Game Consoles – October 2008 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

The October 2008 NPD sales figures are out, and there are no big surprises. There is the usual sales bump associated with the holiday season, and we get to see the Xbox 360 price drop in full effect, plus LittleBigPlanet and how it did for the PS3. 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 October are below, ranked in order of number of sales:

  • Wii: 803,000 (Total: 13.4 million)  
  • DS: 491,000 (Total: 23 million)  
  • Xbox 360: 371,000 (Total: 11.6 million)
  • PSP: 193,000 (Total: 12.9 million)
  • PS3: 190,000 (Total: 5.7 million)
  • PS2: 136,000 (Total: 42.9 million)

    NPD October 2008 Game Console US Sales Figures

    NPD October 2008 Game Console US Sales Figures


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

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


    My prediction last month was:

    The next month should see an increase in sales all around, but I suspect it will be the same as this months in terms of the ranking, the Wii ahead by quite a bit, the Xbox 360 following with the PS3 third (in between are the portables, while the PS2 is sixth). Common sense really. See you next month.

    Looks like I was right on the mark there. Not too hard as basically it’s the same as last month, with more sales. Actually, last month’s figures included 5 week’s worth, while this month’s is only 4 week’s worth. This explains why the figures show some sales drops, but despite having a week less to work with, both the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 rose in sales. Taking this into account, Wii sales rose by 46.1%, Xbox 360 sales rose by 33.7%, but PS3 sales only rose  2.4%.

    The Xbox 360 price cut continues to pay dividends for Microsoft, as it outsold the PS3 once more, although not by the 2:1 margin that analysts originally predicted (although it was pretty close). This is looking like a very good holiday season for the Xbox 360, and software sales reflect this too (more on this later on). A 33% sales increase in a month is fantastic, especially when PS3 sales only rose a pitiful 2.4%. No doubt the current economic crisis and the high cost of PS3s are a contributing factor, as well as the price crash of Blu-ray standalones making the PS3 a much less attractive prospect for potential Blu-ray owners. The PS3 looked like to be running away with it earlier this year, but with price cuts and key software releases, Microsoft are now back in it. 

    The Wii continues to thrive, and if you want one this holiday season, you better buy one now because it looks like stock shortages might still be an issue if sales continue like this. It’s amazing to think that the Wii could be the “must have” item three holiday periods in a row!

    The same cannot be said of the PS3, which is struggling now due to Sony’s insistence on not dropping prices. On value, I agree that the PS3 is worth the price as you get an excellent media hub, game console and Blu-ray player. But as things are developing, now is not the time to go for premium hardware, even if it is well worth the price. The continued sales surge of the much cheaper Wii and (after the price drops) the Xbox 360 shows that price is the main factor in driving sales, not features. At least for this holiday. Time is still on Sony’s side though as their superior hardware can last longer without a major update than either Nintendo or Microsoft’s console, and Blu-ray’s gradual uptake will help too. But you can’t but feel that this holiday season, especially with the long awaited LittleBigPlanet being released, should have been Sony’s if only they dropped prices just a little bit. 

    It was about this time last year that I started the NPD analysis feature on this blog, and so we actually have the sales data from exactly a year ago to compare right here. The two monthly charts from a year apart actually looks very similar, with the PS3 doing better than the same time last year. The Wii is clearly the winner though, and to a lesser extent, the DS. Both have actually managed to keep up sales, and in Wii’s case, increase them significantly. Sony’s other two products, the PSP and PS2 just cannot keep up, while the PS3 has made up some ground, but not significantly enough to suggest it will beat either the Wii or the 360 in the current generation console war, not yet anyway. 

    Moving onto software sales, this is another big Xbox 360 month. While the Wii has overtaken the Xbox 360 in the total number of consoles figures, the Xbox 360 continues to outperform the Wii in software sales, although the difference is much less so than a year ago, thanks to the must-have trio of Wii Fit, Mario Kart and Wii Play. And this may be the problem for the Wii. Other consoles have top games come and go every month, but the Wii’s top entries are always dominated by these three titles. This is a good thing in that it shows that sales of these games/devices can stand up to the test of time, but less so for developers trying to market Wii games and seeing none of their efforts reaching the top 10. The Xbox 360, on the other hand, has successfully taken the number 1 spot so many times this year and all with different games, and from different developers. This month, it’s Fable II, a Microsoft own production (and obviously exclusive to the 360/PC) that took the top spot. The PS3, due to the lower number of consoles out there in people’s homes (and many of them servicing as media hubs/Blu-ray players, rather than game consoles), continues to do poorly. LittleBigPlanet, which has received rave reviews, should have been the title to kick start the PS3’s software dominance, but it was barely able to command a spot in the top 10 (of course, we’ll have to wait until next month’s figures to see if this was due to it being released later in the cycle than the other games). I must say I’m a bit surprised at LBP’s low sales volume, being outsold by Sony’s other effort (SOCOM). Last on the list is Dead Space, a very capable game that is currently scaring the bejesus out of gamers (and onlookers) all around the world. Overall, the Xbox 360 had a massive 54.9% of the top 10 sales with 5 titles, the Wii next on 31.7% with the same 3 titles as usual, and the PS3 at last place with only 13.4% of the top 10. Here’s the complete list of the top 10 software sales:

    1. Fable II (Xbox 360, Microsoft) – 790,000
    2. Wii Fit w/Board (Wii, Nintendo) – 487,000   
    3. Fallout 3 (Xbox 360, Bethesda) – 375,000
    4. Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Wii, Nintendo) – 290,000
    5. Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii, Nintendo) – 282,000
    6. Saint’s Row 2 (Xbox 360, THQ) – 270,000
    7. SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Confrontation (PS3, Sony) – 231,000
    8. LittleBigPlanet (PS3, Sony) – 215,000
    9. NBA 2K9 (Xbox 360, Take-Two) – 202,000
    10. Dead Space (Xbox 360, EA) – 193,000

    So that’s it for this month. No big surprises next month, I don’t think, so I won’t even bother making a prediction. Same as before. Which I guess is a prediction of sorts. Anyway. See you then.


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

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

      […] how soft the retail sector is supposed to be right now. You can read last month’s analysis here. The figures are from NPD, a marketing research firm that releases games console sale data every […]

    2. - stories - 2009-03-21-Wii-are-still-buying Says:

      […] isn’t difficult to see why these two are at the top of their respective ladders , either. Both are substantially lower priced than their competitors, and more family oriented. […]

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

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

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