US game industry shrinks 19% in Oct., NBA 2K10 tops - NPD

Halloween month saw a scary drop to $1.07 billion in non-PC domestic sales; 2K Sports' basketballer barely beats Borderlands, Uncharted 2 in combined sales; Wii beats PS3.


After a flat September, US game industry sales posted a double-digit decline last month, according to figures from the NPD Group. From October 4 to October 31, domestic sales of non-PC game hardware, software, and accessories totaled $1.07 billion, down 19 percent from $1.32 billion during the same period the year prior. Despite the decline, the month was the third-best October recorded by NPD, after October 2007 and October 2008.

"Based on typical industry seasonality, the industry is on track to generate full-year revenues in the range of $20-$21 billion in the US, which would put it just a bit below last year's sales of $21.3 billion," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said, before issuing the following note of caution. "The continued economic turmoil, and in particular the troubling unemployment rate, is undoubtedly impacting industry sales. ... If consumers' personal outlook continues to erode, they could very well be much more conservative with their holiday shopping this year."

NBA 2K10 got the drop on October.
NBA 2K10 got the drop on October.

"Across all categories, the Xbox 360 platform contributed the greatest portion of total industry sales, representing 27 percent of total industry sales for the month," said Frazier, referring to sales of hardware, software, and accessories for each console. "The PS3 was a close second at 26 percent, an 8 point improvement over last October."

Hardware saw the biggest drop, sinking 23 percent to $380.74 million. The top US platform of the month was the newly $199 Wii with 506,900 units sold, followed by the DS with 457,600 units. Some 320,600 PlayStation 3s were sold, followed by the Xbox 360 with 249,700 units and the PSP with 174,600 units. The PlayStation 2, which celebrated its ninth birthday in October, sold 117,800 units.

"Year-to-date, the hardware category has experienced the sharpest decline in the industry, with unit sales down 10 percent compared to the same time period last year," said Frazier. "Recent price cuts helped spur a one- to two-month increase in unit sales, and this month's Wii sales reflect that boost, but the other platforms have not sustained the sales momentum post price reduction."

Borderlands kissed off doubts that the new IP wouldn't sell.
Borderlands kissed off doubts that the new IP wouldn't sell.

On the software chart, the top game SKU was the PS3-exclusive Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which sold 537,000 units. Behind it was the fitness game remix Wii Fit Plus, which sold 441,000 units--half of which NPD said were sales of the $100 Balance Board bundle.

In third place with 418,000 units was the 360 edition of Borderlands, the all-new action-role-playing game IP from 2K Games and Gearbox software. However, when the game's 113,000 PS3 units and 15,000 PC units are included, the game's sales total 546,000 units--enough to barely top Uncharted 2's haul.

Fourth place belonged to Wii Sports Resort, followed by the 360 edition of NBA 2K10--the PS3 version of which landed in seventh place. However, all versions of 2K Sports' basketballer--which was also released for the Wii, PSP, PS2, and PC--combined to sell 575,000 units, making it October's top overall game.

Coming in sixth on NPD's top 10 was September's number-one game, Halo 3: ODST. Another Microsoft-published 360 exclusive, Forza MotorSport 3, landed in eighth place, followed by DS returnee Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Bringing up the rear was FIFA Soccer 10, the only version of EA Sport's soccer series to crack the best-seller list in its debut month.

Nathan Drake probably would have had a wisecrack about Uncharted 2's solid sales.
Nathan Drake probably would have had a wisecrack about Uncharted 2's solid sales.

"The top game for the month across all platforms was NBA 2K10, at 575,000 units," said Frazier. "It was a great launch for the game, outselling last year's NBA 2K9 by 60 percent in its launch month. Sales on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms improved substantially over last year."

Unfortunately, it was the same sad song for the rapidly shrinking rhythm genre. "The music/dance genre saw big declines this month compared to last year," explained Frazier. "The genre generated $53 million in sales as compared to $137 million last year. Both Rock Band: Beatles and Guitar Hero 5 have the potential to be good gifting items for the holidays, so we should expect to see an uptick in sales over the next two months."

Hardware: $380.74 million (-23%)
Software: $572.73 million (-18%)
Accessories: $118.88 million (-2%)
Total Games: $1.07 billion (-19%)

Wii: 506,900
Nintendo DS: 457,600
PlayStation 3: 320,600
Xbox 360: 249,700
PSP: 174,600
PlayStation 2: 117,800

TOP-SELLING SOFTWARE SKUs - OCTOBER 2009 (not combined sales)
Title / Publisher / Units**
1) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) / Sony / 537,000
2) Wii Fit Plus (Wii) / Nintendo / 441,000
3) Borderlands (360) / Take-Two / 418,000
4) Wii Sports Resort w/ Wii Motion Plus (Wii) / Nintendo / 314,000
5) NBA 2K10 (360) / Take-Two / 311,000
6) Halo 3: ODST (360) / Microsoft / 271,000
7) NBA 2K10 (PS3) / Take-Two / 213,000
8) Forza Motorsport 3 (360) / Microsoft / 175,000
9) Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) / Square Enix / 169,000
10) FIFA Soccer 10 (360) / Electronic Arts / 156,000

** = Figures include Collector's Editions and non-hardware bundles.

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Avatar image for thenephariouson

No suprise at the number 1 spot, well deserved, Good to see Borderlands up there, brilliant game, and quite suprised at Forza 3 would have expected a higher sales figure, although it is a niche game as its more of a racing simulation, whereas Uncharted 2 and Borderlands have a wider appeal.

