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October Game Sales Jump 73%

26 Nov, 2007 By: John Gaudiosi

Total game, hardware and accessories sales were up 73% in October, according to The NPD Group. Sales during the month topped $1.1 billion, versus October 2006's $643.3 million, putting the U.S. game industry on pace to top $19 billion by Jan. 1, 2008.

The increase in sales is due in large part to the continued success of Nintendo Wii, which owns 26% of the gaming market share, and Nintendo DS, as well as the sales of Activision's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock across all platforms.

Nintendo's Wii regained the top spot after a one-month reprieve in September when Halo 3 helped Microsoft Xbox 360 reach the top spot for the first time since last November. Nintendo sold 519,000 Wiis in October, followed by 458,000 Nintendo DS portables. Microsoft sold 366,000 Xbox 360 consoles. Before the price cut, Sony sold only 121,000 PlayStation 3s in October, leaving it far behind in the console battle. Sony's other platforms, the PlayStation Portable and PS2, sold 286,000 and 184,000 units, respectively. The $469.7 million in hardware sales for October more than doubled from last year's $207.1 million.

“We expect a ramp in sellthrough to be reflected in next month's NPD data given Sony's bullish comments about the impact of the November price cut,” said Ben Schachter, video game analyst for UBS. “We also expect the release of Call of Duty 4 and more importantly, PS3 exclusives Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction and Drake's Fortune, to help move PS3 hardware.”

While an AP story quoted Sony CEO Howard Stringer saying that PS3 sales were 100,000 for the week ended Nov. 11, immediately following the price cuts, Sony backed away from that number and said 100,000 referred to total sales of PS3, PS2 and PSP. Sony didn't specify PS3 sales figures, but did say that PS3 sales were up 192% since the price drop.

Console hardware in October rose 195% to $349.6 million, and portable hardware was up 36% to $120.1 million.

October video game software sales grew 39% to $513.9 million, from $369.3 million. Halo 3 continued to dominate console sales with another 433,800 units sold in October. It remains the No. 1 game of the year. Activision's Guitar Hero III sold more than 1.4 million units in six days on Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 2 combined, including 383,200 on Xbox 360 alone. A solid 36% of GH III sales were on the venerable PS2 platform, which launched the franchise three years ago.

Guitar Hero has certainly established itself among the elite video games properties,” said Anita Frazier, video game analyst for The NPD Group.

Year-to-date total video game sales are up 49% from the same time last year, totaling $10.5 billion.

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