July game sales the lowest in years

NCAA Football tops the charts as the NPD Group reports last month's US retail tally was 20 percent lower than the previous July's, which was already the industry's lowest total since 2006.


The gaming industry's summer swoon was deeper than usual this year, as the NPD Group today reported that total US retail game sales for July only amounted to $548.4 million, a 20 percent slide from July 2011. Making the decline worse is the fact that July 2011 was already the single worst month for the industry since October of 2006.

NCAA Football 13: Valedictorian of gaming's summer school.
NCAA Football 13: Valedictorian of gaming's summer school.

Electronic Arts' annualized amateur pigskin sim NCAA Football 13 was the best seller for the month, and was the only new release to make the top 10. Super hero games performed well, with Lego Batman 2 the runner-up and the movie tie-in The Amazing Spider-Man finishing the month in third place. With one exception, the remaining games on the top 10 were all released in 2011. That exception was Call of Duty: Black Ops, Activision's 2010 entry in the first-person shooter series.

Game hardware sales were particularly soft side, down 32 percent to $150.7 million. While there wasn't much to crow about, Microsoft did announce that the Xbox 360 was the best-selling current-generation console for the 19th straight month, selling 203,000 units for July.

Accessories were the lone area of improvement for the industry, up 8 percent to $136.9 million. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, that number was bolstered by points and subscription cards, as well as Skylanders action figure packs. The NPD Group believes more than 25 million Skylanders figures have been purchased by customers since the game launched last October.

Frazier also cautioned anyone against expecting a miracle recovery for the industry in the back half of the year. "Based on year to date sales, and taking into account the release slate for the back five months of the year as well as the anticipated launch of the Wii U, annual sales for the new physical channel should come in around $14.5 billion for the year," Frazier said. That would represent a drop of nearly 15 percent from the NPD Group's 2011 US retail sales total of $17.02 billion.

Total consumer spend (rentals, used sales, digital estimates included): $1.1 billion
Total retail sales: $548.4 million (-20%)
Non-PC hardware: $150.7 million (-32%)
Non-PC software: $260.7 million (-23%)
Total software: $278.2 million (-23%)
Accessories: $136.9 million (+8%)

Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. NCAA Football 13 (X360, PS3) - Electronic Arts
2. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (X360, PS3, Wii, Vita, 3DS, DS, PC) - WBIE
3. The Amazing Spider-Man (Wii, X360, PS3, 3DS, DS) - Activision
4. Just Dance 3 (Wii, X360, PS3) - Ubisoft
5. Batman: Arkham City (X360, PS3, PC) - WBIE
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (X360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS, PC) - Activision
7. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (X360, PS3, PC) - Ubisoft
8. NBA 2K12 (X360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, PC) - Take-Two
9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, PS3, Wii, PC) - Activision
10. Dead Island (X360, PS3, PC) - Deep Silver

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Avatar image for Arsyad00

they still make millionth..

Avatar image for 00LiteYear

During July, i think I was still playing Diablo 3. Lol.

Point is, Replay value is a factor when it comes to game purchases. When it came to Fighting games, Super Smash Bros Brawl was so entertaining that I didn't buy another fighting game until three years later.

Avatar image for Threesixtyci

These things don't include digital sales. And never include Steam.... And ARMAII as been in the top 3 on Steam for a few months now. and no where on that list....

Avatar image for jakesnakeel

@Threesixtyci I think that the article states that digital sales are included in the numbers.. " (rentals, used sales, digital estimates included)"

Avatar image for enoslives7

Bottom line, 60.00 plus tax is too damn much for a game!!! I hope new game sales tank until the greedy corporations come to their senses and drop new games below the 50.00 mark.

Avatar image for DrKill09


Avatar image for videlsports

Im a sports gamer most of the time and I like RPG's and fighting Games. Usually they Save the Big hitters for the fall so until they change that around, the sales will only continue to fall

Avatar image for OhJayDubya

Been an overall slow year from what I have noticed. Hopefully next year with the release of a new console sales will pick up around the board for everyone.

