USA Retail Preview for October 2011 - NewsVGChartz Staff , posted on 07 November 2011 / 5,917 Views
NPD is set to release data for the USA video game market covering the four weeks to October 29 soon. Data from VGChartz for that time period is already available.
October was the best non-holiday month the US video game market has had in a long time, with an impressive 10 games selling over 200,000 units on a multiplatform basis in four weeks. On a single platform basis, 18 games sold over 100,000 units. Hardware also responded nicely to retail promotions, major software and recent manufacturer price cuts to lift quite a bit on a unit basis and slightly on a revenue basis.
Hardware sales were up about 200,000 units from last October, as most platforms grew quite a bit, and 3DS offset DS declines.
Since September had five weeks while October had only four weeks, hardware sales actually increased on a weekly basis by a lot for 3DS, X360, Wii and to a lesser extent PSP from September to October. The X360 figure for instance represents growth from about 88,000 to 105,000 units per week, with Wii growing from 48,000 to 71,000 per week. Growth for X360 appears tied to being the lead console for Batman, NBA 2k12, Rage, and most importantly Battlefield 3. PS3 in contrast sold about 72,500 per week in October, down just a touch from almost 75,000 per week in September. Wii appears to be up on October 2010 on some combination of a) a second wind to the price cut kicking in for the holidays, b) Just Dance 3, and c) the new bundle that arrived in the US on October 23. Whatever the reason is, the Wii lift is mostly confirmed already. Nintendo's Satoru Iwata said the first three weeks of Wii sales in October 2011 are up from the comparable period in 2010 at a recent financial briefing and then the final week of October had the new bundle which pushed hardware a bit further. DS, like PS3 was about flat from October at 29,000 or so per week even with the 3DS seeing an increase in weekly sales from 52,000 to 65,000 units per week month over month.
Over the past five years (2006-2010), the October to November to December overall hardware transition has been quite variable in the US video game market:
Oct Nov Dec (Nov / Oct, Dec / Nov) Holiday Notes:
2006 1.2m 3.9m 7.3m (x3.4, x1.9) Wii supply issues, first big X360, DS Christmas, complicated hw transition
2007 2.0m 5.0m 8.3m (x2.5, x1.7) Wii supply issues, complicated hw transition
2008 2.2m 5.5m 8.8m (x2.5, x1.6) Wii supply issues
2009 1.8m 5.0m 10.8m (x2.8, x2.2) Wii, PS3 price cuts. Wii (3.81m), DS (3.31m) all-time record December sales
2010 1.3m 5.0m 8.5m (x3.8, x1.7) Wii, X360, and DS each grew historically well from Oct to Nov. Kinect / Move
In 2011, VGC data shows 1.4m units of hardware sold in December, which based on the Nov: Oct ratios of the past five years suggests 3.5 - 5.3m units of hardware in November, and 5.6 - 11.7m units of hardware in December. Taking the ranges down the middle suggests a 4.4m November, and an 8.7m December, figures which actually come pretty close to my total hardware projection before running this excercise. The wild card is really the original DS, it jumped from 340,000 to 2,550,000 last year, so it might still be capable of a 120,000 --> 400,000 ---> 1,000,000 leap, or it might grow a much more 'typical' 120,000 --> 250,000 ---> 450,000 now that 3DS is out. Nintendo's DS forecast implies either one more big DS Christmas in either the US or Europe, or three mediocre rises in the US, Japan and Europe - it's a bit difficult to know which path is really expected without a regional breakdown in the forecast.
With price cuts pushing some 3DS, Wii, and PS3 systems earlier in the year, odds are November will be closer to the 2007-2009 level of growth relative to October, instead of the 2010 level when everything kind of died in October and revived in November. That said, December should be massive relative to November as was the case in 2009 as retailer promotions will re-establish the impact of the earlier price cuts temporarily. Look for something like a 1.4m --> 4.1m ---> 8.8m hardware transition from October to December 2011.
On a software basis, the following games were the best selling titles of October 2011.
Getting 18 titles to top 100,000 units in a non-holiday, four week month is pretty impressive for the US market. Relatively minor publishers were largely responsible for the boon, with Namco-Bandai and WB Interactive both seeing very strong months.
October was very strong for HD software. That should change a bit next month, as Just Dance 3, Zelda, Marioland 3DS, Zumba Fitness 2, and Nintendo's leggier titles should all shoot up the charts with stronger hardware sales. Rage, Gears, Dark Souls, Batman, Ace Combat and Battlefield relatively speaking, will drop rather sharply compared to the big new Nintendo content and long selling older content for Wii. New HD content will also do quite well, with Halo, Elder Scrolls, Skyrim, Need for Speed, Uncharted, Saints Row, Assassin's Creed, and Call of Duty essentially replacing the HD content from October that will drop off quickly from October to November. December should then fully correct to being a chart favoring titles with big legs, as virtually no new content releases after Zelda in late November, save for Mario Kart 7 on 3DS which will do scary numbers. Zelda, Marioland, Mario Kart, Just Dance 3, Zumba 2, Call of Duty, Batman, Battlefield, and a couple others should dominate December, although 100+ titles will likely top 100,000 units in December in the US this year on a single-platform basis.
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