Kickoff lifts games

'Madden' is EA's bestselling title of the month

The kickoff of football season helped the videogame biz score a touchdown as Electronic Arts’ latest installment in its “Madden NFL” franchise earning 6% more than last year as the bestselling title of the month.

The game took the top two spots, moving more than 1.8 million units, followed by Nintendo’s “Super Mario Galaxy 2,” Take-Two Interactive’s “Mafia 2” and Nintendo’s “New Super Mario Bros.,” to round out the top five.

But the industry still has a lot of yardage to make up to reach last year’s sales. Despite the success of “Madden NFL 11,” August was one of the worst months for the games sector since 2006, according to NPD.

Hardware and software sales were down 10% in August, earning $819 million. Overall, the industry is down 8% for the year, with a tally of $8.37 billion. To date, the top 10 games have sold 3.3 million units this year vs. 4.1 million in 2009.

New hardware like Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Move, and the sale of games for those systems, could still provide a much-needed boost to the industry, however, NPD said, with year-end figures expected to come in at $18.6 billion-$20 billion.

Last year’s haul was $20.2 billion and more than $21 billion in 2008.

The Xbox 360 was the top-selling console for the third consecutive month, moving nearly 357,000 units in August. Sales could spike further in the coming months with the release of “Halo: Reach” on Sept. 14. Sony also is enjoying steady sales growth for its Blu-ray-capable PlayStation 3, with the console improving its numbers for 13 months in a row. It sold 226,000 units in August.

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