The NPD Group has given the gaming press and public a scare in recent days. Quite fitting for the month that contains the tradition known as Halloween, I suppose. They almost revoked publicizing the monthly information about the game entities in the face of “rogue sites” (most likely referring to up and coming independent free-access sales tracker VGChartz.com) who they feel use their info inappropriately among other self-stated reasons for revoking the data. The outcry from the public and the chance for the smaller sales-tracker to gain more credibility may have had a hand in reversing their stance.
But the fright continues with the revelation that October’s NPD figures for the first time don’t include sales from giant retail chain Toys ‘R’ Us, an event that NPD doesn’t feel is of crucial importance since newer-added retail sources (like Amazon.com) balance out the lost ones and this kind of thing has happened before. For many the NPD is the Holy Grail and last word for sales figures of any given industry they cover. Chinks on the armor of this nature may compel some to consider co-existing sales-tracking centers to accompany NPD’s figures no longer confident that NPD is the last word. Scary, huh?
In other frightening campfire tales, sales for October put the candle in the pumpkin for the retailers’ Jack-O-Lanterns. Where the nature of the Gregorian Calendar gave September a 5-week tracking period, October was given a 4-week period and still the sales matched and surpassed the numbers of the previous month. The U.S. has some Killer Thrillers here tonight. Let’s check National Purchase Diary’s USA estimates for October in all its horror.
Nintendo’s Wii returns to full moon status with a harvest of 519,000 chalk-colored craftworks for October. In September, the dark horse in plain sight hunted up 501,000 parcels which shows a pound-for-pound strong increase given that September’s tracking period was 5 weeks and October’s was for 4 (partial weeks on the calendar blur into the next month to make a full week). With this kind of growing momentum each successive month, November’s numbers should be a “whew boy!” affair.
Nintendo’s DS tricked some treats to the tune of 458,000 fruit fold-ups sold in the month of Canadian Thanksgiving. For September, Dual Screen moved 495,800 of its kind seemingly showing a small decrease when not taking into account September’s 5-week period and October’s 4-week period. Amazing. This system has almost never fallen behind 400,000 units sold monthly all year. How many letters does it take to spell success? Two. D and S.
Microsoft’s XBox 360 had its own Oktoberfest with 366,000 mechs with green aspects for the month of the World Series. In fall’s beginning, FPS-Central sold 527,800 letter-marked boxes showing a predictable decrease in the afterglow of Halo 3. Price cuts, new packages, and hit games seem to have brought XBox 360 to a new level. Where it had once been under the weight of the long-running PlayStation 2 it now regularly surpasses the 6th generation record-seller showing the current generation is in full swing. The holidays will be good to Microsoft’s game-monster.
Sony’s PlayStation Portable monster-mashes for the PlayStation Family (*snap, snap*) with 286,000 hi-fidelity handhelds sold in the month for All Hallows’ Even. In the ninth month named after Latin’s number seven, the PSP sold 284,500 to the VIP (very important people) who make up its buyer base showing a virtual standstill in number if you don’t account for the NPD week differentials. The new Slim & Lite model along with PSP’s earlier price cuts this year have pushed this portable to the top of Sony’s offerings in many places around the world including here. Nintendo’s monopoly on the handheld sector has a strong challenger in the PSP.
Sony’s PlayStation 2 hears the wolves howling eerily in the misty night air with 184,000 slim ‘n’ silvers sold in month originally known as ‘eighth month’. In Labor Day’s September, the Kreation of Kutaragi moved 215,000 units showing an on-the-surface decrease that pound for pound is probably about the same weight when factoring in the NPD week differential between the two months. The long-lasting machine still has some juice left in it but chances are this year will probably be its last holiday season in the limelight.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 lives a perpetual Friday the 13th with 121,000 Blu-ray Bombers moved off the shelves in the month where the leaves turn brown. In that September to Remember, Kutaragi’s pride and joy sold 119,400 measures of merchandise which shows a notable increase for this month when you think on how September figure took 5 weeks to build. All the adjusting of hard drive models from 20GB to 40GB to 60GB to 80GB stock-wise and pricewise is not exactly lighting campfires under this marshmallow to keep the evil spirits away. Sony can only hope this is all a terrible dream from some B-movie horror flick because it’s looking bleak for the holidays. Time to Columbus some new ground QUICK!
Hmmm. Looks like the ghouls have finally come for Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. Much like the Gamecube before it, it’s time to pay our last respects to this marvel of machinery. GBA, may you rest in peace with the Crypt Keeper forever and ever. And then there were 6. *sniff sniff* I’m gonna miss that little SNES in a pocket. *crying noises*
In the total summary, the U.S. videogame industry drew in $1.1 billion in total sales this October, a rising of 73% compared to last October. Out of this billion-dollar figure, total hardware sales were champagne-corked up 127% to $469.7 million with the home console segment bursting up an amazing 195% to $349.6 million and the handheld segment raising up 36% to $120.1 million. In addition, total software sales stepped up 39% to $513.9 million with the home console segment moved on up 45% to $412.5 million and the handheld segment hopping up 19% to 101.5 million. Furthermore, total game accessory sales spring boarded up 94% to $130 million.
Year-to-date comparisons between Octobers now and then show a 49% rabbit jump to $10.5 billion for the industry total which tells the scary tale of retail clerk heartache as the customers seem ready to stress them to their limits buying up so much gaming merchandise for the gift-giving season. All percentages refer to year-to-year comparisons between October 2007 and October 2006, by the way.
As for the games picked up in October the companies surely had the customers doing the Thriller dance all the way to the checkout counter snapping up loads of Guitar Heroes, Orange Boxes, and, yes, even more Halo 3. I’ve never seen more wannabe rock stars in my life! And Nintendo’s evergreen presence with Wii Play on the top ten adds on to the amazement. With all the product picked up I can just hear the execs of the companies doing a creepy Vincent Price laugh in response to the frenzy. The horror! The horror!
NPD’s Top Hardware Sales in October
Nintendo Wii – 519,000
Nintendo DS – 458,000
Microsoft XBox 360 – 366,000
Sony PlayStation Portable – 286,000
Sony PlayStation 2 – 184,000
Sony PlayStation 3 – 121,000
Nintendo Game Boy Advance – R.I.P.
NPD’s Top Ten Software Sales in October
1. Halo 3 (X360) – 433,800
2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (X360) – 383,200*
3. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) – 286,300*
4. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (PS2) – 271,100*
5. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) – 262,800
6. Wii Play (Wii) – 239,700
7. The Orange Box (X360) – 238,400
8. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock [without guitar pack-in] (PS2) – 231,700*
9. FIFA Soccer 08 (PS2) – 129,700
10. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day (DS) – 116,900
As a bonus, NPD also went through the trouble of showing the Top 10 games of 2007 so far. Multi-platform titles and packages are all counted together.
NPD’s Top Software Sales for 2007-to-Date
Halo 3 (X360) – 3,700,000
Madden NFL 2008 (All) – 3,200,000
Guitar Hero II (All) – 2,800,000
Wii Play (Wii) – 2,500,000
Pokémon Diamond (DS) – 2,100,000
Pokémon Pearl (DS) – 1,500,000
Spider-Man 3 (All) – 1,400,000
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (All) – 1,400,000
*NPD separated Guitar Hero III’s guitar pack-ins from its guitar-less copies for all consoles. Only the PS2’s guitar-less one made it into the top ten.