May game sales numbers won’t cheer up anyone

The good news is video game software sales were up 4 percent
in May. The bad news is people were expecting them to be about twice as high.
The OTHER bad news is that video game hardware sales were down 20 percent in
May – dragging the industry as a whole down 5 percent compared to the 2009

While any improvement is a good one, it’s becoming clear
that the video game industry is not going to be able to easily shake off its
ongoing slump. May was a month loaded with potential blockbusters, including
“Red Dead Redemption,” “Alan Wake” and “Super Mario Galaxy 2”.

Two of those titles showed promise. “Red Dead” racked up
sales of 1.5 million in its first month – and the latest “Mario” sold nearly
564,000 copies in just over a week on shelves.

“Alan Wake,” however, was a snooze. The game only hit #8 in
the sales charts. While NPD did not provide sales data, it definitely sold well
under 200,000 copies. That’s surprising, given that the game was positioned as
one of the Xbox 360’s tent poles this year.

Also missing from the sales charts were several other
high-profile titles, including “Prince of Persia,” “Blur” and “Split/Second.”

On the hardware side, things were glum. Nintendo was once
again atop the heap, with the handheld DS unit selling nearly 384,000 units.
The Wii came in second, with roughly 335,000 sales. 195,000 Xbox 360s moved off
shelves and Sony sold 154,500 PS3s.

Year to date, the industry as a whole is 10 percent off of
last year’s disappointing pace, having earned $5.56 billion. Hardware sales are
down 20 percent overall and software sales are down 6 percent.

The month’s top 10 selling games, along with sales numbers
are after the break.

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