The NPD Group announced tracking results for new U.S. retail video game sales in September, showing overall revenues for the industry dropping eight percent compared to the same month last year.
The $1.22 billion in new retail sales for hardware, software and accessories in September dropped from $1.32 billion in revenues in September 2009.
Year over year, new hardware sales for the month were down 19 percent for the month, from $472 million to $383 million, while new retail software sales were down a more modest six percent, from $649 million to $614 million.
Accessories were the lone bright spot, sector-wise, in the September report, up a healthy 13 percent to $180 million, from $159 million in sales last September.
The accessory growth was "driven by sales of specialty controllers and audio," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. "Specialty controllers include the new PlayStation Move Navigation controller and Sports Champions bundle, which contributed to this accessory type's growth."
Year-to-date, 2010 continues to lag behind 2009, with $9.55 billion in sales across the industry trailing roughly eight percent behind the $10.37 billion in sales at this point last year.
Hardware has seen the largest year-to-date revenue drop, down 13 percent from $3.57 billion in 2009 to $3.09 billion so far this year, while 2010 software sales of $4.93 billion in 2010 are running 8 percent behind the $5.36 billion at this point last year. Accessory sales were up five percent for the year so far, from $144 billion through September '09 to $1.52 billion currently for 2010.
"While industry sales of new physical retail sales show a decline versus year ago, it's important to remember that there is a growing volume of content being sold digitally, or otherwise outside the traditional retail channel," Frazier said. "These numbers reflect the largest channel for hardware, software and accessories sales, but there are content sales happening elsewhere."
Though NPD no longer publicly reveals specific numbers or relative rankings for monthly system sales, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg revealed via Twitter that the Xbox 360 sold 483,989 units in September, a 37 percent increase over September last year. This makes September the best sales month yet in 2010 for the system, which is up 34 percent year-to-date over this point in 2009.
NPD's analyst report indicates the Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3 were down compared to the same month last year, meaning the systems sold less than 462,800 and 491,800 units, respectively, for the month.
"A couple other platforms, specifically the PS3 and the PSP, are up on an average sales per week basis as compared to last month (August 2010)," Frazier said. "Interestingly, the average retail price of hardware increased notably this month, driven primarily by the Xbox 360 Halo:Reach bundle and the PS3 Move bundle."
[Update: Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter revealed that sales for the PS3 in September were down 37 percent year-over year to 312,000 units, while the Wii saw a 45 percent decline from 2009 to 254,000 September sales.]
Though NPD no longer publicly discloses sales data for the top five game SKUs of the month, the analysts did share that Halo: Reach had sold 3.3 million units for the month, joining Modern Warfare 2 and Halo 3 to become only the third game in this console generation to sell over 3 million units in its debut month.
Elsewhere on the monthly software rankings, Electronic Arts sports titles showed strong performance, with cross-platforms sales of Madden NFL 11, NHL 11 and FIFA Soccer 11 finishing second, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep on the PSP and Metroid: Other M on the Wii joined Halo: Reach in representing system exclusives on the top ten sellers list, while Dead Rising 2's multiplatform third place finish showed continued interest in zombie-killing games in the market.
Take-Two's Mafia II marked a second month on the top ten list in September, with the combined 360, PS3 and PC sales ranking in seventh place, while newcomer Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions combined sales across four platforms to take eighth place.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 continues to show strong sales nearly a year after its release, sneaking onto this month's list in tenth place.
Sales of new, retail games in the U.S. for September are ranked as follows:
1. Halo: Reach (Microsoft, Xbox 360) 3,300,000
2. Madden NFL 11 (Electronic Arts, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP)
3. Dead Rising 2 (Capcom, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
4. NHL 11 (Electronic Arts, Xbox 360, PS3)
5. FIFA Soccer 11 (Electronic Arts, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, NDS)
6. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (Square Enix, PSP)
7. Mafia II (Take-Two, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
8. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Activision Blizzard, PS3, Xbox 360, NDS, Wii)
9. Metroid: Other M (Nintendo, Wii)
10. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision Blizzard, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)