U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories slipped 4% in October as demand for most gaming consoles declined from a year earlier, according to data from market researcher NPD Group.
Overall game sales were $1.07 billion last month, down from $1.11 billion in October of last year, NPD said on Tuesday. Year-to-date sales were down 8% at the end of October, at $10.57 billion.
"Keep in mind that these sales only reflect new physical retail sales," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in a statement. "While down, there are revenues being generated from digital distribution, used game sales, rentals, social network games and mobile applications, to name a few."
Hardware Down, Software Up
Hardware sales tumbled 26% to $280 million from $381 million a year ago. With the exception of Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360, every gaming system saw a decline in unit sales, NPD said. The Xbox sold 325,000 units, up 30 percent year-over-year, Microsoft said.
Sales of game software, meanwhile, climbed 6% to $605 million from $573 million. The basketball blockbuster "NBA 2K11" from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. was the month's best-selling title. It was followed by the shooter "Fallout: New Vegas" from Bethesda Softworks and "Medal of Honor" from Electronic Arts (ERTS). The number doesn't include "Call of Duty: Black Ops," which went on sale Nov. 9 and shattered the entertainment-industry sales record held by its predecessor, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."
Sales of game accessories jumped 18% to $142 million.
Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, said in a recent interview he expects Nintendo (NTDOY) to do well during the November-to-December holiday sales period.
"Last year, we sold close to 50% of hardware on (the holidays)," he said. While Nintendo is not planning to cut the price of the $199 Wii, Fils-Aime added that some retailers are doing this on their own as they work to lure shoppers into their stores.