Superhero Games Soar, But U.S. Industry Sales Down 20%

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The NPD Group’s sales report for the month of July is out, and indicates that total physical sales across the games industry dropped to $548.4 million. That’s a 20% decline from July 2011.


Hardware sales were down year-over-year by 32%. “Of the hardware platforms that were on the market last July, only one, the 3DS, realized a unit sales increase over last year,” says the NPD’s Anita Frazier. Additionally, while the DS and 3DS saw increased sales over the month prior, all other platforms declined from their June numbers.


Meanwhile, physical software sales in the U.S. (this includes PC games) dropped by 23% year-over-year to $278.2 million. The important thing to note is that this only accounts for physical goods. The NPD estimate that if you were to take digital sales—including full game purchases, DLC, rentals, subscriptions and mobile apps into account—the spend on software would amount to $1.1 billion.


The top ten best-selling games in July were as follows:


Rank Title System Publisher
01. NCAA Football 13 PS3, 360 Take 2
02. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes PS3, 360, 3DS, Wii, PC, PSV, DS Warner Bros.
03. The Amazing Spider-Man PS3, 360, 3DS, Wii, DS Activision Blizzard
04. Just Dance PS3, 360, Wii Ubisoft
05. Batman: Arkham City PS3, 360, PC Warner Bros.
06. Call of Duty: Black Ops PS3, 360, Wii, PC, DS Activision Blizzard
07. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations PS3, 360, PC Ubisoft
08. NBA 2K12 PS3, 360, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2 Take 2
09. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PS3, 360,Wii,  PC Activision Blizzard
10. Dead Island PS3, 360, PC Deep Silver


While it isn’t mentioned in the list above, the NPD Group point out that, if the list were divided up by individual console SKUs, Pokémon Conquest would be in the top-ten (again) as well. They also pointed out that both Batman: Arkham City and Dead Island saw a boost, thanks to the release of their Game of the Year editions.


For the month of August, the NPD Group look forward to the release of New Super Mario Bros.2 and Sleeping Dogs, which is a new I.P. that has “garnered a fair amount of buzz”.

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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.