September 2012 U.S. retail / e-tail video game sales
Analysis below is provided by NPD industry analyst, Liam Callahan
These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50% of the total consumer spend on games. When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in September such as used and rentals at $191MM, 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 $488MM, we would estimate the total consumer spend in September to be just under $1.6B. Our final assessment of the consumer spend in these areas outside of new physical retail sales will be reported in November in our Q3 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report.
NPD Group's U.S. Games Industry Sales (New Physical Sales Channel*) - September 2012
5-week month; Reporting Period 8/26/12 through 9/29/12
Hardware sales are up on an average sales per week basis compared to August for the NDS, 3DS, PS3, Vita and 360, which points to momentum heading into the holiday season.
In mid-September, Nintendo revealed launch details regarding the Wii U. The new console will launch on 11/18 and has the potential to reinvigorate retail sales of hardware.
Madden NFL '13 launched Tuesday, August 28, and sold 11% more units in its debut month than the previous Madden last year. Not only was this an improvement over last year, but the launch of Madden NFL'13 represented the best month one performance at retail for a Madden title ever.
Borderlands 2, with its bazillion guns-a-blazing, exceeded the first month's unit sales of the first game which launched in October 2009 by 234%.
Although a stronger slate of content was released to market as compared to recent past months, weak comparisons to titles like Gears of War 3 and Dead Island from last September led to an overall decrease of 13% as compared to September 2011. When looking past the top-selling game for the month in each of the two comparison months, the remaining top 10 titles sold through 18% fewer units than they did last year.
While year-over-year declines are present in video game software, we are seeing momentum leading up to the holidays when looking at August sales compared to September, which were up 67% on an average sales-per-week basis.
With a diverse range of games from sports games to shooters, Electronic Arts had a strong presence with 5 of the top 10 best-selling titles.
With strong launches like World of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria, Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3 earlier in the year, unit sales of PC Games are up 12% year to date through September. For September, PC Games helped soften entertainment software declines to -13%, as video game sales alone were down 18%.
Eight of the top ten Accessory items were either Skylander character packs or point and subscription card sales, underscoring the fact that these types of accessories are helping offset the losses from accessories linked to hardware sales such as gamepads.