US game sales down 31%

Port Washington, NY – Sales of video games in the US dropped to $1.17 billion in June – almost a third down on the same month last year – the biggest drop for nine years. Hardware sales were down to $382.62 million for the month, compared with $617.25 million in June 2008.

Market research outfit NPD Group says the only platform that saw year on year growth was Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

“The first half of the year has been tough largely due to comparisons against a stellar first-half performance last year,” says NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “This level of decline is certainly going to cause some pain and reflection in the industry. This is one of the first months where I think the impact of the economy is clearly reflected in the sales numbers.”

US sales to date are 12 percent down on this time last year, but releases of new titles could still result in the annual total matching or slightly surpassing last year’s record-high revenues, adds Frazier. Radical Entertainment’s Prototype was ranked the top selling videogame for the month, with some 600,000 copies sold.

Referring to Take Two’s announcement to delay the release of Bioshock until next year, she warned that any recovery would be put at risk if more high profile games slipped into 2010 or later.

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