NPD stats see July sales slip

[UPDATE} Year-on-year game sales are off 9 percent, while full-year sales through July run 10 percent above last year.


Analysts have checked in on console sales figures released by sales trackers The NPD Group.

While July sales of software dipped about 9 percent compared to last year's July, the first seven months of this year have seen software sales tracking 10 percent above sales last year for the same period. Year-to-date software sales total $2.68 billion, compared to the 2004 tally at this time of $2.43 billion.

NCAA Football 06 was the top-selling game in July, with just over 943,000 units sold (610,803 PS2 units, 332,478 units sold on Xbox, according to NPD). EA sell-through was up 9 percent in July "on top of a tough 33 percent comp," said Shawn Milne of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey. EA increased its market share from 16.8 percent to 26.8 percent sequentially.

Milne added, "ATVI sell-through declined 50 percent against a +365 percent comp (Spider-Man 2). THQ was up 55 percent on solid sales of Destroy All Humans!. TTWO sell-through declined 12 percent, following GTA: San Andreas being pulled from shelves on July 20."

Also according to FBR, Xbox game sales were off 8 percent compared to July, 2004; PlayStation software sales were down 18 percent; and GameCube game sales were off 32 percent. On the hardware front, PS2 unit sales sank by 14 percent, Xbox sales were off 34 percent, and GameCube unit sales declined 47 percent. The overall decline in unit sales of 7 percent in July makes for two consecutive months of declining hardware sales.

In spite of GTA: San Andreas having been pulled from most store shelves (as a result of the Adults Only rerating of the game), Take-Two shares climbed to 7.3 percent, up sequentially from a 4.5 percent share in June, according to Thomas Weisel Partners.

Mike Wallace of UBS summed up the month, saying, "We believe tough comps for the rest of 2H'05 and further Xbox weakness could impact sales for the year. However, if hardware sales for the rest of CY05 come in as expected, and if software pricing remains steady, we think we could see marginal growth in industry software sales this year."

In terms of the financial market's reaction to July sales, Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan doesn't see the data causing concern, as investors were already girding for a decline in overall revenues.

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