September was another bad month for the retail video games business, despite the release of big name titles like Borderlands 2, Madden NFL 13, Guild Wars 2, and World of Warcraft. The NPD Group has just released its sales data for the month of September, and total industry sales were down 24% in the month. Hardware sales dropped 40% on the whole, and software sales fell a modest 14%.
September had a few big name releases in it on the software side of things. Gearbox released the popular sequel Borderlands 2. EA Sports released its Madden, FIFA, and NHL franchises, which all did as expected. Blizzard released its World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion which has analysts conflicted on its success.
While the extension of this console lifecycle may be having an impact on the bottom line for video game publishers, the NPD Group data only covers a portion of the industry as a result of the shift towards digital distribution.
There will probably be some relief from these declines during the holiday season, but without new consoles analysts expect this trend to continue into 2013 until the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 join the Wii U in the next-generation.