August game sales caught in downward spiral

San Francisco, Calif. The NPD Group has confirmed that August game sales declined for the sixth consecutive month. However, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich told TG Daily that he expected September sales to show a “double-digit” lift.

“The worst is certainly behind us as I expect September sales to show a nice, double-digit lift over last year. Games like Guitar Hero 5 and Beatles have already come flying out of the gates and combined could drive over $100 million in revenue in the USA, representing almost 13 pecent of expected sales,” explained Divnich.

“October will likely be in the flat range as 2009’s release schedule had a greater focus on releasing AAA titles in September, compared to October last year. November and December are looking to post flattish comps as well, putting sales down 5 percent for the full year.”

Divnich also noted that Batman Arkham Asylum sales were in-line with expectations and indicated a strong showing for the PlayStation 3 SKU.

“The PlayStation 3 SKU gave consumers exclusive content (the ability to play as The Joker) over the Xbox 360 SKU. The sales split was 51/49 in favor of the Xbox 360, typical multiplatform titles would have a spread of 62/38 in favor of the Xbox 360,” opined Divnich. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin to see Microsoft and Sony battle for exclusive content on future multiplatform releases as the results clearly indicate that exclusive content can drive a significant amount of sales.”

Divnich added that the Playstation 3 delivered sales “well above” expectations.

“All of the upside came from the PlayStation 3 Slim, which was leaked to retailers a week earlier than expected. I expect the PlayStation 3 to continue to gain momentum and to further post year-over-year gains through the remainder of the year. August would also mark the first month the PlayStation 3 posted year-over-year gains in 2009.”

NPD analyst Anita Frazier expressed similar sentiments.

“The PS3 was the only platform to realize a year-over-year increase in total software sales and this is reflected in the top 10 list for the month which includes two PS3 games. The PS3 captured the greatest increase month-over-month with unit sales boosted by 72 percent over July levels,” said Frazier.

“The price cuts implemented on the PS3 and 360 hardware already made an impact on unit sales, despite having been executed fairly late in the month.”

Frazier also confirmed that Madden NFL 10 captured the top spot for the month, selling nearly 1.9 million units across its five SKU’s.