New Titles Marginally Boost Lagging Videogame Market in October

The videogame industry grew by 1 percent in October, driven by hardcore game launches such as Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City from Warner Bros.

In all, physical sales of both hardware and software totaled $1.08 billion, up from $1.07 billion year over year, according to NPD Group’s monthly U.S. game industry report.

The biggest console performer was the Xbox for the ninth month in a row. It sold 393,000 units, up 21 percent compared to October 2010 — resulting in a 44 percent industry share.

David Dennis, Group Product Manager of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, told AllThingsD that sales were driven by blockbuster games that started to launch in September and grew in October.

During the month, six of the top 10 console games were available on the Xbox, including Battlefield 3, Batman, NBA 2K12, Rage, and exclusives including Forza Motorsport 4 and Gears of War 3.

The other hardware platform that performed surprisingly well was Nintendo’s portable 3DS, which clearly has benefited from a steep price drop. After a poor reception in July, Nintendo slashed the price of the 3DS to $169.99 from $249.99.

The 3DS was the second-best-selling hardware platform, and when combined with the older DS model sales, Nintendo sold 25 percent more compared to last October.

In all, it sold 1.65 million units, Nintendo said, to put it on track to surpass the first-year total of the Nintendo DS, which sold 2.37 million in its first 12 months on market.

Nintendo’s home console system, the Wii, didn’t do as well. It sold 250,000 units.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus