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Inside Game Sales: July NPD Retail Report

game statsSummer is a time for BBQ’s and beaches.  The weather is good and people tend to enjoy it.  Not surprisingly, as a result, it’s a slower period for indoor entertainment products like video games.  Still, “slower” is a relative term.  According to newly released NPD sales data for July, even in a month of measured expectations, the industry delivered double digit year over year growth.

For the month of July,  the US gaming industry rose 28% over last year in total sales with revenue of $1.19b for the month.  Software was up the most with a 41% year over year gain.  Hardware and accessories were up 17%  and 19% respectively.

There weren’t many surprises for the month.  In the top hardware list, the ranking was unchanged from June’s result.  Nintendo led in both the console and portable categories. 555k Wii’s and 608k DS units were sold.  No other product came close. The number three slot was held by the PS3 with 224k units.   The Xbox 360, which didn’t get much benefit from the late in the month price adjustment, finished 5th with 204,800 units.

In software, the  Xbox version of EA’s NCAA Football 2009 grabbed the number one  slot sneaking out a narrow28k unit victory over the still strong Wii Fit.  Guitar Hero on Tour finished a close third.   NCAA Football for the PS3 finished 5th.  Of the top ten titles, four were for the Wii, three for the Xbox 360, two for the PS3 and one for the DS. June’s top finisher, Konami’s Metal Gear Solid (PS3)didn’t grab a slot in the top ten for its second month.

As has been the case in the past, each of the three console makers responded to the data with their own spin: 

Nintendo: Nintendo affirmed their  current dominance by pointing out that Wii sales represented a 49% share of  total consoles and the DS accounted for 73% of handhelds.  They also noted that five of the top ten software titles were for their platforms (4 Wii, 1 DS).  Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo America’s VP of sales and marketing characterized the performance by saying simply “Great hardware goes hand-in-hand with great software.”

Sony: Sony stuck with its stock line in characterizing the result and touted their ongoing “momentum”  for the PS3. They also spoke of resilience for the older PS2.  Sony’s PR staff pointed out the 1.8m units sold so far in 2008 (in the US market) is a 99% year over year gain. They also said more than 42.5m PS2 consoles have been sold life time.  "Our year-to-date sales growth of 99 per cent for the PS3 reaffirms that consumers are indeed embracing PS3 as their entertainment hub-of-choice with its feature-rich offerings like Blu-ray and our recently announced video delivery service," Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA said in a statement.

Microsoft: Microsoft’s response focused on their lifetime sales and software sales.  They noted in their response that, since launch, consumers have spent over $10.4 billion on the Xbox 360 in the US. That gives the platform a 49% market share.  Additionally, the Xbox 360 platform accounted for $129m in July software sales, a 34% share.  The console, Microsoft also said, has an attach rate of 7.9 games, the highest rate for any console at this stage in its lifecycle.

Here’s the rest of the July results,  by the numbers:

July Hardware Sales (in units sold) (June Result)
• Nintendo DS: 608,400 (783,000)
• Wii: 555,000 (666,700)
• PlayStation 3: 224,900 (405,500)
• PlayStation Portable: 221,700 (337,400)
• Xbox 360: 204,800 (219,800)

July  Software (Title (Platform) –Publisher -Units)
1. NCAA Football 09 (Xbox 360) – Electronic Arts – 397,600
2. Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Wii) – Nintendo – 369,600
3. Guitar Hero on Tour (DS) -Activision – 309,700
4. Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) – Nintendo – 284,000
5. NCAA Football 09 (PS3) – Electronic Arts – 242,500
6. Soulcalibur IV (Xbox 360) – Namco Bandai – 218,900
7. Mario Kart Wii w/ Wheel (Wii) – Nintendo – 174,500
8. Rock Band Special Edition Bundle (Wii) – MTV Games/ Electronic Arts – 165,800
9. Soulcalibur IV (PS3) – Namco Bandai – 155,800
10. Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (Xbox 360) – Take-Two – 147,600

Overall Industry Totals (Total ( % Change Y/Y)(Last month’s total))
Video Games: $1.19B (+28%) ($1.69B)
Video Games Hardware: $446.9 (+17%)($615.1M)
Video Games Software: $ 591.1(+41%) ($872.6M)
Video Game Accessories: $149.1 (+19%)( $202M)

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  •FebruaryMarchAprilMayJune
2007: •February •March •April •May •June •July •August •September •OctoberNovember December

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