Sales of the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii consoles all saw steep declines for the month of July, NPD Group reports. Industry sales overall dropped 24 percent compared with the same period in 2008, to $848 million, according to NPD Group.
Long touted as one of the most recession-proof markets, the video game
industry is currently feeling the continued effects of the economic downturn.
Market research company NPD Group issued a depressing report in July concerning
steep June video game sales declines,
then announced that sales dropped even more
dramatically in July, falling below even the pessimistic estimates of industry
The NPD Group said video games sales
followed a now five-month long decline in industry figures, with
sales falling 24 percent from the same period in 2008, to $848.8 million. NPD
analyst Anita Frazier cautioned in a statement that although year-to-date
results are weak, there are some major titles set for release over the next
several months, including the popular NFL football title "Madden" in
August, which are likely to give the industry a much-needed boost in sales.
NPD also said sales of gaming systems and consoles fell to $280.9 million,
representing a 37 percent drop from the same period last year. Wedbush Morgan
Securities analyst Michael Pachter told the AP the numbers were worse than he
had predicted, though he too felt the industry was poised for a turnaround-if
the console makers can entice consumers. "We need hardware to turn around
or the industry is going to be in trouble," Pachter told the news agency.
While the numbers were dismal, Nintendo
once again managed to stay on top of
the competition: The gaming company's handheld DS player, which retails for
around $130, sold 538,900 units. Nintendo's popular console system, the motion
control-based Wii, was the second-best-selling gaming device in July, racking
up 252,500 sales. The Wii led sales in June, moving 362,000 units and holding
onto its spot as the best-selling console for the 21st
consecutive month. The third best-selling device was Microsoft's Xbox 360,
which sold 202,900 units, down from 240,600 in June. Sony's pricey PlayStation
3 console/Blu-ray player saw sales decline steeply to 121,800 units, down from
164,700 units in June.
Software sales also dropped sharply to $437 million, a 26 percent drop
compared with the same period last year. Once again, Nintendo led software sales
with its "Wii Sports Resort" title and bookending the top five
best-selling games with "Mario Kart," originally released in April
2008. Frazier suggested that several titles, including a Beatles version of the
popular music game "Rock Band" and a new chapter in Microsoft's
"Halo" saga, should result in a more stable industry ecosystem.
As noted, NPD Group had reported a steep drop in hardware
and software sales in the month of June, the worst year-over-year monthly
decline since September 2000. According to NPD Group, video game software and
hardware sales in the United States
plunged $1.17 billion, or 31 percent, in June. Hardware sales fell 38 percent
to $382.6 million, while software sales dropped 29 percent to $625.8 million.
Video game accessory sales also declined by 22 percent in June.