Video game sales slip 4 percent in October

Retail sales of game hardware shows the greatest decline, falling 26 percent compared to the year-ago period, according to market researcher NPD Group.

The current slump in video games sales extended to a seventh month in a row as retail sales of games, hardware, and accessories slipped 4 percent in October.

Overall game sales totaled $1.07 billion last month, down from $1.11 billion for last October, according to data released today by market researcher NPD Group.

Hardware sales showed the greatest decline, falling 26 percent to $280 million for the month compared to the month prior. Console and portable hardware sales were down about 30 percent compared with last year, NPD said.

"The best-selling hardware system for the month was the Nintendo DS, while the Xbox 360 was the only platform to realize unit sales improvement over last October," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement announcing the sales results. "Versus last month, the Nintendo DS and the Wii were the two systems to increase unit sales on an average-sales-per-week basis. Looking forward to November and December, these Nintendo systems are likely to benefit from holiday promotions and gift-giving."

Retail software sales were up 6 percent to $605 million, led by Take-Two's NBA 2K11, Bethesda Softworks' Fallout: New Vegas, and Electronic Arts' Medal of Honor.

The big percentage winner in the industry was sales of game accessories, which jumped 18 percent to $142 million. Sales were buoyed by the PlayStation Move controller, which helped increase the average selling price of specialty controllers by $31 to $51 in October.

"Due to the success of the Move at retail, and the reported success of the Kinect early in its launch at retail, specialty controller items should contribute significantly to industry sales during the holiday," Frazier said.

NPD cautioned that the report reflects only new physical retail sales. "While down, there are revenues being generated from digital distribution, used game sales, rentals, social-network games, and mobile applications to name a few," Frazier said.

 

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