The video game industry continues its sales slump as consumers cut back on purchases of hardware, software and accessories.
Lower console prices and hotly anticipated titles
couldn't save the video game industry from experiencing another drop in sales
as the apex of the holiday shopping season grows near: Sales slid 7.6 percent
in November, to $2.7 billion, for a year-to-date total of $14.1 billion, down
12 percent from the same period last year.
Hardware sales for the month totaled $1.05 billion,
down 13.4 percent from November 2008, while video game software sales suffered
a less precipitous drop, falling 3.1 percent to $1.4 billion. Sales of video
game accessories fell 5.5 percent, to $242.2 million.
Nintendo claimed the top two spots for console
sales, selling 1.7 million units of the company's portable DS player and 1.26
million of the motion-sensitive Wii console, which recently saw a price cut.
Rival consoles Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 followed, with sales
of 819,500 and 710,400 units, respectively. The Sony PlayStation Portable, or
PSP, was fourth, with nearly 294,000 units sold, while the decade-old
PlayStation 2 rounded out the top five with 203,100 units sold.
NPD analyst Anita Frazier said while all hardware
systems realized an increase over October, one would expect that from
seasonality alone. She singled out praise for the PlayStation 2, which after
109 months on the market is still experiencing healthy sales. Sony's pricey PS3
console also saw its greatest increase over last year's November sales and had
its third best month in unit sales ever, trailing only Decembers 2007 and 2008.
"While there has been a lot of focus on Wii
sales as compared to last year, the system was still the best-selling console
system by a margin of 54 percent. At this same point in the PS2 lifecycle, the
PS2 was down in unit sales by 23 percent over the previous year, but as history
has shown, it continues to have a great deal of life left in it," Frazier said.
"So focusing on a comparison to Wii's stellar 2008 performance masks the
reality of just how well this system is selling."
Frazier said that, while the industry declined more
than 7 percent versus last November, it is important to note what an
extraordinary year 2008 was for the video game industry. "The industry still
produced enough revenue to make this month the second-best November in industry
history," she said. "[Year-to-date] the industry is still up 7 percent over
2007. I think we all have to realize the incredible year that was 2008."
On the software side, Activision's "Call of Duty:
Modern Warfare 2" held the top two spots-on the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms,
respectively. On the Xbox, the title sold 4.2 million units, while on the PS3
1.87 million copies were sold. Nintendo's new side-scrolling "Super Mario
Bros." title moved 1.39 million units, good for a third-place finish. Overall,
Nintendo claimed four positions in software sales for November. "While this year's top-selling item bested last
year's by 283 percent, it couldn't make up for softness elsewhere," Frazier
said. "The top 50 games this year sold 5 percent less units than did the top 50