September another rough month for game industry

Sales of game hardware and software were down 8 percent year over year in September, continuing the slide so far in 2010.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Halo: Reach was a bright spot in game-industry sales stats from last month. Screenshot by CNET staff

The video game industry is still having a tough time shaking off the recession, NPD revealed in its September industry report.

According to the market researcher, overall U.S. game-related sales for the month reached $1.22 billion, representing an 8 percent decline compared with the $1.32 billion the industry generated in September 2009.

Hardware sales were down a whopping 19 percent from $427 million in September 2009 to $383 million last month. Physical game sales dropped by 6 percent from $649 million in September 2009 to $614 million last month.

NPD found that game accessories was the only category that beat last year's figures, tallying a 13 percent year-over-year gain with $180 million in revenue. NPD analyst Anita Frazier said that accessory sales were boosted by Sony's PlayStation Move motion-gaming peripheral.

So far this year, industry sales are down 8 percent year over year to $9.89 billion, NPD said. Hardware sales have declined by 13 percent to $3.09 billion. Software sales are down 8 percent to $4.93 billion.

Individual consoles, games
On the console side, NPD reported that the Xbox 360 led all others in September. So far in 2010, the Xbox 360's sales are up 34 percent year over year, and September was the console's "best month of unit sales," NPD said. Unfortunately, that's as far as the good news went. NPD said that hardware unit sales for the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii were down year over year.

On the software side, Halo: Reach bested all others with a whopping 3.3 million units sold during September. NPD said that figure did not include sales of the Xbox 360 bundled with Halo: Reach. That title was followed by Madden NFL 11, Dead Rising 2, NHL 11, and FIFA Soccer 11 to round out the top five.

Unfortunately, NPD did not divulge actual unit sales for consoles or any titles aside from Halo: Reach. Earlier this week, the research company announced that it would no longer share unit-sales information on games or hardware.