Avatar image for redluigi11

not lot alot of good game ive been mostly playing blacklight and LoL

Avatar image for David_Kniffin

That's what they get for only putting out Triple A titles in November. Show the other months some love and you'll get some love back.

Avatar image for NoDzombie

well if there is nothing released then there is nothing for people to buy

Avatar image for edant79

.....Guild Wars2.........it comes out in august....that's my excuse.

Avatar image for BlueLightning21

2012 games that i remember that have come out....Max Payne 3...thats the only game i remember for some reason didnt even play/buy it. Guess its because ive been playing 2011, 2010 games, or maybe CAUSE THERE HASNT BEEN ANYTHING GOOD!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for redskinStu

I'd buy a game, if there was anything worth buying.

Avatar image for thom_maytees

I just wish that GameSpot uses NPD, as I did not know what kind of game sales information is in this article.

Avatar image for Jebril

Spelunky was the best game to come out this month. Everything else sucked.

Avatar image for Justinps2hero

Didn't buy, in fact didn't even consider buying any games in July. A poor month, the magazines were rubbish as well.

Avatar image for blackace

I don't think I bought new games in July. What the hell was released in July?

Avatar image for decoy1978

Its been a rough year for me personally. I have to cut back on my gaming funds because of the economy. I wish I could support all these companies, but my responsibilities lie with taking care of my family first. At most I can buy 1 game every 2 to 3 months.

Its not that these games are bad, quite the opposite! But my generation of gamers simply can't afford to invest in a new game every two weeks.

Avatar image for Jebril

@decoy1978 You don't have to support anyone other than your family first and foremost dude. Especially not companies, even most indie developers are richer than the average joe. Have you seen the rigs these 'indie' devs have? Those things are at least 4K rigs.

Avatar image for sladakrobot

The july/summer fits perfect for GOTY's or such.Noir with all DLC's,Fable 3 with all DLC's,Reach with all DLC's to name few ...and add all possible games i forgot of your favorite game system here too.

Avatar image for jsmoke03

that sucks....i hope these publishers and devs are getting the point about the industry

Avatar image for blackothh

the only thing worth getting that was released in july was orcs must die 2

Avatar image for mr_squibble

I spent July catchig up on stuff that I hadn't played yet and picking up some niche titles and sale deals. I ordered some great stuff on sale from Amazon like Akai Katana as well as picked up some cheap stuff at Best Buy, including Xbox 360 Just Dance 3 for $10, XBOX 360 Assassin's Creed Revelations for $10, and 3DS Pilotwings Resort for $5. Otherwise, I purchased a couple of newer low-production-run PSP games like Kenka Bancho, Gungnir and Growlanser. July was a much higher than normal video game purchasing month for me!

I wonder at what magnitude digital sales are affecting retail sales? I wish NPD would give us a breakout.

Avatar image for ACWH

Not surprising since there was f*** all to buy apart from FPS and RPG games.

Avatar image for Mayleene

WOW! This is soooo surprising. NOT!

Avatar image for yboucher

Again, why are you guys reporting this without referring to the fact that NPD doesn't track digital sales?? In fact you even go as far as to say "the game industry", when really, NPD strictly tracks physical sales, which we ALL know are in decline (against sharply rising digital sales).

Avatar image for blackace


Sales are in decline across the board, including digital sales as well. Digital sales are on ALL platforms, include 3DS, PSVita, PS3, XBox 360, IPad, etc..

Avatar image for yboucher

@blackace erm, yeah, exactly. You're telling me sales on ipad are not on the rise? ^o)

Avatar image for coolhady13

everybody is waiting for august :D

Avatar image for steelmouth

"While there wasn't much to crow about, Microsoft did . . . " now that was funny

Avatar image for steelmouth

Dead Island???

