NPD: July game-industry sales soar 37 percent

PlayStation 3 doesn't beat 360, and Wii tops DS; NCAA, Guitar Hero Encore, Wii Play top software side.

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On Tuesday, the NPD Group released its July sales figures for Canada. As some analysts predicted, the industry-research group reported that, following its $100 price cut (while supplies last), the 60GB PlayStation 3 outsold the Xbox 360 for the first time ever. Both devices, though, were roundly bested by Nintendo's Wii, which, despite a still-constrained supply, continues to be the best-selling console. As has been the case for well over a year, the top non-PC gaming platform was the Nintendo DS handheld.

Today, NPD revealed its July sales figures for the next-most-southern country in the Western hemisphere, the United States. There, the story was different, with the 360 staving off the PS3 with 170,000 to 159,000 units sold, respectively. Both were outpaced by the DS's 405,000 units, which was in turn eclipsed by the Wii's 425,000 units. NPD also reported that 222,000 PlayStation 2s, 214,000 PlayStation Portables, and 87,000 Game Boy Advances were sold during the month. (GameCube and original Xbox sales figures are no longer reported.)

Overall, the game industry raked in an impressive $925.5 million during July, a 37 percent increase over the same period in 2006. Hardware sales surged 77 percent year over year, racking up $380.8 million in sales. Accessories were also way up, rising 51 percent annually to $125.4 million. Software was also in the ascendant, climbing 11 percent to $419.9 million.

"Despite the summer slowdown, the [game] industry still realized nearly $1 billion in sales for the month, and year-to-date is up nearly 43 percent from the same time period in 2006," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "At this pace, the industry is on track to ring up $16-$18 billion for the year." Should that sales milestone come to pass, it would be a new record for the games business in the US.

As far as specific software titles go, the month's biggest game was NCAA Football 08 from Electronic Arts. The Xbox 360 version of the game was the month's best-selling game, selling 397,000 units, followed by the PlayStation 2 edition (fourth, with 236,000 units), and the PlayStation 3 edition (sixth, with 156,000 units).

EA archrival Activision also had a strong showing in July, with Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s being July's second-most popular game, at 339,000 units. Riding the wave of popularity that buoyed its film source to the top of the box office, Transformers overcame middling reviews to sell 143,000 copies on the PS2 (eighth), followed by the still-strong PS2 (ninth) and 360 (10th) editions of Guitar Hero II.

The rest of the top 10 software party were all first-party. More specifically, they were all Nintendo. The Wii Play and Wii Remote bundle was July's third-best-selling game, with 278,000 units, with Mario Party 8 coming in fifth with 117,000 units, and Pokémon Diamond for the DS securing seventh place with 144,000 units. A full list of July's top 10 software titles is below.

1) NCAA Football 08 - Xbox 360 - Electronic Arts - 397,000
2) Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s - PS2 - Activision - 339,000
3) Wii Play (with Wii Remote) - Wii - Nintendo - 278,000
4) NCAA Football 08 - PS2 - Electronic Arts - 236,000
5) Wii Mario Party 8 - Wii - Nintendo - 177,000
6) NCAA Football 08 - PS3 - Electronic Arts - 156,000
7) Pokémon Diamond Version - DS - Nintendo- 144,000
8) Transformers: The Game - PS2 - Activision - 143,000
9) Guitar Hero II (with guitar) - PS2 - Activision - 138,000
10) Guitar Hero II (with guitar) - Xbox 360 - Activision - 108,000

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