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The Dark Knight Rises boosts Batman game sales in July
The Dark Knight Rises boosts Batman game sales in July
August 9, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

August 9, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

The Dark Knight Rises wasn't the only Batman property to enjoy financial success last month, as video games based on the caped crusader also saw healthy sales in July that coincided with the film's release.

According to The NPD Group's U.S. retail sales data for last month, two of the top games in July were Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Batman: Arkham City -- these games were the second and fifth best selling games of the month, respectively.

Looking at the larger picture, U.S. retail game sales continued to decline in July, keeping in line with the industry's overall trend for the past several months. Total game sales dropped 20 percent to $548.4 million, down from $686.3 million during this time last year.

Factoring in used sales, rentals, and digital sales, however, The NPD Group estimates that the total consumer spend on games in July was approximately $1.1 billion.

While both recent Batman titles performed well, July software sales (including PC) dipped 23 percent to $278.2 million. Keeping in line with the rest of the year, we saw very few new releases in July, and EA's NCAA Football 13 (which launched July 10) ended up being the month's top game.

The top ten best selling games at retail for the month were as follows:

1. NCAA Football 13 (Xbox 360, PS3 - EA)
2. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Wii, Xbox 360, DS, PS3, 3DS, PS Vita, PC - Warner Bros.)
3. The Amazing Spider-Man (Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, DS, Wii - Activision)
4. Just Dance 3 (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 - Ubisoft)
5. Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, PS3, PC - Warner Bros.)
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360, PS3, DS, Wii, PC - Activision)
7. Assassin's Creed: Revelations (Xbox 360, PS3, PC - Ubisoft)
8. NBA 2K12 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC - Take-Two)
9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC - Activision)
10. Dead Island (Xbox 360, PS3, PC - Deep Silver)

While Arkham City's sales boost coincided with the launch of Christopher Nolan's blockbuster film, The NPD Group pointed out that -- like Dead Island -- part of the game's success can be attributed to its recently-released "Game of the Year" edition.

Video game hardware ended up being the industry's biggest negative contributor for the month, as that category saw sales drop 32 percent to $150.7 million.

The top selling console for the month was the Xbox 360, which Microsoft says sold 203,000 units. Of the three current home consoles, the Xbox 360 has been the number one seller for 19 consecutive months.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier reported that of all the hardware on the market in July, only the 3DS saw a unit sales increase year-over-year. "Both the DS and the 3DS, however, realized a month-over-month unit sales increase over June 2012 while the other platforms declined," she added.

Accessories were the only category that saw an increase year-over-year. Sales in this sector jumped 8 percent to $278.2 million, thanks largely to the sales of point and subscription game cards, as well as character packs for Activision's toy-based Skylanders titles.

Looking ahead to next month, The NPD Group expects that the launch of the 3DS XL along with Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. 2 should help increase new physical retail sales. And while August typically enjoys a boost from the launch of the ever-popular Madden games, Madden NFL 13 will launch on August 28, and will thus be counted in The NPD Group's September report.

When discussing the year's overall prospects, Frazier said, "New physical retail sales of games hardware, software and accessories traditionally follows (sic) a very reliable seasonality pattern. Based on year to date sales, and taking into account the release slate for the back five months of the year as well as the anticipated launch of the Wii U, annual sales for the new physical channel should come in around $14.5 billion for the year."

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Ole Berg Leren
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This is tangentially related, so I'll proceed.

I remember a very jarring situation in Batman: Arkham Asylum, where the only way to progress was for me to use a batarang to cut the rope an inmate was desperately clinging on to, in order to save himself from the Joker's laughing-gas. I made Batman directly responsible for a death, because there was no other way forward. Doesn't that clash with Batman's ideology?

Case in point: I watched Under The Red Hood just recently(minor SPOILERS ahead), where Batman explains that "killing is too damn easy", and that if he allowed himself to commit murder even once, he'd never be able to stop.

That is part of what makes him such an attractive vigilante, in my mind: that he's teetering on the knife's edge.

Leon T
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Looks like it was too early for Matt to call the 360 the lead platform for Lego games here:

Time will tell which sku comes out on top.