Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NPD Re-Cap

Well the NPD numbers have been out for a bit now, so I thought it was worth re-visiting some of the numbers.

The big story is just how many consoles were sold. Over a million between the X360 and the Wii. September is typically a pick-up month as sales start to move slightly upwards before the big holiday spike. The last time a console sold 500k+ in September was 2002 and the PS2. That was the 24th month of the PS2 and came 12 months after the release of the Xbox and GCN. At that point, the launch luster of the other consoles had worn off, and the PS2 was running away with the best-selling console crown. If it wasn't for the launch of Halo3, you could make an argument that the X360 was starting to move into the leadership position for this generation of hardware. Still, it's a key month for the X360, especially if it is able to sustain the momentum through the holidays. Many have pointed out that this could be the first generation in a while where there are two clear winners dealing with different audiences. That certainly seems more plausible with each passing month. Also of note is the Wii. At this point in its life, the Wii is unparalleled in the number of consoles sold in the US. It's been outselling even what the PS2 sold. No console has ever sold this many units per month this early in its life before, which sort of explains whey Nintendo is struggling to keep up with demand.

Metroid Prime 3 sales fell, but not horribly. Clearly, despite the fact that it is a more hard core product, the majority of Wii owners are not buying the game. Possible causes: 1) The majority of Wii owners aren't hard core gamers. 2) The majority of Wii owners are hard core gamers, but they aren't buying Metroid. I think the second item is worth considering. It seems strange, but it seems likely that many hard core gamers simply aren't buying the hard core Wii games. Why? Probably because they have other hardcore systems and are too busy buying games for those systems. So BioShock and The Orange Box will sell well at the expense of Metroid in the Wii60 gamer's house. If that were the case it would be interesting as it would mean those same gamers who are complaining about the lack of hard core games on the Wii are likely causing them to not be made on the Wii by not purchasing the games when they are available. Of course a couple of hit core games should change that...but Metroid is exactly what you'd expect to be a difference maker...and it doesn't seem to have impacted perception much.

EA Sales
Quick question, who is the number 2 game seller on the Wii and what percentage of the games sold are by this publisher? Answer: EA at over 20%.
That is significant!
Why? Well because no publisher is selling over 10% on the DS other than Nintendo. The gap on the the DS is huge, but the Wii has been a different story. Though EA has struggled to create a great game so far on the Wii, they are selling games. In the UK, the top version of Tiger Woods was the Wii version. The US has been a totally different story, but EA has to be encouraged by the percentage of the market they've grabbed so far.

Handheld gaming
Still is struggling. Zelda opened big, not huge, but big. Despite fairly strong hardware sales the PSP software sales have been lagging in both the US and in Japan. Certainly hardware sales will be strong through Christmas, but it will be more interesting to see how the software does. Zelda should sell quite well, but will it? With Nintendo focused on making the Wii a success it seems the DS is feeling a little neglected. Meanwhile, the PSP to PS3 integration I think will continue to be a boon to the PSP.

Heavenly Sword didn't move PS3s. The game was #10 in the charts, but the PS3 numbers don't reflect any real bump. I don't believe any one game moves hardware, so I'm not surprised, but nonetheless, it's good to have some high profile games on the PS3. I expect the price cut and new 40GB system will drive the PS3 sales to close the gap on the X360 in November and December.

Interesting stuff. September could be a big transition month. It might have been the beginning of the X360 dominating hardware sales for this generation. I don't think that is the case, but if it happens, this will be seen as the month as when it all began.

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