As predicted, the NPD is reporting US sales figures took a nosedive for the seventh consecutive month.
The traditionally sluggish month of June saw an overall year-on-year decrease of 30% in total retail spend, from $989 million to $699 million. The last time the NPD reported a year-on-year increase was November 2011, thanks to a holiday glut including record-breaking sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Most significantly, hardware sales fell off sharply, dropping 45%, from $364 million in 2011 to $201 million.
Software sales came in at $328 million, down from 2011's $461 million, representing 29% less of total industry spend than in June last year
Once again, accessories were the only area to show a positive trend - thank, Skylanders! - with a 4% jump on 2011 to hit $169.8 million.
As usual, the NPD hastened to remind us these figures don't necessarily represent the health of the industry as a whole, as they miss several key revenue streams.
“These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50-60% of the total consumer spend on games," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said.
"When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales such as used and rentals at $170 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $491 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in June to be $1.36 billion."
One of the most interesting entries on this month's top ten software charts is an absence. Grashopper Manufacture's Lollipop Chainsaw failed to make the top ten despite favourable reviews and a cult following; it shifted just 107,000 units. The critically-acclaimed developer's last effort, Shadows of the Damned, performed poorly this time last year, too.
Instead it was Lego Batman 2 that stormed to top spot.
"Batman may be on consumer’s minds with Batman: Arkham City also ranking sixth, and with the latest movie, Dark Knight Rises, debuting later in July," Frazier said.
- June 2012 Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only; across all platforms incl. PC)
- Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, 3DS, PSV, PC)
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3, PC)
- Diablo III (PC)
- Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC)
- NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
- Batman Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)
- Pokemon Conquest (NDS)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
- Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
- The Amazing Spider-Man (360, PS3, 3DS, NDS, Wii)
As noted above, hardware sales dropped 45% year on year. The Xbox 360 shifted 257,000 units for the strongest performance, granting Microsoft its 18th consecutive month at the top, but it's a 49% year-on-year decline.
According to Nintendo, the 3DS shifted 155,000 units, an 8% jump on 2011, barely more than little brother the DS with 150,000. The Wii trailed not far behind with 95,000. Both older consoles saw significant year-on-year drops, as you'd expect.
At time of writing, Microsoft and Sony had no comment on June sales results, but Nintendo announced that US sales of the 3DS have passed 5 million units.