October’s NPD Numbers

Good news for Nathan Drake, not so good for hardware. It is that time of the month again when we take a look at what gaming goodies Americans have been spending their hard-earned cash on with the release of the NPD Group’s sales data.

Software (Total spend $573m, down 18% compared to last October)

  1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) 537,000
  2. Wii Fit Plus (Wii) 441,000
  3. Borderlands (360) 418,000
  4. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) 314,000
  5. NBA 2K10 (360) 311,000
  6. Halo 3 ODST (360) 271,000
  7. NBA 2K10 (PS3) 213,000
  8. Forza Motorsport 3 (360) 175,000
  9. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) 169,000
  10. FIFA Soccer 10 (360) 156,000

A crushing victory for Naughty Dog’s rent-a-goon-killing master of the fingertip ledge grab.  Predictably sales of UC2 have not climbed to the dizzy heights that ODST looked down from last month, or the staggering first day sales of MW2, but that is a strong performance for a PS3 exclusive title in the US where they have tended to struggle.  Indeed at a conference yesterday, SCEA’s Phil Rosenberg claimed that UC2 has already sold over a million copies, though it is not clear whether that is worldwide sales or just those in the US.

October was also a good month for Take-Two Interactive with their FPSRPG Borderlands reaching number three in the chart on 360 (the PS3 version sold 113,000) and NBA 2K10 seeing strong sales on both 360 and PS3.  If you are surprised to see the outstanding Forza 3 languishing down at number eight bear in mind that it was not released until the 27th October in the US so only four days of its sales are captured.

Hardware (Total spend $381m, down 23% compared to last October)

  1. Wii, 506,900 (+10% compared to September)
  2. DS, 457,600 (-13%)
  3. PS3, 320,600 (-35%)
  4. 360, 249,700 (-29%)
  5. PSP, 174,600 (-8%)
  6. PS2, 117,800 (-19%)

Except for the Wii, which saw a price cut in late September, hardware sales across all platforms were down compared to September’s figures.  It is not quite as bad as it looks as for NPD’s purposes October was a four week month whereas September was a five week month, so if you average out the weekly figures only the PS3 and 360 sales fell.  Unfortunately until NPD adopt the lunar calendar or another emperor comes along wanting a new month named after them we are stuck with uneven length months and we will have to accept these comparisons are not always equal.

The NPD report tries to put a positive spin on the 23% year-on-year decline in hardware sales, with group analyst Anita Frazier saying, “This is the third best October on record, behind October 2007 and October 2008.”  She also states that among the hardware platforms sales of the Wii and 360 have decreased “the most compared to October 2008.”, which leaves Sony able to claim that things could have been worse.

Top 5 Games Q3 2009

Last week NPD also published a look at the top five games sold in the world’s three largest video game markets across all formats between July and September.  Those top five games hold no real surprises.  Japan still loves Dragon Quest and Pokemon, America still loves Madden and Halo and the Wii owners worldwide have not held back from picking up Nintendo’s latest software and accessory bundle.

Rank Title Corporate
Total US Japan UK
1 Dragon Quest IX Square Enix 3,925,000 3,925,000
2 Wii Sports Resort Nintendo 3,014,000 1,708,000 841,000 465,000
3 Madden NFL 10 Electronic Arts 2,612,000 2,583,000 30,000
4 Pokemon Heartgold And Soulsilver Nintendo 2,068,000 2,068,000
5 Halo 3: ODST Microsoft 1,847,000 1,521,000 33,000 294,000

The press release also looks at overall software sales performance in the three countries.  Compared to the same period last year Japan has seen a 15% increase in unit sales, which is not enough to reverse the 20% decline it saw last year, while the US has seen a 9% drop.  The UK props up the foot of the table though with its 19% year-on-year decline.

When comparing year-to-date unit sales against those for last year all three countries have seen lower sales.  The US is down 8%, Japan is down 9% and again the UK is the worst performer with unit sales so far this year down 13%.

Data sourced from NPD.