Alongside the just-debuted game charts
, the NPD has revealed Nintendo's Wii and DS again atop U.S. hardware charts for September 2008, but the Xbox 360's price drop accelerating its lead over the PlayStation 3.
Though the entire game hardware market in the region was $498 million, down around 9% from the $546 million achieved in September 2007, Nintendo's consoles still dominated proceedings, both topping half a million units sold for the month.
The specific sales numbers for each console or handheld are as follows, from largest to smallest:
Nintendo Wii - 687,000
Nintendo DS - 537,000
Xbox 360 - 347,000
Sony PlayStation Portable - 238,000
Sony PlayStation 3 - 232,000
Sony PlayStation 2 - 173,000
So why the actual decline in hardware - are people buying fewer consoles? The NPD's Anita Frazier noted: "Hardware unit sales were flat versus last year so the decline in dollars is due to lower prices. The average retail price of hardware across all platforms declined 8% from last September."
Indeed, the market was overall up, month on month, as she testified: "Compared to August, nearly all hardware systems realized an increase in unit sales in September. The price reduction on the Xbox 360 helped deliver a month over-month unit sales increase for that platform of 78%. This increase, despite the acceleration of economic turmoil during the month of September, is solid indicator of the health of the industry heading into the holiday season."
But disappointingly, NPD's Frazier noted that, with the entire market, including accessories, at $1.27 billion for the month, down 7% from $1.35 billion in September 2007, it's the first 'true' decline for the market (not counting January 2008, which had a mismatched number of weeks compared to January 2007) since March 2006.
Nonetheless, she added: "It's important to keep in mind, however, that this month's 7% decline is against a month (September 2007) that itself was up 75% from the prior September. Last year, Halo 3
released in September 2007 and that game had a huge impact on hardware and software sales."
She continues: "Overall, the health of the video games industry remains quite strong despite the rocky economic conditions. Tracking against typical industry seasonality, the U.S. video games industry is positioned to realize $22B or more in revenues for the year", not including PC games.
Overall, the market is at $11.82 billion for January to September 2008, compared to $9.38 billion for the same period in 2007 - up an extremely impressive 26%.