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NPD: Behind the Numbers, May 2010

July 6, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 5 Next
 

Top-Selling Software for May

On Friday the NPD Group released its list of the top 20 best-selling games for May 2010, and since that time some additional information has become available.

According to Wedbush's Pachter, 13 titles sold over 100,000 units during the month of May, up from 10 such titles a year ago but down from 14 titles in April 2010.

Further details about notable titles that didn't make the chart have been released to media by the NPD Group and commented upon by analysts:

  • The racing title Blur, created by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision Blizzard, sold only 31,000 units during the May period measured by the NPD Group.

    This includes only five days of sales, only for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but the figure still falls well short of expectations. Last year Activision had said that it expected Blur to do “for racing what Call of Duty did for shooters”

  • Split/Second, a separate racing title created by Black Rock Studio and published by Disney Interactive Software, sold somewhat better with a combined 86,000 units in 12 days for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

  • Remedy's Alan Wake, an Xbox 360 exclusive published by Microsoft Game Studios, sold 145,000 units during the May period.

  • UbiSoft's Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, sold fewer than 100,000 units across five platforms in 12 days, what Wedbush's Pachter termed a “difficult debut”.

Notable titles from last month's chart that failed to return in May include UbiSoft's Splinter Cell: Conviction (#1 in April) and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (previously at #7 and #15).

An elaborated chart can be found below: 


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Comments


Mark Harris
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Well, it's not necessarily the idea that Nintendo is failing, just that their momentum is slowing and it is causing a contraction of revenue across the industry as a whole YoY. It's not the end of the world, but industry growth draws new investment, creates new jobs, sells an expanded array of software to larger audiences, etc. In general growth is good and decline is bad. When we get the numbers we want to see where the growth/decline is happening and try to figure out why. These facts help to adjust the trajectory of the industry so that we experience the best possible business and job environment.

Ken Kinnison
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Feels like too much is being read into the hardware sales slumping. It's probably reaching but could this year's (at the time) pending E3 have actually affected sales? Again, it is reaching, but E3 usually announces new console versions and a reduced price.



It is interesting to see that less pressure is being put on the holiday release cycle- some publishers now realising putting a game next to a guaranteed blockbuster is probably not good for its sales. Its a step in the right direction.

Merc Hoffner
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I agree Mark, but there has been a strong disconnect between investment and growth and subsequent re-investment. Throughout the shocking rise and rise of the Wii there has been a general non-committal of resources to support it by the industry and investors. During 2008 hardly any projects of note were released or commissioned on Wii or DS by 3rd parties (and many believe Nintendo themselves were lacking), and significant sums were piled into other platforms, only for Nintendo's lone revenue growth to exceed total industry growth. i.e. If it weren't for Nintendo, then the industry actually shrank that year. Even then, that did practically nothing to influence project development in 2009 (or 2010). It's one thing to use data to be well informed about the actual changing state of the industry, but if it doesn't actually influence any decision making then what's the point?



Many publishers say that the Wii market is simply too hard to break into and don't consider Nintendo platforms in their planning as a matter of course - if that's the case then why bother continuing to look back over their shoulders at Nintendo's rises and 'falls'? If we've reached the point where Nintendo's business only affects Nintendo, then in real terms the only data we should be concerned with is their financial report; this year that one's not so great either - and their shares took a tumble as a result, but a massive profit is a massive profit, and more than infinitely more useful than a massive loss.

Donald McArthur
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I feel too much doom and gloom is being read into the decline in hardware sales. In my mind, all this points to is a serious need to drop in hardware prices. All of these platforms are either four or five years into their hardware cycle and yet they still sell for $200 or more. There are many price sensitive consumers, who while wanting a console can not do so at the current price levels.



As for the poor sales of Alan Wake, I think that was a simple mistake of Microsoft choosing the wrong release date. For some reason they decided to release the game on May 18th and go head to head with Red Dead Redemption. Not many people are willing to buy two full price titles on the same day, because of this I feel that many Alan Wake purchases were then deferred to later. Where some sales that would have traditionally come from new games sales shifted to used game sales. IMHO, if Microsoft had just moved the game forward one or two weeks, something they could have done, I already had a retail copy. Then the game would have gone head to head with Iron man 2, Lost Planet 2 or Skate 3. Where it would have been the bigger title and probably faired much better.

Kevin Jones
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@ TheWon Jodecideion



"I'm still not understanding this philosophy of Usain Bolt needing to run faster. After he sets a world record if he doesn't keep running at that speed or faster. "





Wrong analogy.

Nintendo is no Usian Bolt.

The iPone is vastly outselling both the Wii and the DS every month.

And of course Windows is by far the biggest gaming platform on the planet, with vastly more casual games played on the Windows PC by more people than on any other platform.

In addition, te stock market doesnt care about wat sales you ad last year. If your sales are down this year, you get punished for it.



"It's his fault if the overall attendance of the track and field event drops."



Wii hardware and software revenues are down this year. That just happens to be fact.

Equally, PS3 sales and revenues are up. The drop in NPD game sales this year are down because of the Wii.

Robert Green
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At first I was tempted to write off TheWon's comments as fanboy-ish, but now that I've thought about it a bit more, I think he's right. Obviously from a year-to-year perspective, if the wii sales are down, then that's largely to blame for the decline.

But looking at it from a multi-decade perspective, it's Sony who have failed. Them and MS have created consoles that launched at higher than usual prices, and enabled (and, thanks to consumer demand, therefore required) more money to be spent creating games, but they're failed to expand the market to the point where things are equally as profitable.

Surely the fact that the PS3 and 360, 4 and 5 years (respectively) after launch, are still retailing for $300US, otherwise known as "that price the PS2, PS1 and Xbox cost at launch", is largely to blame for their current sales. The sooner they can get down to a more mass-market price, like $150, the better. But instead they seem to think they've found the right price, choosing to continually increase hard drive size and now bring out expensive new peripherals, rather than try to get the entry price down. It's like neither of them has even looked at sales charts of previous consoles over time.

Ryan Wiancko
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I dont' see how we can take any of these numbers seriously as an indication of the state of the industry as long as digital sales aren't being taken into account. More and more players are spending their money to purchase games digitally via outlets like steam, D2D or impulse and more and more console players are buy DLC, meaning probably less dollars to spend on retail products.



While I can't blame NPD as the digital stats aren't as readily available yet, these reports are painting a grossly incomplete pictures of the current state of the game industry. This creates unjustified fear in an industry that is evolving and generating more revenue today than ever before, which dries up investor and shareholder confidence, meaning less and less money will be put into the industry.



The industry is evolving, the profit channels are expanding and NDP's reports need to evolve with it before they are doing more harm than good.


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