November video game sales fall 8 percent to $2.7B

Dec 10, 2009
In this Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 photo, Pete Berger, center, and Mike Francis play "Band Hero" at a Wal-Mart, in Deptford, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP) -- Americans reached into their pockets - though not as deep as last year - to spend $2.7 billion on video games in November, according to figures reported Thursday by market researcher NPD Group.

That's a nearly 8 percent decline from November 2008, and further sign the industry won't do as well in 2009 as it did last year, when it set a sales record of more than $21 billion. In October, total sales of video game hardware, software and accessories fell 19 percent from the same month last year.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said she expects this year's sales to hit $20 billion. Better economic news, combined with "frugal fatigue" could boost sales during these last weeks of the holiday season, she said.

November and December are the two most important months for video game sales, because companies bring in a big chunk of their annual revenue during the holidays. For much of this year, the industry has had an especially rough time. The recession cut into discretionary spending and there were fewer hit game launches than in 2008.

One big exception was "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" from Activision Blizzard Inc. The game launched Nov. 10 with much fanfare and did not disappoint, setting an entertainment record. Worldwide, it made $550 million during its first five days, above the previous record set by "Grand Theft Auto IV," from Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.

There were 4.2 million copies of the game sold for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 in November, and 1.9 million of the Sony PlayStation 3 version. Microsoft spokesman David Dennis said people spent $838 million on the Xbox 360 during the month, including games, hardware and accessories.

In terms of sheer volume, Nintendo Co. was the big winner when it came to gaming systems. There were 1.7 million handheld DS systems sold during the month, and nearly 1.3 million Wii consoles. The Xbox 360 was in third place, followed by the PlayStation 3.

In all, 23 million Wiis have been sold in the U.S. since the system's 2006 launch, said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales & marketing. She said Nintendo is providing consumers more hands-on experience in malls this year because budget-conscious customers "really want to make sure they are making the best purchase possible."

All three of the console makers - Sony, Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo - have cut the prices of their systems in the past few months. Sony said the interest in its PlayStation 3 console has been "overwhelming" this holiday season and it is exceeding company expectations. It said some retailers may experience "tight supply" this month.

Total November hardware sales fell 13 percent to $1.05 billion.

Software sales declined 3 percent, to 1.41 billion. Besides "Call of Duty," Nintendo's "New Super Mario Bros. Wii," Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed II" and Electronic Arts Inc.'s "Left 4 Dead 2" also did well.

Sales of accessories slipped nearly 6 percent to $242.2 million.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NPD: October video game sales tumble 19 percent

Nov 13, 2009

(AP) -- After a slight reprieve in September, U.S. video game retail sales slumped again in October, unable to escape the economic turmoil that's cutting into consumer spending and swelling the ranks of unemployed.

March video game sales slump more than expected

Apr 17, 2009

(AP) -- U.S. video game sales slumped more than expected in March and were flat in the first quarter when compared with a year earlier - hurt by the recession, a shift in the Easter calendar and fewer big game launches.

July video game sales show sharp decline

Aug 14, 2009

(AP) -- Hurt by the recession and few hit game launches, U.S. retail sales of video games dropped sharply in July, showing an even bigger decline than what many analysts were expecting.

June video game sales drop sharply

Jul 17, 2009

(AP) -- Squeezed by the economic downturn, U.S. retail sales of video games dropped sharply in June, the largest year-over-year decline the industry has seen in nearly nine years.

April video game sales decline 17 percent

May 15, 2009

(AP) -- Lacking the big hits that made the year-ago period a standout, U.S. video game sales dropped sharply in April for the second month in a row as customers continued to watch their wallets.

Recommended for you

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

23 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

States ascend into the cloud

Oct 24, 2014

Seven years ago, the state of Delaware started moving computer servers out of closets and from under workers' desks to create a consolidated data center and a virtual computing climate.

Microsoft drops Nokia name from smartphones

Oct 24, 2014

Microsoft said Friday it was dropping the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphones, rebranding following the acquisition earlier this year of the Finnish group's handset division.

Amazon's loss makes holidays a question mark

Oct 24, 2014

Amazon's trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world's largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.

User comments : 0