US videogame sales sink for fifth consecutive month: NPD

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 14, 2009 at 11:31 AM EST

Figures released Thursday show US videogame sales sank in July for the fifth straight month as bleak economic conditions and a dearth of blockbuster titles weighed down the industry.

US sales of videogame hardware and software in July fell to just shy of 849 million dollars (US), a 29 percent drop from the 1.19 billion dollars in sales racked up in the same month last year, according to NPD Group.

Sales of videogame consoles and handheld devices for the month plunged 37 percent to about 281 million dollars as compared to nearly 448 million dollars in July of 2008, NPD reported.

Overall videogame industry sales in the United States for the first seven months of this year amounted to 8.16 billion dollars, 14 percent lower than they were in the same period last year, according to NPD.

"While year-to-date results are weak, there are some big titles set to be released over the next several months, including Madden this month, which should help spur sales," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

"The worst comps should be behind us."

Japan-based Nintendo's "Sports Resort" tailored to enhanced motion-sensing controllers for Wii consoles was the month's top selling title with slightly more than 508,000 units bought.

The biggest decline in videogame sales was seen in the music and dance genres, according to NPD.

Videogame sales should be boosted with the releases later this year of eagerly-anticipated titles including "The Beatles: Rock Band," "Halo 3: ODST," and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," according to Frazier.

A sequel to an "Assassin's Creed" blockbuster role-playing videogame from France-based Ubisoft is expected to be among the hot titles hitting the market in time for the year-end holiday shopping season.

Nintendo dominated videogame hardware sales with its Wii consoles and DS handheld players, according to NPD.

Nintendo reportedly sold 252,500 Wiis and 538,900 DS devices.

"Hardware sales have slowed considerably on nearly every platform," Frazier said, noting that Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the only console gaining ground this year when it came to sales.

Industry analysts say that the pressure is on for console price cuts to spark sales, and that Sony may be planning a slimmed-down version of its PlayStation 3 videogame console.




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