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June NPD: Fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines

Friday, 17th July 2009 00:27 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

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The June NPDs are out and while the figures may show things brightening a bit, there is some bad news too.

This is the fourth month of decline for the industry – down 31 percent to $1.17 billion – and the worst since September 2000 when the decline was at 41 percent. Even with the industry down 12% year-to-date, it could bounce back with a strong back half of the year providing more titles are not pushed into 2010 or later, according to NPD.

Reports show that 4 million new players entered the market since 2008, but some are new retail consumers and some are playing free online games and on mobile devices. The blame for this is being put on the economy, and NPD admits this is one of the first months the belt tightening has reflected sales.

“While some of the decline in retail sales could be a migration on the part of consumers to acquiring content via digital distribution, our reports on downloads and subscriptions reveal that it’s not yet having enough impact on the console market to be an overly meaningful factor in the retail down-turn,” according to NPD’s Anita Frazier. “That said, there are increasing avenues for consumers to game, including via mobile devices, and it’s clear the industry is sorting through how to manage all these opportunities while deploying resources appropriately.”

Xbox 360 was the only platform to have a sales increase over June 2008, and Wii sales while down are still strong.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 debuted in June and almost doubled the units sold in the first month compared to PGA Tour ’05 and ’07, which sold 272K units each.

This is the first month since launch that Wii Play has not been featured in the top 10 list for the month. However, good news for Nintendo come with Wii Motion Plus, which sold 169K units in its first month at retail, not counting those bundled with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10.

The video games industry realized a significant decline when compared to June 2008, the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. The first half of the year has been tough largely due to comparisons against a stellar first half performance last year, but still, this level of decline is certainly going to cause some pain and reflection in the industry.

Because the question invariably arises, this month saw the greatest year-over-year monthly decline since September 2000 when the industry declined 41% .

Even with the industry down 12% year-to-date, with a strong back-half performance, full year sales could still be flat to slightly up to 2008′s record-breaking performance. Of course, that could be put further at risk if more highly anticipated titles move out of 2009 into 2010 or later.

Our latest gamer segmentation study suggests that more than 4 million new ‘players’ have entered the games market since last year, so certainly the decline isn’t due to less folks participating in the industry . Some of these are new retail consumers and some are playing online for free, and others are a mix of both. The trick is to continue to figure out how to monetize all the gaming that is going on across PC, mobile devices, and video game systems. Certainly there is plenty of opportunity in the industry, but the rate of change in many areas of the industry presents a lot of challenge as well .

This is one of the first months where I think the impact of the economy is clearly reflected in the sales numbers. While the aggregate of content may not be as strong as what we saw in the first half of last year, and while the consumer base willing to spend dollars on hardware at the current price points may be thinning, the size of the decliine could also point to consumers deferring limited discretionary spending until a big event (must-have new title, hardware price cut) compels them to spend.

The Xbox 360 is the only platform to have realized a unit sales increase over last June. YTD, both the 360 and NDS have generated an increase in unit sales. Although many track month-to-month sales changes, comparisons to May must take into account that June is a five-week reporting month while May spanned four weeks.

While Wii sales are down from last year, the platform is still realizing very strong sales month after month. Compared against historical performance of other systems this far into the console lifecycle, the unit sales performance is still strong.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 had a great debut at retail, nearly doubling the units sold in the first month at market of the previous best-two launches: PGA Tour ’05 and ’07, which sold 272K units each in their respective launch months . No doubt a combination of moving the release date of the game out of “Madden Month” into June where golf was heavily televised due to the U.S. Open as well as well-received new game features and attributes helped contribute to this success.

Interestingly, this is the first month since its launch at retail 29 months ago that Wii Play has not been featured in the top 10 list for the month. That’s an astonishing record for this industry.

Prototype was the top selling title for the month, realizing roughly 600K units at retail across the two platforms. While this is solid performance for new IP, it’s a relatively modest sales figure for any game capturing the top spot for the month.

While some of the decline in retail sales could be a migration on the part of consumers to acquiring content via digital distribution, our reports on downloads and subscriptions reveal that it’s not yet having enough impact on the console market to be an overly meaningful factor in the retail down-turn. That said, there are increasing avenues for consumers to game, including via mobile devices, and it’s clear the industry is sorting through how to manage all these opportunities while deploying resources appropriately.

Wii Motion Plus sold 169K units in its first month at retail, not counting, of course, those bundled with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10.

Of the various accessory types, Video Game Point and Subscription cards realized an increase of 67% in dollar sales in June ’09 as compared to last year.

PlayStation 2 152.7K
PlayStation 3 164.7K
PSP 163.5K
Xbox 360 240.6K
Wii 361.7K
Nintendo DS 766.5K

PROTOTYPE (360) 419.9K
UFC 2009:UNDISPUTED (360) 338.3K
EA SPORTS ACTIVE BUNDLE (Wii) 289.1K
TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 10* (Wii) 272.4K
WII FIT (Wii) 271.6K
FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 (360) 260.8K
FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4 (PS3) 210.3K
MARIO KART W/WHEEL (WII) 202.1K
RED FACTION:GUERRILLA (360) 199.4K
INFAMOUS (PS3) 192.7K

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5 Comments

  1. Axle

    VG247:

    Thanks for posting the NPD data. I find it really useful for my research. Just because no-one comments on it, doesn’t mean it’s not important!

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Blerk

    There’s an awesome leak of ALL the data this month. It’s on EG’s forum thread if you’re interested, I doubt they’d be able to post it here without incurring the wrath of NPD.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Jonathan Cullen

    Just looked them up, Conduit did baaaaaaaad.

    Well, not bad, but it does prove the point of hardcore games not selling well on the Wii.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Jonathan Cullen

    And Killzone 2 and Halo Wars still fighting each other, pulling the hair and shizz.

    Halo 3 easily outbeat it though (Killzone 2).

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Michael O'Connor

    More long articles like this Steph. <3

    #5 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.