US game sales slip 10%, Madden NFL 11 top dog in August - NPD

Double-digit declines return to the US game industry in a month dominated by EA Sports' football sim; Mafia II has disappointing debut, Xbox 360 top platform for second month in a row.

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After months of larger-than-expected year-over-year sales declines, the US game industry got a reprieve of sorts in July, which saw revenues slip just 1 percent. Unfortunately, that reprieve ended in August, according to figures released by the NPD Group today.

According to the industry research firm, overall US non-PC retail game sales slipped 10 percent during the month to $818.9 million. Hardware slipped 5 percent to $282.9 million, software dropped 14 percent to $403.5 million, and accessories fell 6 percent to $132.4 million.

Madden 11 left the retail sales field tired but triumphant.
Madden 11 left the retail sales field tired but triumphant.

In the hardware race, the winner was once again the Xbox 360, topping the chart for an unprecedented second month in a row. Thanks to the introduction of the $200 4GB Xbox 360 two months after its $300 250GB sibling hit the market, Microsoft sold 356,000 units of its console to domestic customers.

"With Halo: Reach coming to market next week, if hardware sales react in a similar fashion to what was experienced when Halo 3 was launched in September 2007, September could be a huge sales month for Xbox 360 hardware," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

In second was the once perennial top platform, Nintendo's DS, with 342,700 units. Third place went to the Wii with 244,300 units--barely beating the 226,000 PlayStation 3s Sony sold during the month. Frazier noted that the PS3 has now had 13 months of consecutive sales growth, which began in earnest following the introduction of the $300 PS3 slim last August.

Once again, lagging far behind was the PSP, selling a mere 79,000 units during the month for last place.

To nobody's surprise, Madden NFL was the month's top game, selling 920,800 units on the Xbox 360 and 893,600 units on the PS3--a nearly even split. The PSP and Wii editions did not make NPD's top 10 chart.

In third place was Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy 2, selling a comparatively modest 124,600 units. The Xbox 360 version of Take-Two's well-reviewed Mafia II saw a disappointing debut of just 121,600 units, which was good enough for fourth place. The PlayStation 3 edition of the well-reviewed 2K Czech-developed mobster simulator landed in seventh place, but NPD only releases figures for the top five games of each month.

In fifth with 110,400 units was New Super Mario Bros. for the DS, which has been a recurring guest star on NPD's top 10 despite being over four years old. Sixth place belonged to another catalog Nintendo title featuring bounding plumbers, New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii.

Eighth place went to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for the Xbox 360, while the 360 version of NCAA Football 11 tackled ninth place. In 10th was Wii Fit Plus, the revamped version of Nintendo's ever-popular fitness trainer.

Year to date, non-PC US retail game sales total some $8.37 billion, down 8 percent from the first eight months of 2009. Hardware sales are down 12 percent to $2.71 billion, while software sales have slipped 8 percent to $4.32 billion. By contrast, accessory sales are actually up 4 percent to $1.34 billion.

AUGUST 2010 US GAME SALES

OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Games: $818.9 million (-10%)
Hardware: $282.9 million (-5%)
Software: $403.5 million (-14%)
Accessories: $132.4 million (-6%)

HARDWARE SALES
Xbox 360: 356,700
DS: 342,700
Wii: 244,300
PlayStation 3: 226,000
PSP: 79,400

TOP 10 GAMES
Title / Platform / Publisher / Release Date / Units sold
1. Madden NFL 11 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Aug-10 / 920,800
2. Madden NFL 11 / PS3/ Electronic Arts / Aug-10 / 893,600
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 / Wii / Nintendo / May-10 / 124,600
4. Mafia II / 360 / Take-Two / Aug-10 / 121,600
5. New Super Mario Bros. / DS / Nintendo / May-06 / 110,400
6. New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Wii / Nintendo / Nov-09
7. Mafia II / PS3 / Take-Two / Aug-10
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / 360 / Activision / Nov-09
9. NCAA Football 11 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Jul-10
10. Wii Fit Plus / Wii / Nintendo / Oct-09

Source: The NPD Group

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