NPD October 2010: Xbox and DS lead hardware, Fallout: New Vegas hits software jackpot

By Nathan Grayson, Wednesday, 17 November 2010 04:54 GMT


It has not – for obvious reasons – been an enjoyable 24 hours for the gaming industry. But hey, it’s not quite all doom and gloom, seeing as October swung in and finally saved software sales from their six-month downward tumble. Also, Microsoft’s looking pretty pleased with itself on both the software and hardware fronts. Everyone else, though? Not so much.

Bad news first

October may have been a big money month for software sales ($605 million in revenue for a six percent increase year-over-year), but 2010’s still trailing 2009 overall, posting a total of $5.54 billion in software sales – which puts it seven percent behind the same point last year.

Similarly, total industry revenues – hardware, software, and accessories combined – raked in a good-but-not-good-enough $1.07 billion, a four percent drop from October 2009’s $1.11 billion. That, unfortunately, places the industry’s total revenues for the year eight percent – or $900 million – behind 2009’s by this point.

On the upside, NPD analyst Anita Frazier estimated that retail sales now only account for roughly 70 percent of the market, so the money hasn’t necessarily up and disappeared. Rather, it’s simply moved into the digital market – which NPD is currently unable to gather enough data to cover. And so, we’re falling back on the same mantra we follow when anything goes wrong: blame Farmville.

Xbox 360 goes up, everyone else goes down, down, down

For the second month in a row, Microsoft’s aging-but-not-over-the-hill box saw its sales increase year-over-year for a total of 325,000 units (as reported by Major Nelson). This, the NPD confirmed, puts the Xbox 360 in first place for best-selling home console of 2010 with 3.5 million units so far.

But while Microsoft threw itself a nice little parade, everyone else parked it right under a full-to-bursting raincloud. Overall monthly hardware sales were down a whopping 26 percent year-over-year, totaling out to $280 million versus 2009’s $381 million. Even the PS3’s sales flagged – despite the highly anticipated launch of Sony’s Move motion controller. According to the NPD Group, the Nintendo DS led the pack, but no numbers were provided.

Software weathers mid-year storm, bounces back

As we mentioned earlier, software sales were up six percent year-over-year, and it’s not hard to see why. Blockbusters littered the gaming landscape as pretty much everyone fired off their biggest guns. After the smoke cleared, here’s who remained standing:

1. NBA 2K11 – 1.15 million
2. Fallout: New Vegas (Xbox 360) – 679,000 units
3. Medal of Honor – 1 million
4. Fable III (Xbox 360) – 580,000 units
5. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
6. Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) – 315,000 units
7. Just Dance 2
8. FIFA Soccer 11
9. Madden NFL 11
10. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011

NBA 2K11 took home the World Series Cup Bowl (or whatever it is sports people win), but Fallout New: Vegas sold the most units on a single SKU with 679,000 on Xbox 360. The sales of Fable III and Halo: Reach were both reported by Microsoft.

According to Cowen and Company’s Doug Creutz, Activision’s DJ Hero 2 sold 59K units, Tony Hawk: Shred moved 3K units sold causing Activision sales to be down 28 percent year-over-year, said Creutz via Gamasutra.

EA Sports MMA sold 45Kunits, with EA’s software sales growing 17 percent year-over-year in October, despite Madden NFL being down 18 percent year-over-year.

Eat it, Viacom!

The NPD Group made special mention of Rock Band 3’s place on the charts, noting that its 15th place ranking after only being available for the final six days of the month was indicative of a strong start.

“Based on solid reviews, this game has the potential to perform well over the holidays,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier explained.

Just don’t blame us when you’re sitting alone in a bar – your cup’s contents more tears than alcohol – wondering what could have been, Viacom.

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