Avatar image for steelmouth

this and good am very disappointed with forza #8) Forza Motorsport 3 @ 175,000 copies I know it was released late in the month but com'on i expected better from first day sales and i blame it all on that stupid MW2 and 1.7 million ppl who bought it ( i figur 3 mill sales would have been just fine and the accesses should have got other games Forza if ya'll dont mind me being biased)

Avatar image for SadPSPAddict

November will jump with Rachet and Clank and MW2!! :)

Avatar image for bm1212

The only people who actually want to buy the nintendo wii are unhealthy lazy people who want to get fit in their own home and not spend a lot of money. That is the only appeal to consumers, getting fit quick without having to leave home. I have many relatives who bought the console years ago to get fit and havent touched it since. Wii is not a real games console it is just a childs toy that gets really old really fast.

Avatar image for capitalthoughts

PS3 has already lost the throne again. Say what you wish about the Wii, but to deny Nintendo's market dominance is fanboyism at it's worst.

Avatar image for king_chapeton15

@KiddCarter93 because the report ended on oct. 30 and r&c came out oct. 27 mso it wouldnt have been fair in sales itll probaly be in the nov. charts

Avatar image for KiddCarter93

no Ratchet and Clank.....

Avatar image for samuelcsmith

I want to know if the PSP numbers include the sales of the PSPGo or did it suck just as bad as everyone was predicting.

Avatar image for dramaybaz

Wii sales increase 19 %...

Avatar image for scarface_dm

Wasnt Gearbox praising PS3 yet they didnt make the top 10 for there game Borderlands, Lol next time watch what you say lol Anyways good for ps3 and good for 360, and buying a wii seems pointless in my opinion, errr dumb casual gamers !!

Avatar image for ayumi_miyazaki

Nintendo, I say doumo arigatoo to you! Thanks for bringing casual gaming to the masses games like wii fit plus and wii sports resort are where its at! So where is wii play 2 and wii music 2??????????????

Avatar image for ayumi_miyazaki

Nintendo, I say doumo arigatoo to you! Thanks for bringing casual gaming to the masses games like wii fit plus and wii sports resort are where its at! So where is wii play 2 at

Avatar image for artson1966

@ supabal... mmmm let's see maybe cus where in a reccession the last time I heard...with the un employment rate at 10.2% thats a lot of families without extra cash to spend on $60.00 games Don't you think? Was kinda a poor choice of a question....But if you have money to blow then maybe you can purchase some games and donate them Santa cop.... I had to take a pay cut to keep my job as many others I know, but I am grateful to still have a good job, but as much as I love games they are on the bottom of my needs...

Avatar image for werruraz

PC sales would be huge if they counted digital downloads, ever since i got Steam most of my PC games have been bought from there including Borderlands. Also typical Gamespot biased crap "Wii beats PS3" Hmm lets look at the figures: Wii: 506,900, PlayStation 3: 320,600, Xbox 360: 249,700. If thats the case then Wii "beats" 360 even harder then PS3.

Avatar image for TheLemonGelati

Well.. I'm doing my part, we have 3 PS3's, 3 Wii's and an Xbox 360. Most people will start gaming if shown the appropriate title, I got my sister into gaming with Professor Layton & Ratchet & Clank and now she has her own DS, PS3 and Wii.

Avatar image for Supabul

Do any of the 50 million gamers out there buy much games because I really don't know why most games aren't selling in the millions

Avatar image for tmthywtsn

It's good to know at least the Wii isn't completely a dust bunny yet.

Avatar image for duke-nukem11

117k ps2's? buy a ps3 you cheap b-stards

Avatar image for com_serve


Avatar image for HyruleanLink

It is battle of the software now for the consoles.

Avatar image for kejigoto

What were people saying about the Wii sales stalling? Also Microsoft owned 5 spots on the top ten list, with Nintendo commanding 3 and Sony getting the other 2. And for everyone spelling doom and gloom for Microsoft remember this. Microsoft is in the lead. Sony only outsold them by 70,900 units overall. For every PS3 Slim Sony sells, they lose money which they plan to make up in software sales. Besides Uncharted 2, where is Sony at on this one?

Avatar image for halojp23

ps3 is gaining ground on the xbox xbox needs something to do to make sure they beat the ps3

Avatar image for JDWolfie

It's not the hardware that makes the console, it's the games that makes a console and Microsoft clearly proves that. One pathetic Wii game up there that isn't sold with a console/controller.

