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NPD: Industry Emerges From Year-On-Year Declines With Slight Growth
NPD: Industry Emerges From Year-On-Year Declines With Slight Growth
October 19, 2009 | By Chris Remo

October 19, 2009 | By Chris Remo
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As many analysts predicted, September was the month when the United States' retail console video game industry pulled itself out of its ongoing monthly year-over-year revenue declines.

Still, despite predictions of growth, the industry essentially stayed flat, with revenues rising only one percent (from $1.27 to $1.28 billion) compared to September 2008.

What growth there is is due to retail game software, which rose five percent to $649.32 million, and Bungie's Halo 3: ODST was at the top of that heap with 1.5 million units sold. Hardware fared worse, down six percent to $472.78 million from last September -- but up considerably from last month, thanks to price cuts.

Hardware Sales

The ranking of consoles by unit sales this month was similar to last month, with one major exception: the PlayStation 3 jumped up to second place, approaching the sales volume of the Nintendo DS, which in the five-week month of September actually saw a 24 percent drop in per-week units from August.

Nintendo DS: 524,200
PlayStation 3: 491,800
Wii: 462,800
Xbox 360: 352,600
PlayStation Portable: 190,400
PlayStation 2: 146,000

The home consoles all saw considerable benefit from their recent price cuts. As Frazier wrote, "The PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 realized an increase over August of 87 percent, 33 percent, and 31 percent respectively, on an average sales per week basis, keeping in mind September was a 5-week month compared to 4 weeks in August."

But, of course, Sony had the most to gain: "Compared to last September, the PS3 was the big winner, more than doubling last year's sales. This portrays a very strong consumer reaction to the price decrease [to $299], as August and September both realized a lift of more than 70% over the prior month. This is the first month that the PS3 has captured the top spot in console hardware sales."

However, Microsoft's home console provided the most significant contribution to overall industry performance this month, with NPD analyst Anita Frazier pointing out in an analyst note, "Across all categories, the Xbox 360 platform contributed the most to industry unit and dollar sales as sales of 360 hardware, software and accessories comprised 32 percent of the month's revenues."

Software Sales

This month's software chart looks dramatically different to last month's -- rather than a downward slope starting from the top, September saw Halo 3: ODST dominate, with a dropoff of more than a million units before the second-place game, a still strong-selling Wii Sports Resort.

In Frazier's view, ODST's performance continues the Halo series legacy of sterling early performance: "Halo 3 certainly impacted the industry two years ago (Sep'07) when it was launched, and this year, Halo 3: ODST realized impressive sales making it the 6th best-selling SKU launch of all time," she wrote.

Bungie's latest effort served as a fitting ambassador for its host platform this month, as Xbox 360 games took half of the top ten software slots.

1. Halo 3: ODST (Bungie, Microsoft), Xbox 360 - 1.52 million
2. Wii Sports Resort w/MotionPlus (Nintendo), Wii - 442,900
3. Madden NFL 10 (EA Tiburon), Xbox 360 - 289,600
4. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (Alphadream, Nintendo), NDS - 258,100
5. The Beatles: Rock Band (Harmonix, MTV Games/EA), Xbox 360 - 254,000
6. Madden NFL 10 (EA Tiburon), PS3 - 246,500
7. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 - Fusion (Vicarious Visions, Activision), Xbox 360 - 236,000
8. Batman: Arkham Asylum (Rocksteady, Eidos/Square Enix), PS3 - 212,500
9. Guitar Hero V (Neversoft, Activision), Xbox 360 - 210,800
10. The Beatles: Rock Band (Harmonix, MTV Games/EA), Wii - 208,600

Another particularly interesting datum is the presence of the PlayStation 3 version of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum, but not the Xbox 360 version. Last month, the edition for Microsoft's console slightly outsold its Sony-bound counterpart, but as the weeks go by, it seems the PS3 version has slightly stouter legs -- perhaps due to the inclusion of the platform-exclusive Joker playable character.

