The NPD Group has reported that games retail hits its lowest point in years during May, dropping 14 percent on last year’s figures to $743.1 million.
“Keeping in mind that these sales figures represent just the new physical portion of the market for video game hardware, software, and accessories and not the growing portion of the industry that is comprised of digital format content distribution, May 2011 was the lowest month of sales for the industry since October 2006,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said.
LA Noire and Brink topped the charts, but weren’t enough to rally May’s sales to match last year’s.
“There were 42 new SKU’s introduced in May as compared to 58 last May, and 72 in 2009,” Frazier commented.
Sales across all genres except shooter, dance and adventures were down.
Every eligible console posted a year-on-year decrease in software sales except the Xbox 360, which managed a one percent increase.
“Keep in mind that purchases of content are increasingly occurring in digital format,” Frazier reiterated, “And May saw a notable digital release in the second map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops … Undoubtedly, this shifted some dollars that might have been spent on new physical content at retail.”
The top ten physical sales across all platforms ran as follows:
- L.A. Noire (360, PS3)
- Brink (360, PS3, PC)
- Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC
- Portal 2 (360, PS3, PC)
- Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3, 360)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC)
- Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Wii, 360, PS3)
- NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, PC)
- Just Dance 2 (Wii)
- Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, NDS, 360, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)
Hardware sales dropped five percent year-on-year to $228.9 million, despite a 28 percent increases in combined PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 sales.
Microsoft reported shifting 270,000 consoles over the course of the month, but Sony saw 14 percent increase in PlayStation 3 sales over May 2010 with around 140,000 sold, continuing a trend from last month.
Frazier said the 3DS had not performed well, and attributed declining total hardware sales to the tailing off of the Wii.
However, the Wii is still the best-selling platform of this generation, and Frazier predicts it will maintain the largest install base by May 2012.
The UK also saw a year-on-year decrease in sales during May.
According to Wedbush Morgan, through May, US cumulative hardware sales for Wii were 36 million units, Xbox 360 were 27 million units, and PS3 were 17 million units. The US hardware installed base currently stands at 149 million current generation consoles (including 69 million handhelds) as of the end of May (up from 141 million at year-end 2010, with handhelds comprising 66 million of the total).