Darksiders II (Credit: THQ)Video game makers just can't catch a break.
For the ninth month in a row, brick and mortar retail sales of video game hardware and software was down -- and down sharply. The NPD Group, which tracks the sales, says overall numbers for the month were down 20 percent compared to a year ago.
A lack of price cuts and new home consoles led to a whopping 39 percent drop in hardware sales, but the good news is that software sales seem to be showing a slight rebound, falling just 9 percent year over year. Software sales are generally viewed as the best barometer of the industry's health.
Still, many analysts, including NPD's own Anita Frazier, were hoping for better numbers on the software side.
"One factor contributing to the softness we have seen in retail content sales so far in 2012 has been the decline in the sheer number of new titles," she said. "This, however, was not the case in August because there were more new titles when compared to last year; titles with sales that were significantly better than last year's launches. So, what we're seeing impact August results is the domino effect of the light release schedule from earlier in the year. That lack of new releases has had a significant impact on subsequent month's sales."
Nintendo received a bit of a boost as the 3DS XL, which was released late in the month, appears to be resonating with players. The system represented 44 percent of the total 3DS sales.
Beleaguered game publisher THQ also found a bit of redemption in August as their action game Darksiders II led the video game charts, barely beating New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS. Other new releases that saw solid sales include the latest Kingdom Hearts game and the long-in-development open-world romp Sleeping Dogs.
September will see the release of many more anticipated games, including Borderlands 2, FIFA 13 and the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria. Sales of Madden NFL 13 will also be included in those numbers, even though the game went on sale in late August. (NPD cuts off its reporting just prior to the end of the month.)
Here are the month's top 10 selling games.
|2||New Super Mario Bros 2||Nintendo|
|3||Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance||Square Enix Inc.|
|4||NCAA Football 13||Electronic Arts|
|5||Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes||Warner Bros. Interactive|
|6||Sleeping Dogs||Square Enix Inc.|
|7||Transformers: Fall of Cybertron||Activision Blizzzard|
|8||Batman: Arkham City||Warner Bros. Interactive|
|9||Call of Duty: Black Ops||Activision Blizzzard|
|10||The Amazing Spider-Man||Activision Blizzzard|