(Update: A Microsoft representative told Gamasutra that Batman: Arkham Asylum for the Xbox 360 was the next-highest-selling home console game outside of the top 10, but did not share specific unit sales.)

As far as publishers go, Electronic Arts was responsible (or co-responsible) for four of the games on the top ten, the most on the chart.

Conclusion: 2009's Numbers So Far

Overall, revenues for the U.S. game retail market for 2009 thus far reached $10.36 billion -- still an impressive figure, but down 13% on last year's $11.85 billion at this time. Hardware is down a notable 16% to $3.57 billion, and software dipped 12% to $5.36 billion, with accessories making up the remainder.

Although analysts are hoping that the remaining three months of the year will help close the gap, it seems likely that 2009 will be a down year compared to 2008 for this sector. This is even as significant growth appears to continue in the burgeoning, much harder to track online and social gaming space.


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Comments


Kevin Jones
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@ Gomez Crumpett & Tyler Peters, with ref to this thead: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=25302



Where is "Gomez Crumpett" and "Tyler Peters" when you need them?

Tyler Peters claimed that he "subscribed to NPD's Retail Tracking" and that his NPD fetail tracking figures had GH5 outselling Beatles Rock Band. Turns out he was telling tall tales out of school.

From the coments section on this story:

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=25302



As for "Gomez Crumpett" aka the man who's hande is the term the English use for a piece of tail, he swore that my own research on Beatles RB versus GH5 sales (which turned out to be spot on) was "jesus logic". Turns out it was "Gomez Crumpett" who was using Taliban logic.

Mike Siciliano
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You really like to troll, don't you Kevin? You know this is a business site and not a GAF thread, right?



Anyway, I find it interesting that Wii sales have not only stopped their decline, but have also nearly doubled over last month. And Wii Sports Resort is the second highest selling game despite debuting in July. Looks like it's moving consoles. It should have strong holiday sales along with Wii Fit Plus.



It'll be interesting to see what happens in November and December. I won't even try to make predictions. I just want to see.

David Rodriguez
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What I'm personally curious is PSP Go numbers. Big PSP hardware increases happened thanks to the GO launch but no data yet on the GO itself. I haven't had a chance to try it out, I'm still uncertain about Digital Download only (it will shine in the future though). Overall, I'm glad to see a sparkle of hope for a good Holiday Season. I guess it's safe to say 09 won't beat 08? correct me if I'm wrong.

Kevin Jones
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My take on September's NPD figures:



# 1. Impressive PS3 sales. Most estimates (including Pacther's) had PS3 sales at around 420K.



# 2. All consoles exprerienced month on month weekly sales incrseases from August, to September, with the PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 registering an increase over August of 87%, 33%, and 31% respectively. The PS3 had by far the biggest sales increase month on month.



# 3. The PS3 is up 113% year on year from Sept 2008, 360 up 3% year on year, and the Wii down 32% year on year.



# 4. Worth noting: PS3 + 360 Year-to-date sales just surpassed Wii YTD sales: 4.335m vs 4.017m



# 5. YTD 2009...

360: 2,390k

PS3: 1,942k



# 6. Halo 3: ODST is the 6th best-selling SKU launch of all time. The 360 dominated the top 10 software charts, by taking five of the top 10 software items for the month.



# 7 Rock Band sold 595,000 units in total across the three platforms while Activision’s GH5 sold 499,000 copies in total across its four platforms (which include PlayStation 2), so Rockband outsold GH5 by 595,000 units to 499,000. {By comparison, back in 2007, Guitar Hero III sold ~1.5 million in its first month }.



# 8. -- Rock Band --



360 - 254k

WII - 208.6k

PS3 - 132.4k



# 9. The 360 drove the most growth in eptember's NPD. Across all categories, the Xbox 360 platform contributed the most to industry unit and dollar sales as sales of 360 hardware, software and accessories comprised 32% of the month's revenues

Maurício Gomes
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@Mike.



