Game Consoles – July 2009 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

The July 2009 US video games sales figures are in. The last few months has seen a major contraction of the video gaming market in the US. While the news elsewhere is of a recovery, the video gaming industry is still waiting for a sign which doesn’t seem to be forthcoming at the moment. Many in the industry will hope July will be the turning point, and with the Wii MotionPlus enabled Wii Sports Resorts being released in July, a Wii-led recovery may be just what the doctor ordered. The figures are from NPD, a marketing research firm that releases games console sale data every month.

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

  • DS: 538,900 (Total: 32.6 million; July 2008: 608,000 –down 11%)
  • Wii: 252,500 (Total: 20.8 million; July 2008: 555,000 – down 55%)
  • Xbox 360: 202,900 (Total: 15.7 million; July 2008: 205,000 – down 1%)
  • PSP: 122,800 (Total: 15.4 million; July 2008: 222,000 – down 45%)
  • PS3: 121,800 (Total: 8 million; July 2008: 225,000 – down 46%)
  • PS2: 108,000 (Total: 44.3 million; July 2008: 155,000 – down 30%)
  • NPD July 2009 Game Console US Sales Figures

    NPD July 2009 Game Console US Sales Figures

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

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

    My prediction from last month was:

    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.

    The sea of red you see above should give you clue as to how wrong I was. The only thing I got right was that Wii Sports Resort and NCAA Football would dominate, but there was no uplift for the Wii, and there was no general uplift either. To be fair, I came up with the above prediction based on the misreading of some stats, because July normally is worse than June, and traditionally, August is going to be even worse. It won’t be until September that we will see positive movement, and this is in a normal year where the economy isn’t a huge issue.

    The biggest loser for July was the Wii. Recording a massive 55% drop in sales compared to the same month last year, and now only selling 50,000 more than the Xbox 360, perhaps it’s time Nintendo had a serious look at the pricing policy, because out of all the consoles, the Wii is still the one that has not had either a serious drop in price or an upgrade in terms of features of functionality.

    The second biggest loser is the PS3. Now you should have heard by now all the PS3 Slim related rumours, and not only are Sony going to bring out a sexier console, they’re also going to drop prices (possibly by $100 and 100 Euros in the US/Europe). And if this is true (and I’m not going to fall for it until I read the PR release on, then it couldn’t have come at a better time. Or rather, at a much more needed time. The PS3 is dying right now without a price cut, and even if they don’t bring out the Slim and simply bring out a cheaper SKU, then that will do wonders for it. Otherwise, it’s barely outselling the PS2, which I assume with Sony’s price cut and Slim announcement will mean it becomes an end-of-line product. And the new PSP is also coming at the right time, because it is also dying.

    The DS and the Xbox 360 are the smallest losers, but still losers, for July. The DSi effect it wearing off and it won’t be too long before the DS is also seeing large drops in sales compared to the previous year. The only console to have held on so far this year has been the Xbox 360, and it was only a loser technically this month, a tiny 1% drop compared to July 2008. The price is right, with the Xbox 360 it seems, but with the cheaper PS3 possibly coming in September, Microsoft will have to think up something new to entice users, because there’s only so much it can do in terms of price cuts before they’ll be giving away the console for free. I believe their current plans are to phase out the Arcade model and replace it with the current Pro, making the Elite (120 GB Black version) the mainstream version, with a new Elite coming stuffed with more goodies (and eventually Natal). Will this work? Probably not as effective as Microsoft needs, because Sony has been adding features to the PS3 without much of an effect on sales. If anything, Microsoft needs a Xbox 360 Slim, because the PS3 needs a slim, quieter version much less so than the Xbox 360, notorious for it’s various hardware problems. Making a smaller, cooler (both in the temperature sense and The Fonz sense) and more reliable Xbox 360 will do wonders for the console, and it might actually be cheaper for Microsoft as they can move the CPU/GPU process to a more common one in-line with today’s technology. Then they can bring out Natal and get some of the Wii’s “wow” factor.

    On to software. As expected, Wii Sports Resort was the month’s top selling title. Having played it for the last week, I like it more and more. Not so much the improved accuracy of the Wii-mote thanks to the Wii MotionPlus, but just the new collection of games that makes things a bit fresh as the original Wii Sports is getting a bit stale to be honest. NCAA Football again dominated, just like the same time last year, although both PS3 and Xbox 360 versions sold less than the same time last year, which is a worry considering 8 million more systems were sold between the 12 months. The economy is hitting hard on software, just as hard as it has been on hardware. There are a couple of DS games, plus Wii Fit and Mario Kart still in there (although Wii Play has disappeared for now). So on software terms, it was still a good month for Nintendo as they had 46.1% of the top 10 for the Wii alone (and another 17.5% for the DS). Microsoft was second with 24.6%, and PS3 had the single lone title in the top 10 with 11.8%.

    Here’s the complete list of the top 10 software sales:

    1. Wii Sports Resort (Wii, Nintendo) – 508,200
    2. NCAA Football 10 (Xbox 360, EA) – 376,500
    3. NCAA Football 10 (PS3, EA) – 237,400
    4. Wii Fit w/Board (Wii, Nintendo) – 164,300
    5. Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Wii, Nintendo) – 156,600
    6. Mario Kart (DS, Nintendo) – 132,200
    7. Pokemon Platinum (DS, Nintendo) – 116,400
    8. Fight Night Round 4 (Xbox 360, EA) – 116,400
    9. New Super Mario Bros. (DS, Nintendo) – 101,800
    10. EA Sports Active (Wii, EA) – 96,800

    So prediction time. By this time next month, we should have a good idea whether the PS3 Slim is fact or fiction (if I had to put money on it, I would say ‘fact’), as well as what price cuts there might be. The PS3 Slim, according to rumours, won’t be here until September anyway, so it won’t be before October (when I post the September NPD analysis) before we can see what effects it may have on sales. In the short term though, this could spell a sales drought for the PS3, unless Sony does some pre-emptive price drop for the older SKUs to get rid of stock. August is traditionally also a slow month, so I expect sales to drop further, or at best, stay the same with July levels. The same ordering as this month, most likely. Madden NFL 10 should dominate, along with Wii Sports Resort, and there might be a late month surge in Batman: Arkham Asylum sales.

    See you next month.


    2 Responses to “Game Consoles – July 2009 NPD Sales Figure Analysis”

    1. Weekly News Roundup (16 August 2009) « Blog Archive « DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

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

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

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

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