This Month's NPD Numbers: What Do They Mean?

This Month’s NPD Numbers: What Do They Mean?


Late last week, the NPD Group who is in charge of tracking, compiling and interpreting sales numbers for the video game industry released their console and game sales figures for the month of October with some surprising results. These numbers do not include Walmart sales or digital distribution of games. Let’s take a look.

Console Sales

1. Nintendo Wii: 506,900 (up from 462,800)

2. Nintendo DS: 457,600 (down from 524,200, includes all Nintendo DS SKU’s and Nintendo DSi)

3. Playstation 3: 320,600 (down from 491,800)

4. XBox 360: 249,700 (down from 352,600)

5. PSP: 174,600 (up from 146,000, includes all PSP SKU’s and PSP Go)

6. Playstation 2: 117,800 (down from 146,000)

So what does this mean for the video game industry? A few things. Nintendo takes back their top non-portable spot after losing it last month to the price reduced Playstation 3. Back over the half million a month mark, the Nintendo Wii price reduction to $199 had been a long time coming and has shown it was enough of a stimulus to even beat out the Nintendo DS as the top selling console of the month. While Sony made a huge campaign out of their price drop back in September, Nintendo has been more subtle about theirs, only posting in circulars instead of the TV adds Sony has used to attempt to make up ground.

As expected, the Playstation 3’s sales have dropped again based on last month. As previous consoles have shown us, price drops often are only short term sales fixes to get quick spikes and the 170,000 unit drop for the PS3 was no exception. News wasn’t much better for Sony on the portable front as the introduction of the PSP Go, the all download system they announced at E3 with no UMD back catalog support only jumped their sales numbers by 30,000 units. Most console redesigns will help with at least a noticeable jump in sales but the PSP Go just continues the dismal sales figures of the original PSP. But still pushing out over 100,000 units each month is the Playstation 2 proving that a console can really have a ten year lifecycle to support budget gaming.

XBox 360 has dropped back down from its price drop jump to its standard 200,000 to 250,000 range for their console. With the release of the special edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 console coming this month with a 250 GB hard drive, expect that number to take a small boost as the COD series has proven itself as a system seller.

Game Sales

1. Uncharted 2 (PS3): 537,000

2. Wii Fit Plus (Wii): 441,000

3. Borderlands (360): 418,000

4. Wii Sports Resort ( Wii): 314,000

5. NBA 2K10 (360): 311,000

6. Halo 3: ODST (360): 271,000

7. NBA 2K10 (PS3) 213,000

8. Forza Motorsport 3 (360): 175,000

9. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS): 169,000

10. FIFA Soccer 10 (360): 156,000

Not surprising because of the level of hype it received is PS3’s Uncharted 2 topping the chart. After the epic success of the E3 demo and the level of hype the video game news industry has given the game, it is no shocker that it broke the half million unit mark with its captivating story and graphics.

Also not a surprise are the number 2 and number 4 spot holders with Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort, respectively. Nintendo proves that while they may not support their controller add on peripherals with a wide variety of gaming options (especially since Wii Fit Plus isn’t even technically a game), their gimmicky take on this console generation can hit some serious sales numbers.

The big surprise on this month’s chart though comes from Borderlands on the XBox 360. Selling over 400,000 copies, this game had very limited hype leading up to its release with the exception of heavy commercial airtime in the final two weeks leading up to its release. The surprising part of Borderlands sales comes from the fact that it is without a doubt a “hardcore” game.

Tons of looting, leveling and statistics compromise the majority of this First Person RPG Shooter along with awesome cell-shaded graphics. Unlike Uncharted 2 and Halo 3: ODST, Borderlands is not considered a mainstream title but still managed to earn the bronze medal this month out of all the other games available in October.

Rounding out the charts were the NBA 2K, Fifa Soccer and hardcore racing simulation Forza series along with the awkwardly titled Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS. (It’s read as “358 over 2” if you were wondering.)

Predictions for November’s NPD numbers, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 decimates the charts. Just based off early sales buzz and the ungodly number of preorders, COD: MW2 will be in the millions of units sold, completely eclipsing the rest of the industry for this month. Left 4 Dead 2, despite boycott threats, will make a strong showing but still not as high as COD: MW2, and may even pull in to the second place spot.

Stay tuned to the Flickcast for all your video game news.