Actually I was expecting this, Gomez (that likes trolling btw) trolled Kevin in the other thread, and them both implied that they was going to wait for this NPD to prove who was right. Kevin win.



Good to see the PS3 ressurection... Even more impressive will be seeing PS3 sales at GOWIII launch.

Kevin Jones
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@ Mike Siciliano :

" You really like to troll, don't you Kevin? "



@ Mike Siciliano :

Oh give it up, and save me the sanctimonious posturing.

I am merely defending my prediction of Beatles RB versus GH 5 sales (based on my owne research at retail), that I posted back on September 17, 2009. which was dismmised outbof hand by the above named individuals. I promsed to get back to them on NPD day, and I have. End of story.



@ Mike Siciliano :

"You know this is a business site and not a GAF thread, right?"



Yes. And there is still a lot of rubbish posted on here.



@ Mike Siciliano :

"not a GAF thread, right?"



Yeah?

Neogaf has a heck of lot more highly knowlegable posters about the gaming industry from all the top gaming countries, than all other gaming sites on the internet combined. And they are not just very knowledgable about the games themselves, they analyze games company financial results better than any games site out there. Of course they have their share of idiots, like any other internet site.

Tyler Peters
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I hold to what I wrote because it was true - If you include all retail tracking, including WM data, GH5 was ahead of RB. Secondly, RB is doing well, and picked up steam during the last week of Sept, which benefitted it considerably - and allowed it to bounce ahead in the NPDs. However the WW sales of both still indicate GH5 in the lead. That could change, however, at the holiday time as I have noted before. But at best it will be a rather close horse race.

Finally, I don't see any numbers here, public or otherwise, that indicate that GH5 got "smoked" as you predicted in your previous posts.

Note to Gamasutra Staff: I'm posting this identical comment in both of the old forums that Kevin refers to here.

Kevin Jones
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@ Mike Siciliano

:"Anyway, I find it interesting that Wii sales have not only stopped their decline, but have also nearly doubled over last month. "





Weekly sales

Wii:

August to September: + 35%

September 2008 to September 2009 : -32%



PS3:

August to September: + 85%

September 2008 to September 2009 : +113%



360:

August to September: + 31%

September 2008 to September 2009 : +3%







@ Mike Siciliano

:"It'll be interesting to see what happens in November and December"



Oct:

Wii > PS3 > 360



Nov/Dec is going to be pretty close between all 3, because of the MW2 bundle for the 360.

Kevin Jones
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@ Tyler Peters



:"Finally, I don't see any numbers here, public or otherwise, that indicate that GH5 got "smoked" as you predicted in your previous posts"



Here are the numbers from Wired:

"NPD added that The Beatles: Rock Band outsold Guitar Hero 5, saying that MTV’s Beatles game sold 595,000 units in total across the three platforms while Activision’s sequel sold 499,000 copies in total across its four platforms (which include PlayStation 2)."

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2009/10/npd-september-ps3-on-top-be
atles-beat-cobain/#more-17582



Remmember, GH5 was on 4 platforms, while Beatles RB was on only 3 paltforms, and still Beatles RB outsold GH5.

E Zachary Knight
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I am really surprised by the console Numbers. I can't think of a time ever when the Wii was outsold by anything other than the DS. To be outsold by the PS3 is just wow.



This really shows how many people were waiting for the PS3 to hit $300. I know I was. I haven't bought one yet, but I am far more inclined to do so now.



The Wii price drop will drive sales for October to out perform both the PS3 and 360. But this is still amazing.

Leon T
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@ Ephriam



The 360 outsold the Wii when Halo 3 was launched. The price drop was not the only thing that raised PS3 sales. Many people were waiting for the slim model as well.

Glen M
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Is this the peak for Wii? This could be the waiting for a price drop crowd on the PS3. When will Natal launch?



Should traditional games on the iPhone be tracked for mobile?



http://www.zenfar.com


none
 
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