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May NPD: US game industry sales sink 28% as Diablo III tops the chart

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US sales analyst firm The NPD Group has released its latest report on the state of the country’s videogame industry with data on sales for the month of May 2012, revealing a disappointing 28% drop in total videogame sales at retail.

Revenue generated in the US videogame industry during the reporting period dropped from $661.1 million in May 2011 to $516.5 million this year, mostly due to fewer software titles being introduced and poor hardware sales, as Diablo III and Xbox 360 topped their respective categories.

NPD’s Anita Frazier wrote:

“YTD 2012, there have been 27% fewer new software title introductions into retail which we believe is a big part of the softness we’re seeing in May sales. A title obviously continues to see sales beyond its launch month, so there is a longer term impact from a narrower array of available new content.”

May 2012 Software Sales

For the month of May 2012 in the US, revenue generated by videogame sales dropped 32% year-over-year, to $255.4 million, with Diablo III becoming the first PC-exclusive title to top the chart since Starcraft II in July 2010.

Frazier notes:

“To dig deeper into the new physical retail software performance this month, new launches generated 31% more dollars this May than they did last May, largely due to the success of Diablo III. This May, new SKU launches across console, portable and pc game software generated 188% more unit sales per SKU than they did last May. So while there were fewer new item introductions this May, they collectively generated more unit and dollar sales.”

May 2012 Software Sales Chart

  • 1.) Diablo III (PC) – Activision Blizzard
  • 2.) Max Payne 3 (X360, PS3) – Take-Two
  • 3.) Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (X360, PS3) – Ubisoft
  • 4.) Prototype 2 (X360, PS3) – Activision
  • 5.) NBA 2K12 (X360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, PC) – Take-Two
  • 6.) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, PS3, Wii, PC) – Activision
  • 7.) Sniper Elite V2 (X360, PS3) – 505 Games
  • 8.) Battlefield 3 (X360, PS3, PC) – Electronic Arts
  • 9.) Dragon’s Dogma (X360, PS3) – Capcom
  • 10.) Just Dance 3 (Wii, X360, PS3) – Ubisoft

May 2012 Hardware Sales

Revenue generated by console hardware sales in the US videogame industry for the reporting period of May 2012 totalled $138.9 million, down a whopping 39% year-over-year.

The Xbox 360 remained the top-selling console in the US during May to make it the best-selling home console for the 17th month in a row.

May 2012 Hardware Sales Chart

  • Xbox 360 – 160 000 Units (-40.7%)
  • 3DS – 113 500 Units (+17%)

(We’ll update when/if Nintendo and Sony share their consoles’ sales numbers.)

May 2012 Accessory Sales

Accessory sales for May 2012 totalled $122.3 million, up 7% year-over-year.

Frazier wrote:

“The Accessory category continues to perform well due to increased video game card sales, up 74% from last May, as well as the continued success of Skylanders.”

May 2012 Videogame Industry Sales Totals

May 1st 2012 through May 31st 2012:

  • May 2012 Videogame Sales – $516.5 million (-28%)
  • May 2012 Videogame Hardware Sales – $138.9 million (-39%)
  • May 2012 Videogame Software Sales – $255.4 million (-32%)
  • May 2012 Videogame Accessory Sales – $122.3 million (+7%)

Read Microsoft’s response to NPD’s May 2012 sales results over here.

Read Sony’s response to NPD’s May 2012 sales results over here.


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