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

@TTDog I never got into the whole eBay thing.. man, 10 dollars profit? Did that include the shipping cost? Hmmm.. need to look into that for some of my other "junk" I have laying around.

TTDog
TTDog

@Alkpaz: I played Star Ocean and hated it, I've not got on with a single Tri-Ace game this generation, they always seem incomplete. Eternal Sonata on the other hand, written by ex Tri-Ace staff, was awesome, played it through 3 or 4 times.

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

@TTDog Ah, the never ending backlog I hear ya.. the worse part of having a large library is that I end up playing the classics over and over again. Now, your making me have a craving for Star Ocean, why did you have to mention RPGs?!

TTDog
TTDog

@Alkpaz: I used to be, but I realised I had a load of games I hadn't touched for months/years and probably never would again so I got rid via Ebay. Some stuff I could play all day, decent RPG's and the like, with Fallout Vegas and Fable 3 on the way (both ordered, both paid for) the collection is going to start building up again. We don't get that many pawn shops in the UK, plenty of stores will offer trade in but if you wait more than a couple of months the price drops dramatically... so I use Ebay to sell them on, and buy online to get the new stuff... what some people pay for old tat on Ebay is beyond me sometimes. Tales of Vesperia (which I played, hated, but finished anyway) cost me 20 notes in a "deal of the week" offer and sold for 30 notes two months later when I finished it... it only took two months as when I first gave it a spin it bricked my 360 so I had a week to go back and play old Dreamcast stuff while it was fixed. I tend to horde consoles more than games.

Ian-Cognito
Ian-Cognito

@Alkpaz: No good... Coffee is Coffee... Coffee with milk is a "White Coffee" and without milk it's a "Black Coffee"... I couldn't give a rats arse what they want to call it... it's still freaking coffee! Has anyone spotted my pet hate?

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

@Ian-Cognito lol, what if its a frappuccino?

Ian-Cognito
Ian-Cognito

@ecw1983: If it's sold as "Coffee" and not ponced up like "Mocha Grande" or whatever else the 'tards at Starbucks use instead of the word Coffee I'll consider it. I can't stand the sort of place that insists on labelling a Spade a "Dirt moving instrument"... anywhere that calls coffee coffee is worth looking out for.

wo0ter
wo0ter

As far as computers go, my current Computer bought in 2004 has 1 gig of ram. The replacement that I hope to get next year will probably have 2 gigs of ram, and by 2020 the computer I have then may be 3 or 4 gigs. My computer upgrading is more slow and steady compared to others around here.

Mar28jw
Mar28jw

in all honesty my interest in the current console market is really starting to wane,its seems so long since i was genuinely blown away by a videogame and none of the future titles dont look like thier goin to bowl me over either,HaloReach was brill but not what id call mind blowing,the 360 and PS3 have reached thier peak from a technical standpoint in my opinion and move and kinect dont interest me,isnt it about time they started to discuss the next generation of hardware?

ecw1983
ecw1983

@TTdog sigh, it was a rhetorical question. now please... enough If your ever in SA your more than welcome to visit my stores for a cup of coffee

TTDog
TTDog

@ecw1983: But only pay half for the second game, so every subsequent game is effectively half price... for someone who supposedly owns stores your maths/logic seems a little off. $60 for game one, trade in value say $30... so you only pay $30 for the second game... which you then trade in for $30 so you only pay $30 for the third game... simple, easy... cost effective.

ecw1983
ecw1983

@Alkpaz I know where im from our Gamestop type store will give you only 1/10 if your lucky for a poor selling or a one year old title

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

@ecw1983 You get less than that about 1/4 like a pawn shop.. Which is why I KEEP them.. :) Its good to buy from a pawn shop but ugly to sell to one..

ecw1983
ecw1983

@TTDog So you pay double for a console game and when you trade it in you get half your money back ?!

ecw1983
ecw1983

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

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

@TTDog, I'm a collector, good or bad, broken or perfect, I KEEP my games :)

TTDog
TTDog

@Gladestone1:Wow... you've paid for replacement 360's! When mine has gone wrong, twice thus far, I've used this thing called a "warranty" which is where they repair it for free, I've never paid to have a console repaired because it's covered in my "guarantee." I suppose when you're used to paying to have things replaced and fixed it becomes a way of life and you shell out the cash like some dumb sheep... to each their own. I buy a new console each generation, maybe every 5 years, and that's the total cost for 5 years, no hidden extras like replacing things when they go out of date, nothing, nil, zero, etc. Console owners may pay more for a new game but we can trade them in, good luck doing that with a game bought on Steam and downloaded, some stores even refuse to take old PC's games as trade in so any extra cost is offset by trading in... so the old "pay extra for games" argument doesn't really apply beyond the first game either.

TTDog
TTDog

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

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

Geez, you both make me ashamed of being an adult.. :( (regarding ecw1983 and TTDog) Maybe you should both meet after school on the playground?

BigBoss0707
BigBoss0707

24 gigs of ram wont be beneficial for another 10 years

ecw1983
ecw1983

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

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

I also will upgrade my processor when the i7 980x comes down in price in about a year or two, and with that quad cores will become "standard" and I will be ahead of the game and have a 6 core.. like most gamers here will.. you see the point?

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

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

Alkpaz
Alkpaz

And I actually now have 24GB of RAM.. maxed it out, even though it does not have any actual benefit AT THIS TIME

dipsetboy17
dipsetboy17

@alkpaz WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED 15GB OF RAM? i only have 2 and my processor is only 2.80ghz lol.