Research figures from NPD indicate sales of video game hardware and software fell 29 percent to $848.9 million last month. Hardware sales were hit hardest, NPD estimates sales tumbled 37 percent to $280.9 million while software sales also fell a hefty 26 percent to $436.9 million. Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the best performing consoles with sales slipping just 1 percent, while PlayStation 3 and Wii sales nosedived 46 percent and 55 percent, respectively.
The worst global recession since the Great Depression and the absence of new hit titles contributed to the decline. Earlier yesterday, the Commerce Department reported sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell in July for the first time in three months. Executives at the two largest video-game publishers, Activision Blizzard Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc., said this month that they expect game sales to be even or down compared with last year.
“The challenge for Sony PS3 is the price point,” Mia Nagasaka, a Tokyo-based analyst at Barclays Plc, said by phone today. “In the near term, the company may announce a price cut in hardware,” and it may be enough to spur demand, she said. Nintendo may miss its hardware target this fiscal year ending March 2010, even after the introduction of the Wii “Sports Resorts” in July, Nagasaka said.