May video game sales dead without Redemption

The US video game industry remains in Dead Man’s Gulch despite the success of a spaghetti Western title in may.

The latest figures from the NPD research firm show Take-Two shifted more than 1.5m copies of Red Dead Redemption as the best-selling game of the month, but overall industry sales fell 5 per cent on a year ago to $823m, with console sales down 20 per cent at $241m.

This is still an improvement on April – the fourth worst month on record, when sales fell 26 per cent and console sales were down 37 per cent.

NPD looks on the bright side with its analysis – saying the may sales were the third best on record for the month after may 2008 and 2009. It points out console hardware unit sales are flat compared to last year and sales declines are due to price cuts.

Software sales rose 4 per cent on 2009 to $466m, but fell short of estimates of $500m by analysts at Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Nintendo sold 335,000 Wii consoles, Microsoft sold 195,000 Xbox 360s and Sony sold 154,000 PlayStation 3s. Nintendo and Microsoft topped Wedbush Morgan estimates by 5,000 units each, but Sony was well short of a forecast 175,000 units.

Patrick Seybold, Sony spokesman, put a positive spin on the numbers, saying: “”in may, we experienced our tenth consecutive month of year over year growth, and it is clear that the demand for PlayStation 3 and its incredible content is not subsiding as evidenced by an increase of 18 per cent in PS3 hardware sales and revenue increase of 58 per cent in PS3 software sales since last may.”

Sony has seen sales recover since it lowered the price of its PS3 and brought out a slimmed-down version last autumn.

NPD notes the top-selling accessory for the third consecutive month is the Xbox Live 1600 point card – used for buying virtual items and games online. This backs up theories that gamers are contributing to the slump by spending more time playing online versions of existing games instead of buying new ones.UPDATE: Microsoft and Nintendo have also reacted to the monthly figures. Microsoft said it continued to outsell the PS3 for the fifth consecutive year and every single month of 2010. It said there had been “unprecedented demand” at retail for its new slimmed down Xbox 360 since its launch on June 14 and this had meant a “significant spike” for Xbox sales. Nintendo said Wii totals in may represented consumers responding to a new bundle that included Wii Sports Resort and a Wii MotionPlus controller.

May video game sales dead without Redemption

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