July NPD: NCAA Football 12 leads; overall retail sales down 26%

Market research firm NPD Group's retail-only data for the month of July has been released, with Electronic Art's latest college football entry, NCAA Football 12 taking top honors. NCAA 12 sold the best this July, "realizing a 15% increase in unit sales versus NCAA 11 in July 2010." That aside, "video game sales in the new physical retail channel suffered its lowest month since October 2006," noted NPD Analyst, Anita Frazier. New sales are down four percent, year-to-date, with a projected year-end sales figure that's two percent less than last year.

Total game sales fell to $687 million versus $855.3 million during the same period last year.

Software "saw a 10% decline in unit sales versus last July," which isn't entirely surprising given that last July saw 29 new title releases, whereas this July, only 17 new titles were released.

Average sales per new release (excluding NCAA Football 12) were up 42%, however.

Compared to last year, console sales suffered the greatest dollar decline, which the report attributes to "a decrease in unit sales as the average selling price for console hardware was essentially flat to last year." July also marks the first month since December of 2009 that the Xbox 360 saw a year-over-year decline in hardware sales, though it's worth noting that the slim-form Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 was introduced last July, thus improving overall sales during the same period last year.

Growth in other areas such as "digital sales of full games and add-on content, mobile games, and social network gaming" could "result in 2011 showing growth over 2010," despite the decline in physical retail sales, the report surmises.

(Note: The NPD Group no longer lists software for individual platforms. Sales for all platforms will now be combined when listed in the "Top Ten" and no figures will be released to the public from the NPD Group. Listing counts new physical retail sales only.)