NPD Instant Analysis: Things You Should NoteS

Do not ignore the downloadables like Shadow Complex. Do not gloat about Activision's rare misfortune. And do find a hope for Scribblenauts.

Here's some of my monthly instant analysis for all those NPD August hardware and software sales figures McWhertor just posted. Study them and then consider the following as viable talking points when you're flirting with someone in a bar this weekend or thinking of a topic for your first term paper or just making small talk with your dog...

Shadow Complex Would Have Been #6... Or So: Microsoft announced last month that the downloadable game Shadow Complex sold more than 200,000 copies in its first week of sales, starting August 19. That's more copies than all but five games on the NPD list sold in the month. We don't know how many copies the $15 downloadable sold by month's end, but Dissidia: Final Fantasy, which was released a week later, managed 130,000 during its month. Shadow Complex handily beat it as well as the PS2 version of Madden. Those were more expensive games, but NPD does rank by units. When it comes to tallying which games sold to the most gamers in the month, remember the downloadables. (Note: Gamasutra shows that Trials HD may have ranked even higher, though this also raises the question of whether it's fair to compare what appears to be worldwide sales of XBLA games to U.S.-only NPDs)

Madden Ennui: EA's annual hit football series posted big numbers on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2, but there's no sign of the Wii edition, despite the series being re-retooled. How many more times does EA have to re-invent the series before it clicks with the Wii audience, who, this top 10 list indicates, have nothing against certain types of sports games?

The Gap Closed: A $100 price drop didn't enable the PlayStation 3 to out-sell the Xbox 360, but it's possible that people were waiting to buy a Slim. The redesigned system wasn't available in many regions until after the 8/29 conclusion of the August sales month. Regardless, the Wii didn't even beat the Xbox 360 by that much, bunching the Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo systems at 210,000, 215,400 and 277,400. It's getting cozy there.

Handheld Stereotypes Persevere: A game with Final Fantasy in the title can get a PSP game finally back in the top 10. And a kid-friendly new intellectual property called Fossil Fighters can score a bigger first-month number on the Nintendo DS than a new Grand Theft Auto. Each was on sale for the same amount of days: 19. That success of Fossil Fighters is a possible good sign for another kid-friendly DS game... Scribblenauts.

Activision Shut Out: There aren't many times Activision's many detractors can be gleeful, so they might want to stare at these NPDs and smile just this once. Activision is absent from the list of top 10 games, as are all other publishers in the industry except Nintendo, EA and Square Enix (the last of which recently bought Batman publisher Eidos).

Notable new releases that failed to make the overall software top 10 (With no console or handheld version selling more than 92,000 units in the U.S. by August 29) : G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (August 4), Wolfenstein (August 18), Metroid Prime Trilogy (August 24), Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (August 24)

NPD-PDs will return next month... if you demand them!