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NPD:  Madden  Delay Spurs Steep 23 Percent August Decline

NPD: Madden Delay Spurs Steep 23 Percent August Decline

September 8, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

The United States retail video game industry suffered a steep 23 percent decline in August thanks to a later-than-usual launch of this year's entry into the Madden NFL franchise.

The game -- which will undoubtedly be one of the top sellers in September -- was delayed past its typical mid-August release window to August 30, which falls just outside of the NPD Group's August reporting window (which ends on the 27th).

The decline is slightly lower than July's 26 percent drop, the lowest since October of 2006.

Despite the bad news, and a year-to-date revenue decline of 5 percent, the NPD Group still projects that the overall U.S. retail games industry may end the year flat.

"More than half of industry sales in this channel are still to be realized in the back four months of the year," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

"Given the strong release schedule in the coming months, new physical retail sales could still be flat to slightly up once full year sales are tallied."


Revenue form new console sales dropped 12 percent from August of 2010 to $249.4M, according to figures provided by the group.

While comparisons year-on-year are weak, combined revenues are up from last month, which saw only $223M in hardware sales.

According to the NPD, all hardware (when the DS and 3DS are combined) saw an uptick over last month, with the 3DS and PS3 both seeing significant activity from their respective price cuts.

While specific hardware sales figures are not provided by the NPD, Microsoft has independently confirmed that it sold approximately 308,000 Xbox 360 units during the month, making it the number one selling home console.


Total console and portable retail game sales saw the biggest decline of all segments: the $264.8M in revenue represents a 34 percent drop from August of 2010. When combined with PC retail games, that percentage drops further to 37 percent.

The top ten retail games in the United States for August of 2011 were as follows:

RankTop 10 Games (New Physical Retail)Publisher
1Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360, PS3, PC)Square Enix Inc
2NCAA Football 12 (360, PS3)Electronic Arts
3Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)Activision Blizzard
4Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd (NDS, Wii, PS3)Disney Interactive Studios
5Cars 2 (NDS, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)Disney Interactive Studios
6Just Dance Summer Party (Wii)Ubisoft
7Just Dance 2 (Wii)Ubisoft
8Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)Disney Interactive Studios
9The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)Nintendo
10Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Wii, 360, PS3)Majesco

The top selling game for the month was Square Enix's first-person shooter/RPG hybrid Deus Ex: Human Revolution, despite being available for only five days during the NPD's tracking period.

In second place was EA's NCAA Football 12, which is performing better in its second month than its predecessor. According to Frazier, this "could be an indication of Madden fans looking to get their football fix elsewhere due to the delay in the release of that title."

Sixth-place Just Dance: Summer Party was a July debut that did not manage to crack the top ten at the time, though increased sales -- along with a lack of significant new releases -- placed it in the charts during its second month.

Finally, Nintendo's much-advertised 3DS title The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D cracks the top ten for the first time since its June debut, thanks to the 3DS price drop.

The NPD says it is looking forward to a healthier September, which will see a fair amount of gamer-focused titles hitting store shelves.

"Games fans have a huge variety to choose from in September, especially for fans of games in the sports genre. Those interested in more 'core' gaming experiences have both Resistance 3 and Gears of War 3, among others, to look forward to," said Frazier.

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