Digital Divide: U.S. Physical Game Sales Declined for 11th Consecutive Month

The latest data from research firm NPD Group is a little misleading in that you'd think the games industry is in a tailspin, even though it's not quite as bad as it seems. To wit, retail sales of new game hardware, software, and accessories in the U.S. plummeted 25 percent, NPD Group reports, noting that this is the 11th consecutive month the industry has declined. Pretty bleak, right?

One thing to keep in mind is that NPD Group only tracks physical goods; it completely ignores digital downloads, which not only dominates the PC, but is growing in popularity on consoles as well. Used games and rentals are also ignored, in case you're wondering.

Boss Fight

Console sales were hit particularly hard, dropping 37 percent compared to a year ago. That's to be somewhat expected, considering that each of the three major consoles -- Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 -- are nearing the end of their respective lifecycles. The Xbox 360 led all consoles, selling 277,000 units in October.


As for software, NPD reported the top 10 selling games last month:
  • NBA 2K13 (2K Sports)
  • Resident Evil 6 (Capcom)
  • Pokemon Black Version 2 (Nintendo)
  • Dishonored (Bethesda Softworks)
  • Pokemon White Version 2 (Nintendo)
  • Madden NFL 13 (Electronic Arts)
  • FIFA Soccer 13 (Electronic Arts)
  • Medal of Honor: Warfighter (Electronic Arts)
  • Borderlands 2 (2K)
  • Skylanders Giants (Activision)

Total software sales came to $451.8 million (down 25 percent), of which non-PC software accounted for $432.6 million.