October software rebounds on NBA 2K11 - NPD

2K Sports' annual basketball sim boosts software sales to positive gains, but overall industry sales slip 4% to $1.07B; Fallout: New Vegas on 360 top software SKU with 692,000.

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2010's game industry sales contractions have officially carried over into October. Today, the NPD Group released its October 2010 US retail sales report, and the results show a 4 percent year-over-year decline in total industry sales. New console, portable, and PC game sales combined with hardware and accessory sales to bring in $1.07 billion.

Jordan shoots! He scores!
Jordan shoots! He scores!

October's declines can primarily be attributed to a substantial shrinkage in the console and handheld market. Though NPD no longer issues unit sales figures, the industry stat-tracking firm did say that console and handheld hardware sales contracted 26 percent during the month to $280 million. According to NPD, the DS topped the hardware sales chart during the month, but the Xbox 360 was the only system to grow its sales over last October.

As of press time, Microsoft is the only hardware manufacturer to promote its system's performance during the month, saying the Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in October with 325,000 consoles sold. The software giant noted that the Xbox 360 is now officially the best-selling console in the US thus far in 2010, having sold 3.5 million units to date. (The handheld DS remains the best-selling hardware in 2010.)

The software side of the story could be considered a happier one, even if October's figures fell well shy of analysts rosy growth projections. New console and hardware sales accounted for $605 million of the month's total, a 6 percent rise from last year.

Capitalizing on EA Sports' decision to bench NBA Elite 11, 2K Sports took home the sales crown for top-selling multiplatform title in October with NBA 2K11. In fact, sports titles proved to be the most popular genre on the chart, with FIFA Soccer 11, Madden NFL 11, and WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 securing the eighth, ninth, and 10th slots.

Bethesda Softworks has already touted Fallout: New Vegas' 5 million-units-shipped milestone, and NPD also declared the game a sales winner. Achieving second place on the multiplatform chart, New Vegas also boasted the top-selling single SKU title during the month, with the Xbox 360 version selling 679,000 units, according to NPD.

EA's Medal of Honor was the third best-selling game during the month, followed by fellow October releases of Fable III (fourth), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (fifth), and Just Dance 2 (seventh). Rounding out the list was September's chart-topper, Halo: Reach, for the Xbox 360.

The dramatic rise and fall of the rhythm game genre has played a large role in the continued year-over-year US game industry sales declines. As such, NPD specifically called out the performance of this year's biggest new entry in the genre, Rock Band 3.

"Rock Band 3 was the 15th best-selling game at the title level (across platforms) for the month of October," commented NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "Note that this title was launched on Oct. 26, which only represents a few days in our October sales data. Based on solid reviews, this game has the potential to perform well over the holidays."

OCTOBER 2010 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total: $1.07 billion (-4%)
Non-PC total: $1.03 billion (-4%)
Non-PC hardware: $280 million (-26%)
Non-PC software: $605 million (+6%)
Accessories: $142 million (+18%)

TOP 10 GAMES
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, PSP, WII, PC) - 2K Sports
2. Fallout: New Vegas (360, PS3, PC) - Bethesda Softworks
3. Medal of Honor (360, PS3, PC) - Electronic Arts
4. Fable III (360) - Microsoft
5. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (360, PS3, WII, PC, DS) - LucasArts
6. Halo: Reach (360) - Microsoft
7. Just Dance 2 (WII) - Ubisoft
8. FIFA Soccer 11 (PS3, 360, WII, PS2, PSP, DS, PC) - Electronic Arts
9. Madden NFL 11 (360, PS3, WII, PS2, PSP) - Electronic Arts
10. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 (PS3, 360, PS2, WII, PSP) - THQ

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