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Inside Game Sales: June NPD Data Review

npd reportNo matter where the economy seems to go, no matter how high gas prices, or how poor home sales, no matter how much consumers are watching expenses, there seems to be little to no impact on the video game industry’s continued run.    That was apparent at the E3 conference earlier this week and emphasized even further with the release of June retails sales results from tracking firm NPD.

Overall, gross sales in June topped $1.69b, up from $1.12b in May and a more than 50% gain year over year from last June.   Looking at the first six months of the year, the result was similarly impressive: year over year, the industry is up 36%.  January to June, gross sales were in at $8.27billion. 

With back to school and holiday season sales periods still ahead, there is room for even more dramatic growth.  According to NPDs analyst Anita Frazier, “even if growth slows over the back half of 2008, the industry is poised to achieve record breaking revenues of over $22b for the year.”

Looking at June data in more detail:
In hardware, the big story centers around Nintendo’s continued lead and Sony’s increasing sales momentum.

As has been the case for most months, Nintendo finished June in the pole position for both console sales and portables.  June sell-through of 783k units for the DS and 666k Wii’s was sufficient to take the top two slots overall.  The Wii sales, according to NPD, had another effect too.  The monthly tally was enough to make the Wii the lifetime top selling U.S. console among the current generation.  Including June, Nintendo has sold nearly 11million (10.9m) Wii’s since the Nov. 2006 debut.

The DS result should be enough to reassure analysts who’ve speculated the portable has passed its peak.  Finishing number one overall is anything but a sign of weakness.

For Sony, the good news was in momentum.  After a decent showing in May, the PS3 picked up speed and nearly doubled the prior month’s sales in June (owing in part to strong showings for exclusive software).  In total, Sony sold 405K PS3’s, up from 208k in May.  That was good enough for the number three spot overall.  The number was also almost double Microsoft’s fifth place finish for the Xbox (219k units, up from 186k in May).  Sony’s PSP portable finished fourth overall with 337k units sold in June.

In direct revenue, hardware sales contributed $615 million to June’s total gaming-industry tally of $1.7 billion, good enough for a 53 percent rise year over year.For software, sales were up 63 percent year-over-year to nearly $873m in June.

Looking at software more closely: June was the last month where blockbuster title Grand Theft Auto IV had a chance to influence console sales and drive customers to one platform or another.  Surprising some, as was the case in May, that didn’t happen. The game didn’t make much a difference.  It appears the lack of console exclusivity (GTA IV was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360) diluted some of the game’s impact on hardware sales. (It will be interesting to see if that has any influence on EA’s pending takeover bid)

In June, the software that moved the market came from Konami.  The PS3 exclusive release Metal Gear Solid: 4 topped overall sales with 774k units sold after its June 12th release date.  Some of those units were bundled with the console to appeal to new owners; a win for Sony.

NPD’s Frazier noted,  “Platform exclusive content usually fuels hardware system purchases and PS3 sales certainly reflect the impact of Metal Gear Solid 4.”

The other software surprises for June came from Nintendo.  Six of the months top ten games were made for Nintendo hardware, three published by Nintendo itself. Actually, that’s not all that surprising. Neither is the conitnued strong performance of Wii Fit. Nintendo’s exercise driven system sold 372k units.

The rest of the data by the numbers:

June Hardware Sales (in units sold) (May Result)
• Nintendo DS:  783,000 (452,600)
• Wii: 666,700 (675,100)
• PlayStation 3: 405,500 (208,700)
• PlayStation Portable: 337,400 (182,300)
• Xbox 360: 219,800 (186,600)

June  Software (Title.(Platform/Publisher/Units)
1.Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3 / Konami / 774,600)
2.Guitar Hero On Tour (DS) / Activision / 422,300)
3. Ninja Gaiden II (Xbox 360) / Microsoft / 372,700)
4. Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (WII) / Nintendo / 372,700)
5.Wii Play w/ Remote (WII) / Nintendo / 359,100)
6. Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360) / Electronic Arts / 346,800)
7. Mario Kart Wii w/ Wheel (WII) / Nintendo / 322,400)
8. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (WII) / LucasArts / 294,500)
9. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (DS) / LucasArts / 267,800)
10. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (PS2) / LucasArts / 260,300)

Overall Industry Totals (Total ( % Change Y/Y)(Last month’s total))
Video Games: $1.69B (+53%) ($1.12)
Video Games Hardware: $615.1M (+54%)($428.6m)
Video Games Software: $872.6M (+61%) ($536.9m)
Video Game Accessories: $202M (+25%)( $150.8m)

For comparative data, NPD’s data from each month for the past year can be found by clicking the names of the month as follows:
2008: •January  •FebruaryMarchAprilMay
2007: •February •March •April •May •June •July •August •September •OctoberNovember December


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