Game Consoles – June 2009 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

Another month, and another edition of the NPD Video Games Sales Figure Analysis. The last few months has seen the video game industry hit hard by the current economic woes, with sales numbers retreating. Elsewhere, there’s talk of green shoots and a recovery, but has it happened in the video game industry? June’s figures should provide further evidence as to whether the slump is easing, or it just beginning. The figures are from NPD, a marketing research firm that releases games console sale data every month.

The figures for US sales in June 2009 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (June 2008 figures also shown, including percentage change):

  • DS: 766,500 (Total: 32.1 million; June 2008: 783,000 –down 2%)
  • Wii: 361,700 (Total: 20.6 million; June 2008: 666,700 – down 57%)
  • Xbox 360: 240,600 (Total: 15.5 million; June 2008: 219,800 – up 9%)
  • PS3: 164,700 (Total: 7.9 million; June 2008: 405,500 – down 59%)
  • PSP: 163,500 (Total: 15.3 million; June 2008: 337,400 – down 52%)
  • PS2: 152,700 (Total: 44.2 million; June 2008: 188,800 – down 19%)
NPD June 2009 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD June 2009 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of June 2009)

NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of June 2009)

My prediction from last month was:

So the prediction is the same as this month, with the PS3 numbers slightly higher still but maybe not high enough to beat the Xbox 360. I can see Prototype (the Xbox 360 version) being the top seller for the month, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against inFAMOUS which has received better review ratings (although the “100″ ratings given out by a few places are a bit over the top).

The PS3 numbers were higher, yes, but it wasn’t nearly enough to beat the Xbox 360. Prototype (as you will see below) was this month’s top seller, and it stacked up pretty well against inFAMOUS, which slipped all the way back to tenth. Had the game’s release been bought forward a few week, or pushed back to be released in June, then inFAMOUS may have even made a couple of spots higher in May, or even 2nd spot in June. Sony made the same mistake with Killzone 2. And yes, the “10” ratings is still over the top for what is a very good game, but not “perfect”.

While we’re talking about Sony, let’s look at their figures. Again, and continuing the trend since November of last year (that’s 8 months in a row, for those that are counting), all three PlayStation platforms undersold the same month a year ago. The economy (combined with Sony’s phobia of a price drop) has a lot to do with it, but that’s mainly the PS3 – Nintendo and Microsoft have been able to get year-on-year increases from time to time. The PSP Go won’t be released until October, which may be the first chance that Sony will get to break this trend of year-on-year shrinkage. But the PS2 has definitely had its time and official retirement can’t come sooner. Maybe when it is officially gone, Sony can concentrate fully on the PS3 and we’ll finally see a price cut. The PS3 Slim? I’ll believe it when I see it for pre-order on Amazon.

Nintendo’s DS (or DSi, to be more precise), it selling well, which bodes well for Sony’s PSP Go when it finally gets released in October – and the DSi isn’t even a brand new system, just an update. The Wii, however, is struggling a bit. By struggling, it still managed to easily beat the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but next month’s Wii MotionPlus plus the MotionPlus enable games such as Wii Sports Resort and EA Tennis, should maybe give the Wii a slight bounce. But a bounce might not occur at all, as the Wii’s extraordinary sales record may be to blame – has everyone who wants a Wii got one already? The saturation point may have been reached.

So the only people happy this month are Microsoft, with the Xbox 360 recording yet another year-on-year growth, and no price cut this month either.  9% growth isn’t something to be sneezed at, not for this year, and it shows that Microsoft has been shrewd in its price cutting strategy, as well as the wooing of game developers that has been a core strategy since inception. Just count the number of PlayStation exclusives that are no longer, and then count the reverse, and you can see why the Xbox 360 is winning against the PS3 (for now, at least). To read an interview in which Microsoft’s joy is revealed, click here. And with Natal coming next year, the momentum is there for the Xbox 360. The only thing it has to fear, and no it’s not fear itself, but rather a largish PS3 price cut. But Sony are doing all they can to help Microsoft on this front, so who says that friendly competition no longer exists in today’s world. Make that really really friendly competition.

Onto software. More good news for Microsoft, relatively good news (and some bad ones) for Nintendo, and the same story for the PS3. As predicted my yours truly, Prototype for the Xbox 360 was this month’s number one title. Last month’s number one, UFC 2009: Undisputed for the Xbox 360, managed to hold on to the number two spot. And yet, there were still room for two more Xbox 360 titles, Fight Night Round 4 and Red Faction: Guerrilla. For the Wii, the EA Sports Active Bundle continues to sell well, just slightly above the Wii MotionPlus enabled Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (a good preview for what will happen next month, when the Wii Sports Resort gets released bundled with the MotionPlus, and this could spur on sales for Tiger Woods 10 and EA’s Grand Slam Tennis). Wii Fit and Mario Kart round out the Wii top 10’s, but what’s missing is what is interesting: no Wii Play for the first time since, forever (well February 2007 anyway). Maybe time for a new Wii Play bundle that includes the MotionPlus?