Avatar image for enoslives7

Sony is owning microsoft.....they better drop the xbox down to 49.99 to keep up............LMAO

Avatar image for maverick_76

I thought Forza would do better than that. They better get something going because GT5 will own those numbers. I'm also surprised that NBA 2K10 did so well. Basketball games on the next gen systems have not been very good IMO, at least compared to MLB: The Show series and NHL games.

Avatar image for Elsan

This is horribly stupid and inaccurate. It doesn't even count digital sales.

Avatar image for ngnikolaos312

Every time I read a story like the above, I want to laugh at the industry guy who went and said that "video games will not be affected by the recession". I mean, studios closed down, EA, Sony and Microsoft fire staff like there's no tomorrow, titles get canned ... yeah, video games weren't affected at all.

Avatar image for Blitzman

Well I did my part. I've bought 7 games in the last 2 months. Hoo-rah.

Avatar image for bloodyrooster

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

Avatar image for Remora133

its funny because even though sales dropped in oct, they were all made up in nov with games like modern warfare and assassins creed 2

Avatar image for Ghoulish_Visage

@ omarsh94 It really saddens me to see how much PC gaming has shrunk (Not counting WoW). And many devs are shying away because of pirating, I religiously buy my PC games new, not even purchasing second hand ones, whilst it does not make a difference if one person does this, if pc "gamers" who pirate and download new games just had to open their eyes and see how much they were actually harming their own hobby devs may actually start releasing games for pc again without absurd piracy protection. The only reason I got a console is because of how devs are shying away from my platform of choice.

Avatar image for VengenceZero

Glad to see NBA2k finally getting the sales it long deserved, and congrats to Drake. An excellent game and even better looking. But next month we all know MW2 will be something terrible lol

Avatar image for metalkid9

@omarsh94, It's called Steam

Avatar image for omarsh94

Borderlands for 360 : 418,000 Borderlands for PC : 15,000 i really don't know what to say...

Avatar image for gamecubepad

Sad about the FM3 sales, but it released late in the month so who knows. Checked out how it tracked on vgchartz*ducks bullets* and found that it's tracking about the same as FM2(sold 4 mil.) for the first few weeks. That's good. I know they've got at least one more sale in the bag. Good to see the Wii back in the no. 1 spot. PS3 beat the 360 by about 70k, so if worldwide they push 200k more than the 360 each month it should only take them about 3yrs to pass the 360. But the world will end before that, right?

Avatar image for Ottozero

Too bad I'm not into Sports games that much, or I might've purchased NBA2k , but I guess MW2 will have to do :-)

Avatar image for bsnimunf

You cannot compare month by month sales in the Game industry. People were probably saving their money for MW2 and dragon Age

Avatar image for buzzguy

Really happy to see Borderlands up there!

Avatar image for Roombelina

*sigh* People are just too cheap these days.

Avatar image for Yuck_Too

lol...people who talk about "saturation points" make me know when a console hits that magic "saturation point"?'ll know when the Wii stops selling cause then everyone will have one and that means the market is saturated...until then there is room to grow.

Avatar image for cspiffo

@DontEatCream: Those numbers don't include direct download sales from services like steam. There are plenty of people who still play PC games. I have to say that these numbers are very disappointing. Brutal Legend didn't even chart. Uncharted 2 failed to move any consoles. I'm really worried about the PS3 now. It simply does not move software! It fascinates me that a simple $50 price reduction for the Wii can increase sell through of that system so greatly. It Looks like it's going to be another Wii Christmas.

Avatar image for Sins-of-Mosin

@Kleeyook - Don't blame a dev for how badly the PS3 is to work with. Factor in the small return compared with the 360 and you be lucky you get any third party games at all. Go watch a movie, thats what the PS3 is mostly sold for.

Avatar image for HazyNimbus

@ItsBriskBaby The top selling games were at the $60 price mark (or more depending on Wii Fit Plus with the board or not), poor sales or not. I don't think that $10 is making or breaking the industry - you may need to look elsewhere for the problem.

Avatar image for wwf20112

Uncharted sales are not as big as I thought they would be.

Avatar image for kratos_marcus

how are uncharted 2's sales solid?? its sales are really disappointing .!!

Avatar image for DontEatCream

Man, people only bought 15K units of Borderlands on the PC? Do people even play PC games anymore?

Avatar image for Inconnux

I could never understand playing sports video games... why not get off the couch and do the real thing??? oh well... I knew the Wii would rebound with a price cut and the PS3 seems to be selling pretty well now. I still believe that the #1 reason for falling sales is the price increase. Unfortunately all those people who rushed out and bought MW2 at the increased price will only encourage companies to stick with the price increase.

Avatar image for sprinter6

Funny how none of this really matters. Hello? Modern Warfare 2 just dropped, and it's almost the holiday season. Stuff is going to be selling big soon. Guess only people taking a real hit are the Wii uses :-X

Avatar image for PixelAddict

How in the world is the DS still selling a half a million units per month...?

Avatar image for rohail88