The release of PC-exclusive “Starcraft II” from Activision-Blizzard.
The NPD Group’s figures focus exclusively on console sales, since sales of new PC games are generally a small part of the industry’s overall revenue.
“Starcraft II” is an exception, though. Activision has previously announced that 1.5 million copies of the game sold within the first 48 hours.
July has the easiest dollar comparison of the year, but 2009 did have one strong title – Nintendo’s “Wii Sports Resort,” which included a new peripheral that made the Wii controller more accurate. July 2010 lacked any significant releases.
The top sellers for the month are expected to include Electronic Arts “NCAA Football 11,” Microsoft’s “Crackdown 2” – with the year’s bestseller so far, Take Two Interactive Software’s “Red Dead Redemption,” likely having a decent showing as well.
Year to date, video game software sales (the most closely watched number of the monthly reports) are down 8 percent. To match last year’s disappointing sales numbers, every month, including July, would have to have a growth rate of better than 3 percent.
That’s unlikely. Most analysts are expecting flat to negative growth overall in 2010.
And publishers, they say, may only have themselves to blame. The rise in games with deep, engaging multiplayer components could be preventing people from buying new games.