It’s official — the video game industry isn’t just about sequels. Publisher Bethesda Softworks’ new property Dishonored was the fourth best-selling game in the month of October.
This information comes from the monthly sales data provided to GamesBeat by The NPD Group financial analysis firm. NPD tracks software and hardware sales at brick-and-mortar retailers around the country. The analyst firm does not include any digital sales (like Steam or the PlayStation NetworkI ) in its data, nor does it track the sales of mobile games. The industry continued its recent trend of under-performing compared to 2011. These numbers reek of a market that can’t wait for some new blood, and that’s exactly what we’ll get the next time we cover these numbers: This is the last NPD report before the Wii U.
Hardware and software sales were both down year-over-year, but accessory sales ticked up slightly. We’ll take a deeper look at the wider market after we list the month’s best-sellers:
- NBA 2K13: Take Two Interactive (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PC)
- Resident Evil 6: Capcom (360, PS3)
- Pokémon Black Version 2: Nintendo (NDS)
- Dishonored: Bethesda Softworks (360, PS3, PC)
- Pokémon White Version 2: Nintendo (NDS)
- Madden NFL 13: Electronic Arts (360, PS3, Wii, Vita)
- FIFA Soccer 13: Electronic Arts (360, PS3, Wii, Vita, 3DS, PSP)
- Medal of Honor: Warfighter: Eletronic Arts (360, PS3 PC)
- Borderlands 2: Take Two Interactive (360, PS3, PC)
- Skylanders Giants: Activision (Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS)
“The top title was NBA 2K13 from Take Two Interactive. This game outsold last year’s 2K12 by over 60 percent in both dollars and units,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. “This favorable comparison may have partly been due to the NBA lockout at the start of last year’s basketball season, likely tempering consumers’ interest in 2K12 initially.”
I say we forget about video games and start covering sports, because that’s where the money is. Madden topped last month’s list, and NBA 2K13 dribbled in to take its place this time around. The other ball-based titles did well with EA’s football and soccer simulators dropping to the middle of the chart after holding two of the top three spots in the previous 30 days.
With the second spot on the chart, the anticipated Resident Evil 6 didn’t seem to suffer the effects of a cold reception from critics, but that high placement is a bit misleading.
“Sequels new to market this month did not perform as well compared to prior iterations,” said Callahan. “This, combined with poor comparisons against the launch of hits like Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City in October 2011, led to the decline in software sales.”
Sequels new to the market mean only Medal of Honor and Resident Evil. Those two games sold OK, but they represent a disappointment compared to their franchise predecessors. Skylanders Giants, another sequel new to the market, sold over 160 percent more units than Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.
In terms of hardware, Xbox 360 topped the charts for the 22nd month in a row. Customers purchased another 270,000 units and spent a total of $315 million on the platform. That streak will likely come to an end as Nintendo launches the Wii U on Nov. 18.
In the industry at large, sales were down 25 percent from $1 billion to $755.5 million. The primary culprit is hardware sales, which dropped 37 percent. The market is saturated and few people remain to purchase new consoles.
Software dropped from $576.8 million to $432.6 million. Again, this is largely due to Resident Evil 6 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter not performing as well as last year’s big sequels. Also: Assassin’s Creed III came out Oct. 30 and was not part of the tracking period.
NPD notes that used games and rentals earned the industry $101 million, while digital sales piled on another $359 million.
“We would estimate the total consumer spend in September to be just under $1.2B,” said Callahan. “While October was another month of steep declines in retail sales, we are looking forward to November 2012 with the results of Assassin’s Creed III, and Halo 4, which were positively reviewed, as well as the results of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. These software titles, along with the Wii U launch on November 18, will provide a much needed boost to retail sales.”
The biggest game not to chart this month is probably XCOM: Enemy Unknown from developer Firaxis. Publisher Take Two did mention that the game was a success especially in terms of digital sales, which NPD does not directly track.