The Next Great Game

Video game and console sales plunge 20% in August


Not even Batman and Spider-Man could pull the interactive entertainment industry out of its sales funk, as sales of video games and consoles fell 20 percent in August from a year earlier despite chart-topping titles featuring the two superheroes.

Last month’s sales were $515.6 million, compared with $647.2 million in 2011, according to a report from NPD Group Inc., a market research firm.

Sales of console hardware such as Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 were hit hardest, registering a 39 percent drop, as consumers may have held back spending in anticipation of newer consoles on the horizon. Nintendo, for example, is expected to release its next-generation Wii U game console this year, and Microsoft and Sony Corp. are reportedly developing their next game machines.

“The current hardware systems are showing their age,” said Anita Frazier, NPD’s game analyst. “So it goes without saying that it would be great to have new systems breathe life into traditional retail industry sales.”

Game software rang up $252.8 million in sales last month, down 11 percent from $283.3 million a year earlier.

Mirroring this summer’s slate of superhero movies, August’s top 10 games had three titles featuring comic book characters, “Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes,” “Batman: Arkham City” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

That wasn’t enough to prevent the industry from posting its ninth consecutive double-digit monthly sales decline…

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