updated 07:35 pm EDT, Thu August 11, 2011
Xbox 360 leads July 2011 despite low games
New NPD data has given the Xbox 360 the lead in a market that was the worst since October 2006. Microsoft's console moved 277,000 units in July, just half of what it managed in June, but was still enough to outsell Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii. While NPD didn't have hard data for the other systems, the lead was going to lead to the greatest year in the Xbox's 10-year history, Microsoft said.
The Xbox 360 was helped mostly by Kinect and the relative freshness of the slim Xbox 360 design, which shipped just over a year ago.
Sudden drops in sales were a mirror to much poorer game sales. The total mix was down 26 percent and saw just eight games get more than 100,000 sales. A year earlier, 19 games managed to break the same milestone. NPD researcher Anita Frazier noted that there were "substantially fewer" new games and that games that should have broken out, like Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, didn't do well.
Microsoft isn't poised to make many dramatic changes beyond the special edition Xbox 360s that are now a regular part of the holidays, but Nintendo has been taking drastic steps to prop up its sales. It just cut the 3DS to $170 far earlier than expected and is bringing over a red 3DS that was once Japan-only.
The performance was low enough that it only matched sales in October 2006, when the PS3 and Wii hadn't yet shipped in the US and many gamers were deliberately holding off on buying games and new systems.