‘Madden NFL’ spikes August sales

Football videogame sells 2.3 million copies

The latest version of “Madden NFL” won in a blowout during a slow August that saw the videogame biz lose a bit of its mojo.

NPD Group data shows that “Madden NFL ’09” sold 2.3 million units domestically from its Aug. 12 bow through the end of the month. That’s a boffo debut by any measure, though up only 2% from last year, which is somewhat disappointing given the huge growth in the videogame biz in the past year, higher prices and the game’s much improved critical reception.

Virtually flat sales for “Madden” helped lead the videogamie biz to its slowest growing month this year, up just 9% from last August. It’s the first month in 2008 that hasn’t seen revenue growth in the double digits.

Hardware sales took the biggest hit, rising only 3%, while game sales grew a more solid 13%. Overall, videogame revenue is still up an impressive 32% this year at $10.55 billion.

Xbox 360 version of “Madden NFL ’09” was the month’s top seller, at 1 million units, indicating that Microsoft’s console remains the top choice for hardcore gamers. That was followed by Sony’s Playstation 3 at 643,000 units and 425,000 for the Playstation 2. A more accessible version of the game for Nintendo’s Wii didn’t find its intended mainstream aud, selling only 116,000.

Nonetheless, Nintendo games took five of the top 10 spots and the Wii console remained dominant, selling 453,000 units. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 sold a much weaker 195,000 and 185,000 units, respectively.

Microsoft is hoping to get a boost going into the holiday season from a recent price cut that the company says led to a doubling of sales on the first weekend it was in effect.

Lifetime to date, Nintendo has sold almost 12 million units, while the 360 has sold 10.9 million and the PS3 5.3 million.

The only other new game to hit the U.S. top 10 in August is Microsoft’s Xbox 360 exclusive “Too Human,” which sold a soft 168,000 units.