Avatar image for Jigen32

@steelmouth Yeah I bought Dead Island GOTY in July.

Avatar image for Carpetfluff

@steelmouth GOTY edition at budget price in a clear release window = win.

Avatar image for steelmouth


Avatar image for KamuiFei

Might have something to do with nothing worth getting last month. Most of those games came out last year, and half of that is likely the Steam summer sale.

Avatar image for KamuiFei

Edit: I forget, digital sales aren't recorded -_-; Curse you, nonexistent edit button.

Avatar image for Anigmar

@KamuiFei Totally agree, not a single big game in July. Funny enough I bought 5 games on Steam during the summer sale for just 40 euros. And I know lots of people who bought 3-4 times more. Add all that and wasn't such bad sales. Still I prefer retail for my "big titles".

Avatar image for Qirexian

@KamuiFei Still, I agree with the first part of your assessment. July wasn't a month of great releases.

Avatar image for superkadeemx

thats the top 10 and game sales are low? HOLY ****!

Avatar image for svaubel

Really wish NPD would stop being lazy and post the numbers each of the top 10 games and all the consoles sold. It cant be that hard to regurgitate the numbers they use to make stuff like this in the first place.

Avatar image for steelmouth

@svaubel Sony had them stop doing that because it reflected badly on PS3 and shareholders where not impressed

Avatar image for Spartan_418

Sort of wonder why the summer gaming drought still happens each year. Publishers should realize that people play games throughout the year, sometimes even more during the summer since that's when most students are out of school. Maybe they're all still afraid of Madden or something?

Avatar image for Landsharkk

None of this is really that surprising.

Consoles in general have really taken off since their release 6 or 7 years ago (which explains why July 2006 was a slow year, current gen consoles were just getting started). And now, nearing the end of the console life-cycle, it'd be really odd to see sales anywhere close to what they have been. With just over a year away from the next gen, I don't expect everyone to go out and spend much on new games/consoles today.

Any analyst with half a brain could predict low sales at this late in the current console generation and could also predict the next 12 months of sales. Hint: They are going to continue to decline.

Let's revisit this topic after E3 2013 and the months leading up to the end of 2013 (holiday season). You'll see a sharp drop in sales after E3 (presumably the announcement of next gen consoles) and then a HUGE spike in console sales when they release (holiday season at the end of 2013), followed by a slight lull while we wait for the AAA titles to catch-up/release on the next gen. I'd say about mid to late 2014 is when the overall console and game sales will start their gradual rise to record sales numbers again.

Yes, you can quote me on that.

Avatar image for bad_fur_day

Maybe thats because they all frickin suck, lol.

Who the hells in charge anyway.

Avatar image for TrueGB

Nothing came out last month. What was there? 5 games for the 360 total?

Surprised to see Dead Island make a top 10 nearly a year later.

Avatar image for darius_danze

@TrueGB I'm going to guess that had something to do with the steam summer sale.

Avatar image for fsunolez75

How is it still surprising to these industry people that no big game releases yield low sales? That's like being surprised that your car ran out of gas because you never fill it up.

What I don't understand is why no big games ever come out in summer. Movies do great in summer because grade and secondary schools are out. I'd bet if big titles got released during summer, they'd sell.

Avatar image for LusterSoldierGS

@fsunolez75 I blame E3 for the lack of big games coming out in the summer. Generally, if a game company chooses not to release a big name game before E3, they'll wait until E3 to reveal more information about the game so the game can be released near the end of the year.

Also, big games tend to be released around October/November so they can benefit from huge sales because of Christmas and other holidays. That sets up a very prime opportunity to use E3 as a means of hyping up the game by revealing more information about the game and showing game play trailers.

Avatar image for mariokart64fan

wow ms boosting about its sales, to bad world wide ps3 is outselling it as is 3ds lol and wii not to far behind lol and wii still leads overall by a hefty margin lol

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