NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of video games firms like Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report, Electronic Arts (ERTS) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) - Get Report were mixed Friday coming off news of sluggish video game sales in July.
In short, the video game industry had another disappointing month.
According to research firm NPD, overall game revenue was $846.5 million in July, slightly lower than the $848.9 million the industry tallied a year ago. The decline was due mainly to sluggish game sales, which dropped 12% to $403.3 million, compared to $437 million in 2009.
Electronic Arts' NCAA Football 11 sold well in July
Console sales were actually up in July from $280.9 million in 2009 to $313.8 million this year.
once again had a big showing. Although each it didn't lead console sales during the month, the company sold 398,400 DS units and 253,900 Wiis in July. On the software side, Nintendo continued to impress with both
Super Mario Galaxy 2
New Super Mario Bros
. Wii took two out of the top ten spots -- four and nine, respectively -- on the bestselling games list.
But Nintendo is just one company of several that had a stake in July's gaming results. Read on to see how some of the top video game companies in the industry fared in July -- and how the results are impacting stocks today.
At first glance, NPD's numbers show that
seemed to have a bad July. According to the research firm's sales figures,
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
was the only Activision Blizzard game to make the bestselling games list. And that title was released last year.
But at the end of the month, Activision Blizzard released
, a wildly popular PC game that, according to the research firm, sold a whopping 721,000 units at launch. (PC games were not included in NPD's report.)
was developed by Blizzard, the same company that owns the
World of Warcraft series
-- another cash cow for Activision Blizzard.
Shares of Activision, which are down nearly 5% for the current month, were trading slighty up -- 0.37% -- Friday at $10.87.
Electronic Arts continues to enjoy a strong showing in game sales. The company's
NCAA Football 11
took the top two spots in July's retail game sales. It sold 368,000 units of the Xbox 360 version of the game while the PlayStation 3 version tallied 298,000 units in sales. That's not a fantastic showing, but considering it was released about halfway through July, the figures are strong -- so far.
It's been a good year sales-wise for EA, despite its year-long stock slump. The company has been at, or near, the top of game sales nearly every month so far this year. Plus, most game critics agree that
Mass Effect 2
, which the company published earlier this year, is the top game released so far in 2010.
EA's stock was up 0.51% to $15.84 in intraday trading on Friday.
Microsoft might be waning in the smartphone/mobile device sector, but it arguably had the best July of any video game company. For the first time since September 2007, Microsoft led console sales with 443,500 units sold during the month. The figure easily bested Nintendo's showing, and eclipsed
214,500 PlayStation 3 units sold. Overall, Microsoft enjoyed a whopping 119% increase in console sales compared to July 2009.
Microsoft's strong sales were due in main part to the company's release of the Xbox 360 Slim, a smaller version of its console. And with Microsoft Kinect, the firm's motion-gaming peripheral that uses just the player's body to control on-screen action, expected to perform well at retail when it launches in November, it could be a good year for Microsoft's gaming division.
Microsoft shares were down 0.17% to $24.50 on Friday.
Although Sony was once a dominant player in the gaming space, the company continues to trail the competition by a wide margin. As noted, the company sold just 214,500 PlayStation 3 units in July. Sony is calling it a victory, since it sold just 121,800 PlayStation 3 consoles in July 2009, but considering how far behind Microsoft it was last month, it's hard to find a silver lining.
Sony's portable-gaming device, the PlayStation Portable, saw sales plummet in July. The company sold just 84,000 units, compared to 122,800 units in July 2009.
Overall, there wasn't much for Sony to like in last month's NPD figures. The company is hoping that the PlayStation Move, its answer to the Nintendo Wii's motion gaming, will help revive its ailing console.
Sony shares were trading up 40 cents to $30.09 on Friday.
had somewhat of a disappointing showing in July. Although the company's
Red Dead Redemption
for the Xbox 360 took the sixth-spot for highest game sales, the company didn't have another title in the top ten.
Through the end of the year, Take-Two is putting much of its hope into
, the follow-up to the relatively popular
. The game is expected to launch on August 24. Other than that, Take-Two doesn't have much in the pipeline for 2010.
Take-Two was trading down 11 cents to $8.40 on Friday; the stock is down about 17% for the month.
-- Written by Don Reisinger in New York
Don Reisinger has been writing columns and blogs about the technology and video game industries for years. His work appears in some of the tech industry?s biggest publications, as well as in the
Los Angeles Times
, where he blogs about social networking. Follow Reisinger on Twitter @donreisinger.