May 2011 Saw The Least Video Games Sold In Five Years…Maybe

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May 2011 was the lowest month of sales for the games industry since October of 2006, report the NPD Group. Total video game sales declined 13% compared to May 2010. This owes primarily to a light nrelease schedule for the month, with only 42 new SKUs being brought to market, as opposed to 58 in May 2010.


The light release list caused a decline of 19% in the video game software category. Meanwhile, hardware and accessories declined by 5% and 6% respectively. The upside to the recorded decline in sales, however, is that the NPD don’t track digital sales (yet), which means popular digital releases like the recent Call of Duty: Black Ops “Escalation” map pack don’t contribute toward their sales figure.


Digital purchases, they note, are becoming increasingly more common.


The top-selling platform for the month was the Xbox 360. Nintendo 3DS sales were "light," but the NPD note that, beginning with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D’s release on June 19th, the 3DS will start to see a slate of strong content that will boost its sales for the remainder of the year.


The top-10 software sales chart for the month of May in the U.S. is as follows:


Rank Title System Publisher
01. L.A. Noire PS3, 360 Take Two
02. Brink PS3, 360, PC Bethesda Softworks
03. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game PS3, 360, PC, 3DS, Wii, DS, PSP Lucasarts
04. Portal 2 PS3, 360, PC, Electronic Arts
05. Mortal Kombat
PS3, 360 Warner Bros.
06. Call of Duty: Black Ops PS3, 360, PC, Wii, DS Activision
07. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party PS3, 360, Wii Majesco
08. NBA 2K11
PS3, 360, PC, Wii, PSP, PS2 Take Two
09. Just Dance 2 Wii Ubisoft
10. Lego Star Ware III: The Clone Wars
PS3, 360, PC, 3DS, Wii, DS, PSP Lucasarts

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Image of Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.