Game sales drop 20% in US for August

NPD acknowledges that the current generation is "showing its age"

The NPD Group has sent its August retail sales report for the US market, and once again it was not a pretty sight, as total industry sales dropped 20 percent to $515.6 million. Total software sales (including PC retail software) dropped 11 percent to $252.8 million while hardware sales declined a sizable 39 percent to $150.6 million. Accessories were also down seven percent to $127.3 million.

"The current hardware systems are showing their age, so it goes without saying that it would be great to have new systems breathe life into traditional retail industry sales," said NPD industry analyst Anita Frazier. "I am anxious to learn more about the Wii U launch later this month. And with any luck we will hear news about other systems on the horizon."

While software sales weren't good, Frazier noted some encouraging news about the market starting to stabilize.

"Within software, the high definition platforms posted only a slight 1 percent decline in dollar sales as compared to last August, pointing to a stabilization in that portion of the retail market for games content," she said.

"One factor contributing to the softness we have seen in retail content sales so far in 2012 has been the decline in the sheer number of new titles. This, however, was not the case in August because there were more new titles when compared to last year; titles with sales that were significantly better than last year's launches. So, what we're seeing impact August results is the domino effect of the light release schedule from earlier in the year. That lack of new releases has had a significant impact on subsequent month's sales," she continued.

As NPD now does every month, the firm reminded us that this report is only one piece of the total games industry revenue pie.

"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," Frazier noted.

"When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in August such as used and rentals at $104MM, 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 $391MM, we would estimate the total consumer spend in August to be $989MM. 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."

Here's the top 10 games chart for the month, which shows THQ's Darksiders II taking the top spot:

Related stories

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare grosses $600m in opening weekend

Latest game from Infinity Ward is fastest-selling entry in the franchise this generation

By Haydn Taylor

Xbox All-Access expands to UK and Australia with Project Scarlett upgrade option

The smartphone-style contract will include a console and Ultimate Game Pass

By Christopher Dring

Latest comments (5)

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios7 years ago
Seems to show NPD is 'showing it's age'. ESTIMATES of digital download? Of course retail sales of physical discs are going down. Digital downloads are increasing. Doesn't convince me sales are slowing at all.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam7 years ago
Also, "within software, the high definition platforms posted only a slight 1 percent decline in dollar sales as compared to last August, pointing to a stabilization in that portion of the retail market for games content". In other words, most of the software sales decline is presumably coming from Wii, DS and PSP.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrzej Wroblewski Localization Generalist, Albion Localisations7 years ago
It isn't the generation that's "showing its age". It's game designers who are showing less and less imagination, and a hermetic world of game design created and maintained by corporations, which will ultimately be their downfall... but the damage still is being and will have been done.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (5)
Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Which makes sense given that those are the platform in transition to new platforms.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 7th September 2012 5:07pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
The 2012 DNA Interactive Entertainment Conference is coming up Oct 2 @ USC Davidson in LA! sign up today here! :
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.