'Beatles,' 'Guitar Hero 5' lift slumping biz
The videogame biz has ended its six-month sales slump. New music titles “The Beatles: Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero 5” have scored big with gamers, and a price reduction has put more consoles into homes.The vidgame industry tuned up $1.28 billion in September, up a slight 1% over the same month last year. Overall, the biz is still down 13%, earning $10.4 billion for the year. The month marked the second-bestselling September on record for the games industry after 2007 when “Halo 3” was released and sold more than 3 million copies, according to NPD Group. This year, six new titles bowed in September, with Microsoft’s “Halo” franchise again the biggest seller, with “ODST” moving 1.5 million units. Among the music games that made the top 10 list, “Beatles: Rock Band” won out, selling 463,000 copies on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii consoles combined, vs. 211,000 copies for “Guitar Hero 5” on the Xbox 360. The sales are significant because the retail price of the “Beatles” title is 130% more than traditional games, according to NPD. Still, Nintendo’s “Wii Sports Resort,” which was released in July, was the second-bestselling game, with 443,000 copies, proving a consistent hit with the family market. Five of the top 10 games for the month were on the Xbox 360 platform. A decision by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to drop the price of their consoles paid off. Sony, especially, enjoyed a surge in sales, with its PlayStation 3 capturing the top spot for the month — the first time it’s done so since its debut in 2006 — because of a $100 price cut. PS3 sales were up 87% over August, and up 70% over last September. Comparably, Wii sales rose 33% and the Xbox 360 was up 31% over last month. Sales of Xbox 360 hardware, software and accessories made up 32% of the month’s revenues. The bestselling platform overall remained the Nintendo DS, which has topped hardware sales for six straight months.