Game Consoles – August 2008 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

Welcome to another edition of our monthly NPD US game console sales figure analysis. We are now looking at officially the slowest months in terms of video games sales, at least when hardware is concerned (software sales depends on which titles are released during the month). You can read last month’s analysis here. The figures are from NPD, a marketing research firm that releases games console sale data every month.

The figures for US sales in August are below, ranked in order of number of sales:

  • DS: 518,000 (Total: 22 million)  
  • Wii: 453,000 (Total: 11.9 million)  
  • PSP: 253,000 (Total: 12.5 million)
  • Xbox 360: 195,000 (Total: 10.9 million)
  • PS3: 185,000 (Total: 5.3 million)
  • PS2: 144,000 (Total: 42.6 million)
  • NPD August 2008 Game Console US Sales Figures

    NPD August 2008 Game Console US Sales Figures

    NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of August 2008)

    NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of August 2008)

    My exact prediction last month was this:

    I think it will be somewhat similar, maybe the Xbox 360 can overtake the PS3, maybe it won’t. There won’t be any dramatic changes, I don’t think.

    I basically didn’t make a prediction last month, other than to say that the Xbox 360 and PS3 sales would be close. And I guess I was right on this account, since the Xbox 360 managed to outsell the PS3 by a nose this month. The other “surprise” was the drop in Wii sales, but as mentioned before, August is a slow month.

    The Xbox 360 managed to beat the PS3 by a whisker this month, thanks largely to the price cuts. The momentum is definitely with the PS3 at the moment, because even with the price cuts, the Xbox 360 could not significantly outsell a PS3 that is double the price (360 Arcade versus 80 GB PS3). From Microsoft’s perspective, and coming from the relatively failure of the original Xbox, if it can keep up sales with the PS3 while getting some penetration into the casual gaming market dominated by the Wii, then it should be happy with the outcome now-gen console war. The problem is that you feel with a price cut or two, the PS3 will start selling in much greater numbers as PS2 users start to upgrade, and the Xbox 360 won’t be able to compete. And a cheaper PS3 will probably mean fewer Xbox 360 sales as well, so it’s doubly hit. Microsoft needs to come up with something more than price cuts to entice users. If you want to best console from a technology point of view, then it’s the PS3. If you want the most fun console, then it’s the Wii. So where does the Xbox 360 come into all of this? That’s the problem Microsoft has to solve.

    PS3 hardware sales is still largely dependent on software releases, as people are still searching for a reason to upgrade to the PS3, rather than doing it naturally. The price is the main issue here, but the good news for Sony is that price related problems are the easiest to solve (solution: cut them when you can afford to). LittleBigPlanet will be released next month, so that’s another eagerly awaited title that will help with sales. 

    As mentioned before, Wii sales dropped due to decreased damand and stock issues. The Wii hype will die off eventually, but there will always be a ready supply of casual gamers wanting to experience the Wii. All the “Wii is dying” stories following the release of the NPD figures are a bit over the top really.

    Now let’s have a look at the software charts. August was pretty much dominated by Madden ’09, with the title in the top 10 an amazing four times for each different console, accounting for 61% of top 10 sales (by unit). Despite the gains the PS3 is making, the raw numbers still favour the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 version of Madden stole the show in August with one million sales and 28% of the top 10. The PS3 version of Madden was next on the list, but only about 65% of the sales the 360 version made. The Wii version of Madden made the top 10 too, but it was at 9th position. It shows that with traditional titles such as Madden, the 360/PS3 (and even PS2) still has more selling power than the Wii. Overall, Xbox 360 sales accounted for 37.7% of the top 10. Wii software sales are still relatively strong, accounting for 29.2% of top 10 sales. The PS3 was third with 18.1%. Here’s the complete list of the top 10 software sales (check out the links for cheapest, usually Asian but region-free, version of the game available from Play-Asia, for example, Madden 09 for 360/PS3: both under $50):

    1. Madden NFL 09 (Xbox 360, EA) – 1,000,000
    2. Madden NFL 09 (PS3, EA) – 643,000
    3. Madden NFL 09 (PS2, EA) – 424,500
    4. Wii Fit w/Board (Wii, Nintendo) – 394,900   
    5. Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Wii, Nintendo) – 328,700
    6. Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii, Nintendo) – 200,200
    7. Soul Calibur IV (Xbox 360, Namco) – 174,000
    8. Too Human (Xbox 360, Microsoft) – 168,200 
    9. Madden NFL 09 (Wii, EA) – 115,800
    10. Guitar Hero: On Tour (Nintendo DS, Activision) – 111,200

    And so it’s prediction time for next month. Don’t know why, but I really don’t want to make a prediction for September. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be a good seller. Lego Batman could make the top 10 too. But both of these are multi-platform releases, so you would think the Xbox 360 would benefit more, but with the price cuts already done with, the momentum could swing back to the PS3 again. The Wii will sell well, and probably recover a bit just in time for the holiday season. More of the same it is then. See you next month.


    3 Responses to “Game Consoles – August 2008 NPD Sales Figure Analysis”

    1. Weekly News Roundup (21 September 2008) « Blog Archive « DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

      […] it, or maybe last week’s topics were just too interesting (Spore DRM, mainly). I posted the analysis of the August 2008 NPD figures, and my broken PS3 should be returned to me early next week (fingers crossed that it’s […]

    2. Game Consoles - September 2008 NPD Sales Figure Analysis « Blog Archive « DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

      […] positioned themselves best for this upcoming holiday season. You can read last month’s analysis here. The figures are from NPD, a marketing research firm that releases games console sale data every […]

    3. Game Consoles – August 2009 NPD Sales Figure Analysis « Blog Archive « DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

      […] figures for US sales in July 2009 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (August 2008 figures also shown, including percentage […]

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