And so onto the PS3. Well, Prototype, June’s top hit, was not a hit on the PS3 and I think we all know why: inFAMOUS. Activision will not be happy, but it was just too much asking gamers to buy both the exclusive (and better rated) inFAMOUS and Prototype being so close to each other’s release dates. No wonder Activision threatened to pull support for the PS3 just last month. Prototype was 13th on the top 20 list, 3 places behind inFAMOUS. inFamous should have done much better than it did, for a critically acclaimed exclusive, but just how many PS3 owners are hard core gamers is not an easy question to answer. Certainly less so than the ratio of hardcore versus casual gamers for the PS2 (and the Xbox 360. But that’s partly because the PS3 can do so much, if you want to provide a bit of damning by faint praise. The PS3’s only other top 10 entry was Fight Night Round 4, which gave it at least some good news because it sold very close to the Xbox 360 version, despite the 360’s 2:1 hardware ratio over the PS3. So maybe that hardcore gamer ratio isn’t so bad after all. Overall, the Xbox 360 had 45.9% of the top 10, the Wii had 38.9% and the PS3 had 15.2%. Here’s the complete list of the top 10 software sales:

  1. Prototype (Xbox 360, Activision) – 419,900
  2. UFC 2009 Undisputed (Xbox 360, THQ) – 338,300
  3. EA Sports Active (Wii, EA) – 289,100
  4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Wii, EA) – 272,400
  5. Wii Fit w/Board (Wii, Nintendo) – 271,600
  6. Fight Night Round 4 (Xbox 360, EA) – 260,800
  7. Fight Night Round 4 (PS3, EA) – 210,300
  8. Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Wii, Nintendo) – 202,100
  9. Red Faction: Guerrilla (Xbox 360, EA) – 199,400
  10. inFAMOUS (PS3, Sony) – 192,700

So what will July bring? More of the same, or will be see a Wii bounce? I’m going to bet on a slight increase in Wii sales, but not enough to bring it back to the same levels from earlier this year. The software charts should see domination from the Wii MotionPlus enabled titles, notably Wii Sports Resort. NCAA Football should do well too, so it would be between these two titles that the number one spot is jostled for. Otherwise, business as usual, with an overall uplift as we get closer to the holiday period.

See you next month.


4 Responses to “Game Consoles – June 2009 NPD Sales Figure Analysis”

  1. Weekly News Roundup (19 July 2009) « Blog Archive « DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

    […] DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Just what the world needs, another blog « Game Consoles – June 2009 NPD Sales Figure Analysis […]

  2. MonkeyGibber Says:

    Maybe you can answer this for me…. yes the Xbox sells more than the PS3 but how many of the xbox sales are for the cheap arcade system vs a comparably PS3 priced Elite? I’m thinking that the PS3 sales are people plunking down $399 or so which would put their sales in a much better light.

    Isn’t 164,700 people spending $399 in this economy somehow better than 240,600 people opting for a cheap $199 box that does not even have a hard drive?

  3. DVDGuy Says:

    Yes, as I’ve mentioned many times before, the problem with the PS3 is the price. Cut the price, and there will be more sales. The reason the Xbox 360 sells well is mainly because it’s cheap, and this is also why it is able to sustain growth in a recession. The problem with the PS3 is that instead of price cuts, they have chosen to keep the same price point but increase value (more games bundled, more accessories, bigger HDD). Now this is the same as a price cut, except they’re not giving people the choice of having a cheaper bundle, even if it means a smaller HDD. But the truth is that bigger HDDs are cheap and so Sony can keep on increasing value this way while still reducing cost. And the need to reduce cost comes from having the Blu-ray drive (there was also a delay in release due to the drive, and that’s costly too), and Sony needed to recoup a lot of money from Blu-ray R&D and ongoing Blu-ray promotions. In a sense, they sacrificed the PS3 (as a game console) for Blu-ray, because they thought they could afford to do it since the PS2 totally dominated the scene. They’ve won with Blu-ray, but at what cost?

    Now I’d wager that the average Xbox 360 owner actually spends more on gaming than the average PS3 owner. The console is really just a Trojan horse, afterwards, gamers have to buy games, accessories, and Xbox Live is not free so they would have to pay a yearly subscription to that as well. Then once they’re on Live, they have to purchase arcade games, game add-ons, movies, music … the spending does not stop at the console. The PSN is free, so it partially makes up for the high cost of the console. But the PSN is less of a success than Live, and so there is less money being spent there – Microsoft is very keen to make this point.

    From an economic point of view, every PS3 sold loses money for Sony, and this is one the primary reasons why they are not keen on cutting prices. Every PS3 sold hurts Sony in the short term, especially for those that are using it to play Blu-ray versus actually buying games (yes, Sony gets Blu-ray licensing fees and of course they have their own studios, but it’s still games that make the most money). Game hardware usually don’t make a lot of money, it’s the games that make money, and the Xbox 360 dominates software sales in the US.

    I’m not sure about the cost of the Xbox 360, but given that’s it’s been out for so long and the lack of a costlier Blu-ray drive, Microsoft probably makes some money off each Xbox 360, or at least loses less. And since this analysis is US based looking at US figures, then obviously buying from a US company will be more beneficial for the US economy, as opposed to buying a console from a Japanese firm (although all of them make their consoles in China). Nobody makes as much money as Nintendo though, since they’ve been able to profit from every Wii console sold since release (thanks to its inferior hardware).

    Note that there is a rumour that Microsoft is going to cancel the Arcade bundle, replace it with the Pro and and the Elite the new Pro (with the Natal pack being the new Elite). It is unclear, if this rumour is true, what the price points would be. But it’s a well known fact that the HDD add-ons for the Xbox 360 are way overpriced, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if the “new” bundles replace the old ones at the same price point (so the current Pro will sell at Arcade prices, Elite at Pro prices, and so on).

  4. Game Consoles – June 2010 NPD Sales Figure Analysis | DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

    […] figures for US sales in June 2010 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (June 2009 figures also shown, including percentage […]

About Digital Digest | Help | Privacy | Submissions | Sitemap

© Copyright 1999-2012 Digital Digest. Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited.