Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Uncharted 2' top the Oct. sales chart

Nov 12, 2009
'Uncharted 2' top the Oct. sales chart
Mike Snider

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was the top-selling video game of October, according to market tracking firm The NPD Group.

Other top performers: NBA 2K10, which sold 575,000 across all platforms, and Borderlands, with 530,000 total on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Overall video game sales ($1.07 billion) were down 19% compared to last year ($1.3 billion), however, the month resulted in the third best October in sales on record, behind October 2007 and October 2008, NPD's Anita Frazier said. She forecasts that the industry is on track to sell $20 billion to $21 billion by year-end, which would put it just below last year's total of $21.3 billion.

"The continued economic turmoil, and in particular the troubling unemployment rate, is undoubtedly impacting industry sales," she says. "Our latest Economy Tracker indicated that although consumers' general opinion about the economy is improving, their outlook on their own personal situation is worsening. If consumers' personal outlook continues to erode, they could very well be much more conservative with their holiday shopping this year."

She predicted a strong November with "the excitement already being generated by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the incredible buzz around upcoming titles, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Assassin's Creed II, November is poised to be a strong month for the industry."

The Nintendo Wii regained the top spot as the highest-selling console of the month. Consumers bought 506,900 Wiis, compared to 320,600 PS3s and 249,700 Xbox 360s. Sales of game systems have dropped 10% (in units), compared to the same time period last year, Frazier said. "Recent price cuts helped spur a one to two-month increase in unit sales, and this month's Wii sales reflect that boost, but the other platforms have not sustained the sales momentum post price reduction," she said. "It will be difficult to discern the impact of the price cut into November and December just because those are always the two best months for the industry anyway, and we'd expect to see a sizeable lift in hardware unit sales as a result of seasonality."

Software sales decreased 18% for the month, but only 11% on a units basis, she said." The average retail price of software decreased 8%, which led to the greater dollar sales decline."

Roughly half the sales of No. 2 game Wii Fit Plus came in sales of the edition with a balance board, "which points to a lot of newcomers to the franchise," Frazier said.

For NBA 2K10, October's top game across all platforms, "it was a great launch for the game, outselling last year's NBA 2K9 by 60% in its launch month," Frazier said. "Sales on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms improved substantially over last year."

Even though sales of music games continued to drop -- amounting to $53 million, compared to $137 million in October 2008, Frazier said that "both Rock Band: Beatles and Guitar Hero 5 have the potential to be good gifting items for the holidays, so we should expect to see an uptick in sales over the next two months."

Guitar Hero games sold a total of $12 million in October. "That's really down a lot year-over-year," said Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter. Culprit of the lower than expected hardware sales: "that damn recession."

Just missing the top 10: Brütal Legend. The game, says analyst Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research. "going to be a slow burner. It reminds me a lot of Jack Black movies. I never seen one in theaters, but for some reason I own all his DVDs. Brütal Legend is a very entertaining game. It's just not a first choice game. It's one you are going to eventually pick up."

NPD's Top 10 Games for October

1) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Oct., PlayStation 3) 537,000
2) Wii Fit Plus (Oct., Wii) 441,000
3) Borderlands (Oct., Xbox 360) 418,000
4) Wii Sports Resort (July, Wii) 314,000
5) NBA 2K10 (Oct., Xbox 360) 311,000
6) Halo 3: ODST (Sept., Xbox 360) 271,000
7) NBA 2K10 (Oct., PS3) 213,000
8) Forza Motorsport 3 (Oct., Xbox 360) 175,000
9) Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Sept, NDS) 169,000
10) FIFA Soccer 10 (Oct., Xbox 360) 156,000

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