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NPD: October Retail Game Sales Fall Far Below Expectations

NPD: October Retail Game Sales Fall Far Below Expectations

November 11, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

Despite a month of strong releases, retail video game software sales in the United States for October were far less than most analysts predicted.

According to data released Friday by the NPD Group, video game software sales at retail (excluding PC games) generated $621.3 million, an increase of just 3 percent from last year, falling far below the analyst consensus (via StreetCount) of 12.6 percent.

Specifically, Wedbush Securities anticipated a 14 percent increase to $690 million. Sterne Agee was projecting an increase of 10 to 15 percent.

The industry as a whole saw a 1 percent increase to $1.08 billion. The largest growth sector was in hardware (up 6 percent to $295.6 million), and accessories dropped 5 percent to $135.9 million, due primarily to a decline in the average selling price.


The top 10 best-selling retail games in the United States for October, 2011 were as follows (new releases bolded):

1. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
2. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3)
3. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC)
4. Rage (360, PS3, PC)
5. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360)
6. Dark Souls (PS3, 360)
7. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP)
8. Forza Motorsport 4 (360)
9. Gears of War 3 (360)
10. FIFA Soccer 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, 3DS)

"New software releases performed very well this month," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "Seven of the top 10 titles were new October releases, and the top 10 titles sold 23 percent more units than did the top 10 last October."

Unsurprisingly, EA's first-person-shooter Battlefield 3 took the top spot for the month, after a debut week that saw 5 million copies sold worldwide on a record 10 million shipped.

According to the NPD, the game sold 2 million in the United States.

"Of course, given its strong heritage in PC gaming, I would expect that there were notable sales that occurred via digital downloading as well," Frazier added.

Across its two SKUs, second-place Batman: Arkham Asylum sold through 1.5 million units at retail.

Of note: were this list to extend one more place, Activision's toy-focused Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure would place 11th. That game saw "stronger than expected consumer response," according to the company.


Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the top-selling console in October, selling 393,000 units. In terms of revenue, the console saw a 21 percent year-over-year growth. In terms of unit sales, it was up 20 percent.

As previously reported, Nintendo sold 250,000 units each of its 3DS and Wii consoles, and 180,000 units of its DS console.

Sony has not confirmed any sales numbers at press time.

According to the NPD Group, unit average sales on a per-week basis were up from September on all platforms except for the PlayStation 3.

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