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Nintendo and EA dominate July game sales, but industry slips 5th month in a row

August 13, 2009 |  4:40 pm
Wii Sports Resort
Wii Sports Resort scores 1st place in July's top selling games in the U.S. Credit: Nintendo.

The video game industry experienced a stomach-churning 29% drop in U.S. sales in July, its third worst year-over-year slide since January 1995, when the NPD Group first began tracking sales data.

The monthly decline, the industry's fifth consecutive, means the industry is now down 14% this year compared to the first seven months of 2008. To climb out of the red zone, sales from August through December would need to grow 11% from last year, said Anita Frazier, an NPD analyst.

"While year-to-date results are weak, there are some titles set to be released over the next several months ... which could help spur sales," Frazier said. Those include Madden NFL 10 from Electronic Arts, The Beatles: Rock Band from MTV Games, Halo 3: ODST from Microsoft and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 from Activision.

With such a tough economic environment, however, publishers are instead delaying releases of key titles and shifting them away from the Christmas holiday sales window to avoid being drowned out. Having fewer titles in the lineup could mean even lower sales for 2009.

Console sales have also taken a hit, plunging 37% in July from a year ago. Sales of Nintendo's Wii console, currently the No. 1 living room game platform, spiraled down 55%, its fifth consecutive double-digit monthly decline, according to Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Click "continue reading" to see the top 10 game titles for July, which were dominated by Nintendo and EA.

  1. Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
  2. NCAA Football 10 (Xbox 360)
  3. NCAA Football 10 (PlayStation 3)
  4. Wii Fit (Wii)
  5. Mario Kart (Wii)
  6. Mario Kart (Nintendo DS)
  7. Pokemon Platinum Version (Nintendo DS)
  8. Fight Night Round 4 (Xbox 360)
  9. New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)
  10. EA Sports Active (Wii)

Source: The NPD Group

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.