Video game industry weakens as recession worsens

The video game industry continues to be hit hard by the worsening recession, with US sales dropping more than a hefty 10% to $1.6 billion.

Portable game and accessory manufacturers experienced a particularly acute decline in sales, which plummeted 25% from the previous year.

Nevertheless, Microsoft managed to offload 357,000 Xbox 360 units – up a very respectable 66 percent from August 2009.

 In sharp contrast, Nintendo and Sony sold just between 226.0K (PS3) and 244.3K (Wii) systems.

“While the [Xbox 360] system achieved significant year-over-year gains, sales softened versus what occurred in July,” explained NPD analyst Anita Frazier. 

“That said, with Halo: Reach coming to market next week, if hardware sales react in a similar fashion to what was experienced when Halo 3 was launched in September 2007, September could be a huge sales month for Xbox 360 hardware.”

According to Frazier, the Xbox 360 install base is currently about triple what it was when Halo 3 was launched.

“[As such], the potential audience for Reach is significantly larger. Between the size of the potential audience, the quality of the game previews, and the hefty marketing program behind the game, we can expect big numbers to be reported with September results.”

Frazier also confirmed that EA’s Madden NFL 11 sold the most software, with combined sales on Xbox 360 and PS3 approaching a total of two million units. 

2K’s Mafia II came in a close second (PS3+Xbox 360), with just over 200,000 combined unit sales.

“Madden NFL ’11 once again made August ‘Madden Month’ at retail. Sales of this year’s game were about 6% higher than last year’s in its debut month, but interestingly, all of the gains occurred on the PS3 platform, reflecting the impact of the hardware sales momentum on corresponding software sales,” she added.

Top 10 selling games:

1. Madden NFL 11 (Xbox 360) – 920,809

2. Madden NFL 11 (PlayStation 3) – 893,638

3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 – (Wii) – 124,607

4. Mafia II – (Xbox 360) – 121.6K

5. New Super Mario Bros. – (DS)

6. New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)

7. Mafia II – (PlayStation 3)

8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – (Xbox 360)

9. NCAA Football 11 – (Xbox 360)

10. Wii Fit Plus – (Wii)