By Jared Newman | Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 9:09 am
Video games sales bounced back modestly last month, snapping a six-month streak of declines from 2008, according to the NPD Group’s monthly sales figures.
Overall, North American game sales were one percent stronger last month than they were in September 2008. But software revenues were stronger than hardware, climbing 5 percent compared to the same month last year.
The reason, of course, is Halo 3: ODST, proving that Microsoft’s cash cow hasn’t dried up. ODST sold 1.52 million units last month, making it far and away the leader in software sales. Wii Sports Resort, a sequel to the pack-in classic Wii Sports that includes an accuracy-boosting MotionPlus peripheral, trailed in second with a mere 442,900 sales.
What’s interesting is that, despite past months of doom and gloom for the industry, gaming had its second-strongest September on record. The only September to top it was in 2007, led by — you guessed it — Halo 3. That month, the franchise’s Xbox 360 debut sold 3 million copies, while the next best-selling game, Wii Play, sold just 282,200 copies. To put it another way, the Master Chief basically carried the games industry on his back, and did so again last month without even starring in ODST.
It’s safe to say that the Halo craze is nowhere near over. ODST, which was originally conceived as an expansion pack, was criticized for being short and showing the series’ age, but it still received favorable reviews and sold phenomenally well. When the next full game, Halo: Reach, arrives next year, I’m guessing that even the people who avoided ODST (myself included) will want to take a look. Clearing the 1.5 million mark should be a breeze, and the games industry will look mighty once again.