NBA 2K13 (Credit: 2K Sports)Earlier this year, number watchers in the video game industry were hopeful things would return to positive territory in October, which is traditionally when the trickle of big games turns into a flood.
That optimism proved to be misplaced.
Brick and mortar retail sales of video game software were down 25 percent year over year to $432.6 million, according to The NPD Group. Overall sales, which factor in hardware and accessories, were also down 25 percent.
"Skylanders Giants software performed well, breaking into the top 10 title ranking, and selling over 160 percent more units than last year's Skylanders title did in its debut month at retail, said NPD industry analyst, Liam Callahan."Unfortunately, other sequels new to market this month did not perform as well compared to prior iterations. This, combined with poor comps against the launch of hits like Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City in October 2011, led to the decline in software sales."
Performing particularly poorly was EA's Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which ranked just 8th. The game, which EA did not give to critics in advance, has been walloped by critics and user interest has been low.
Mediocre reviews didn't hurt Resident Evil 6, though, which was the month's number two title. EA's failure to launch an NBA game gave 2K Sports a clear path to take the month's sales title with NBA 2K13, which outperformed last year's version by about 60%. Also notable was the decent fourth-place finish of Bethesda's Dishonored, the only new IP in the Top 10.
Among hardware, the Xbox 360 was once again the best selling system, extending Microsoft's streak for the 15th consecutive month. While hardware sales overall were down 37 percent from a year ago, NPD noted there was some positive news.
"While we saw declines in hardware unit sales across all platforms year-over-year, when looking at average sales per week versus September, several consoles realized higher sales: the 360, PS3, Nintendo DS and 3DS," said Callahan. "This is a sign of increasing momentum as we move into the holiday season."
The industry is hoping to see a serious rebound in November.
"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," Callahan said.
Here's a look at the month's Top 10 games.
|1||NBA 2K13||Take 2 Interactive|
|2||Resident Evil 6||Capcom USA|
|3||Pokemon Black Version 2||Nintendo|
|5||Pokemon White Version 2||Nintendo|
|6||Madden NFL 13||Electronic Arts|
|7||FIFA Soccer 13||Electronic Arts|
|8||Medal of Honor: Warfighter||Electronic Arts|
|9||Borderlands 2||Take 2 Interactive|
|10||Skylanders Giants||Activision Blizzard|