NPD's October 2011 sales report has been released, revealing just a one percent increase in total sales year-over-year, as the industry generated $1.08 billion compared to last October's $1.07 billion. Software grew three percent, increasing from $604.8 million to $621.3 million. Hardware saw slightly more growth than software, rising six percent from $279.9 million to $295 million. Accessories was the only category to dip somewhat, falling five percent from $142.4 million to $135.9 million.
Xbox 360 and top software like EA's Battlefield 3 and Warner Bros.' Batman: Arkham City were the main sales drivers. “Across hardware, software, and accessory new physical retail sales, the Xbox 360 platform showed dollar growth versus last October, as did the 3DS/DS platforms (when combined). Overall, the new physical retail channel saw a sales increase of $26 million over last October, driven primarily by the performance of new physical console software,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.
“Based on historical seasonality trends, new physical retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories should come in flat to down by as much as 2% once full year sales are in,” she added.
Regarding hardware specifically, Frazier commented: “The Xbox 360 was the top-selling hardware platform for the month, realizing a unit sales increase of over 20% versus last October. The 3DS was the second best-selling hardware platform, with combined 3DS/DS sales up over 25% from last October.”
“On an average sales per week basis, October 2011 unit sales of 3DS, DS, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360 platforms all saw an increase over September 2011, which was a 5-week retail month (Oct'11 was a 4-week retail month),” she added without mentioning PS3.
NPD noted that Battlefield 3 sold through "just under" 2 million units across platforms, but Frazier remarked that she "would expect that there were notable sales that occurred via digital downloading as well,” and NPD's figures don't include digital. The other hot seller, Batman, sold through 1.5 million units across Xbox 360 and PS3.
Of course, October is just the start of what's going to be a very tightly packed holiday shopping season for the games business. November should be huge. “Between Uncharted 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Zelda: Skyward Sword, I expect November to be a huge month for new physical retail sales,” Frazier said.
Here's the top 10 best-selling games list for the October period: