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Gaming industry suffers tough July as hardware, software slumps

The game industry generated $548.4 million in the U.S. last month, down 20 percent compared with the $686.3 million generated in July 2011.

The Xbox 360 is still leading the console market.
The Xbox 360 is still leading the console market. Microsoft

The video game industry had a tough July, new data from research firm NPD has revealed.

During the month, total video game sales across the U.S. hit $548.4 million. That figure, which includes hardware and physical software sales, was down 20 percent compared with the same period last year when the industry hit $686.3 million in revenue.

It was a similarly bad story for the gaming hardware market, which saw revenue fall by 32 percent to $150.7 million. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, every console saw sales decline year over year last month. Only the Nintendo 3DS portable was able to increase its unit sales over the year. Neither Nintendo nor NPD would divulge the 3DS' unit sales, but the Mario maker said in a statement that sales were up 44 percent compared with July 2011.

Despite a rough July, Microsoft was quick to tout its 203,000 unit sales during the month. According to the company, that tally helped it reach the top spot in console unit sales for the 19th consecutive month. Microsoft owned 49 percent of the console market last month.

On the software side, sales were down 23 percent to $278.2 million. According to NPD, NCAA Football 13, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, and The Amazing Spider-Man nabbed the top three spots. Just Dance 3 and Batman Arkham City took the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Although the physical side of the market was a bit sluggish, gamers still spent boatloads of cash last month on digital transactions. According to NPD, $439 million was spent in July on add-on game downloads, full titles, subscriptions, and other digital services. Along with the $117 million spent on used games and rentals, a total of $1.1 billion was spent during the month.

CNET has contacted Sony for comment on the NPD findings. We will update this story when we have more information.

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