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Video game sales drop 10% in August, but don't blame Madden

September 9, 2010 |  4:06 pm

Madden NFL 11

The dog days of August hit the video game industry as sales of games and consoles swooned 10%.

Players spent $818.9 million on games and the accompanying hardware to play them on last month, down from $910.3 million a year earlier, according to the NPD Group Inc., a market research firm. It was the lowest monthly sales for August since 2006, said Anita Frazier, NPD's game analyst.

Sales of games software fell a punishing 14%, to $403.5 million, while sales of hardware console and accessories dropped 5% to $415.3 million.

Despite the lackluster sales, Madden NFL 11, published by Electronic Arts Inc., scored a touchdown. The football title, released Aug. 10, snagged the top two spots on the list of best-selling titles. The franchise has sold more than 85 million copies since the series began in 1988, not including the 1.8 million copies sold last month.

Because Madden NFL comes out every August, its developers struggle to grow the audience while giving its existing customers reasons to repurchase the title year after year. This year, that didn't seem to be an issue as sales of Madden NFL 11 were up 6% from last year.

Frazier attributes all of the gains on sales of the game for Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, which has steadily gained sales momentum since a big price cut last year that put the console under $300. Including August, the PS3 has clocked 13 consecutive months of sales increases.

The news was not as good around Nintendo Co.'s Wii, which posted its lowest ever monthly unit sales since the console went on sale November 2006, according to NPD. Once a hot commodity that was out of stock practically year-round, the Wii is beginning to show signs of becoming more of a traditional holiday-driven product, with sales spikes around Christmas and troughs in the summer.

To see the top 10 titles for August, click the "continue reading" button below.

Top 10 U.S. Video Games in August 2010

  1. Madden NFL 11 (Xbox 360)
  2. Madden NFL 11 (PlayStation 3) 
  3. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo Wii)
  4. Mafia II (Xbox 360)
  5. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS)
  6. New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)
  7. Mafia II (PS3)
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
  9. NCAA Football 11 (Xbox 360)
  10. Wii Fit Plus (Wii)

Source: NPD Group Inc.

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Madden NFL 11. Credit: Electronic Arts.