Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, November 18, 2010

October Sales Were Scary

They aren't laughing at the sales charts.
Numbers have been shared for the game industry's October sales, despite the best efforts of NPD to put their data behind a paywall. As you might have expected, it's not all that pretty. Total sales dropped 4% over last year, but the real downer is the 26% drop in hardware sales. Software sales were actually up by 6%, and accessories (like Kinect and Move) jumped 18%.

Still, when you consider some of the high-profile software releases lately you can understand why that category rose. What's more disturbing is the huge drop in hardware sales. Nintendo sold just 232,000 units of the Wii console for a third-place finish, a decline of 54%, while the PS3 sold 250,000 units (a drop of 22%, but of course last year they had just dropped the PS3 price at this time). The Xbox 360 was the big winner, with sales of  325,000 units, a gain of 30% over last year.

NPD tried to put a happy face on things by saying that, well, these days not all of the revenue in the game industry is captured by these numbers; there's digital distribution, social games, used games, DLC, etc. True enough, but the key fact is most of the companies dependent on the traditional industry revenue don't see much of this other revenue. Sales continue to be in the dumper, and the happy holidays have not yet materialized. Except maybe for Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 continues to gain due to Halo: Reach and Kinect. I wonder if Microsoft will be able to continue their streak... or if Nintendo will manage to break their losing one.

Nintendo can try to say Wii sales will be fine, but the numbers don't bear that out. And while they are looking forward to the 3DS reviving handheld sales, meanwhile DS software sales sank 32%. Not something to make third-party publishers happy with Nintendo. Of the three manufacturers, Nintendo seems most in need of newer hardware, yet is the one most consistently saying they aren't even considering it. Maybe Nintendo wants to get back into playing cards...

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