The NPD Group has announced its tracking results for new U.S. retail video game sales in August, showing overall revenues for the industry dropping ten percent compared to the same month last year.
Overall industry sales for the month were down $91.4 million from last year, to $818.9 million for the month. Hardware sales dropped five percent ($14.7 million) year-over-year to $282.9 million for the month, while software sales were down 14 percent ($67.7 million) to $403.5 million.
Video game accessory sales were down six percent, while sales of portable hardware and software were down sharply, seeing a 25 percent drop.
Year-to-date, 2010 continues to lag behind 2009, with overall industry sales currently sitting at $8.37 billion for the year, down eight percent ($720 million) from this point last year.
NPD Analyst Anita Frazier notes that this month's results are actually the weakest August results for the industry since this time in 2006, before the launch of the Wii and PS3. Still, Frazier sees a strong lineup of games and accessories like PlayStation Move and Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox driving overall new retail sales for the remainder of the year.
She expects that this will drive the industry to a point somewhere between $18.6 and $20 billion in sales by year's end. This would put the industry in a position relatively consistent with 2009's total new retail sales of $19.6 billion.
EA's annual football release, Madden NFL 11, dominated the sales charts for the month, easily taking the #1 and #2 slots for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game, respectively. Frazier notes that sales for all five versions of the game combined were up "about six percent" from the August 2009 release of Madden NFL 10, which would place the game around 1.975 million combined sales for the month.
Nintendo's Mario games, both recent and more classic, had strong showings on the monthly sales charts. Super Mario Galaxy 2 rose to the third place position for the month from a #4 showing in July, while New Super Mario Bros. for the DS and New Super Mario Bros. Wii reappeared on the top-sellers list at #5 and #6, respectively.
Take 2 Interactive saw strong initial sales for crime simulator Mafia II, which appeared on the monthly sales list in fourth place on the Xbox 360 and seventh place on the PS3. Perennial top-sellers Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Wii Fit Plus also snuck onto this month's list in eighth and tenth place, respectively. July's top release, the Xbox 360 version of NCAA Football 11, rounded out August's top sellers at #9.
Sales of new, retail games in the U.S. for August are as follows:
1. Madden NFL 11 (Electronic Arts, 360) 920,800
2. Madden NFL 11 (Electronic Arts, PS3) 893,600
3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo, Wii) 124,600
4. Mafia II (Take 2 Interactive, 360) 121,600
5. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo, DS) 110,400
6. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo, Wii)
7. Mafia II (Take 2 Interactive, PS3)
8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision Blizzard, 360)
9. NCAA Football 11 (Electronic Arts, 360)
10. Wii Fit Plus (Nintendo, Wii)
Crackdown 2, which debuted at #3 in the July rankings, dropped off the top ten sellers entirely in August, while both the Wii and Nintendo DS versions of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 also dropped off the list from #5 and #7 positions in July, respectively. However, Frazier notes that, when various versions of different games are taken together, LEGO Harry Potter still ranked in the top 5 releases for the month.
Frazier also notes that August's PC release of Starcraft II, which attracted over 300,000 retail sales, would have been the second-best selling game for the month if PC sales were included in their report. Even without taking into account digital downloads for the game, Starcraft II helped drive retail PC games sales up 35 percent over last August, Frazier said.
The Xbox 360 led overall hardware sales for the second month in a row and console sales for a third consecutive month in August, selling through 356,700 units.
Frazier notes that while month-to-month sales for the Xbox 360 were down, the Xbox 360 actually achieved significant year-over-year gains. Frazier was also optimistic that, "with Halo: Reach coming to market next week, if hardware sales react in a similar fashion to what was experienced when Halo 3 was launched in September 2007, September could be a huge sales month for Xbox 360 hardware."
Microsoft's console managed to handily beat out the Wii, which in August saw its lowest month of hardware sales since its launch in 2006, selling through only 244,300 units. Frazier expects this downward trend to reverse itself with family-friendly multiplayer releases like Nintendo's Wii Party and Disney's Guilty Party hitting the shelves in September.
The PlayStation 3, meanwhile, was the only system to actually see sales increase from July, selling 226,000 units in August, a five percent bump. Frazier notes that this is the 13th straight month that the PS3 has seen a year-over-year increase in sales, and that this momentum is spilling over into PS3 software and accessories as well.
Sales of portable systems were down from July, with the Nintendo DS selling 14 percent fewer systems (342,700 total) in August and the PSP selling five percent fewer systems (79,400 total) for the month
U.S. hardware sales for the month of August by units were as follows:
1. Xbox 360: 356,700
2: Nintendo DS: 342,700
3. Wii: 244,300
4. PlayStation 3: 226,000
5. PlayStation Portable: 79,400
[Gamasutra contributor and analyst Matt Matthews contributed to this report]