Dragon Quest IX Trumps Halo 3 ODST, Madden NFL 10

Dragon Quest IX

Nintendo DS uber-RPG Dragon Quest IX won't reach US shores until sometime next year, but it's already leading Wii Sports Resort, Madden NFL 10, and Halo 3: ODST in key international markets. A new report from Top Global Markets combining third quarter sales data from trackers NPD Group (US), GfK Chart-Track Limited (UK), and Enterbrain, Inc. (Japan) reveals Dragon Quest IX with four million units from July, up a full million over the next bestselling game, Wii Sports Resort.

3.925m - Dragon Quest IX (Japan)
3.014m - Wii Sports Resort (1.7m US / 841k Japan)
2.612m - Madden NFL 10 (2.6m US / 30k UK)
2.068m - Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver (Japan)
1.847m - Halo 3: ODST (1.5m US / 33k Japan / 294k UK)

The report also briefed on general third quarter market trends, indicating Japan unit sales increased 15 percent overall, compared to a 20 percent decline for the same period last year. While year-to-date sales are down 9 points, the country saw console and handheld software growth of 7 and 19 percent respectively.

Third quarter UK unit sales dropped 19 points, contrasted against a 9 percent downswing in the US. UK handheld software sales plummeted 34 percent, compared with 14 percent in the US, while UK console software sales fell 12 percent against an 8 percent decline in the US.

As expected, the numbers showed significant downturns in the UK and US, with year-to-date unit sales declining 13 percent in the UK against an 8 percent decline in the US.

While the numbers sound grim, they're not as bad as they might have been (speaking strictly in terms of US data) without September's sudden upturn. Top Global Markets' third quarter data includes unit sales from July to September 2009--as it stands, September 2009 unit sales were flat over the same period last year, but notably up over the prior five months.

Recent console price cuts coupled with the arrival of holiday blockbusters should improve year-to-date unit numbers. Whether that'll be enough to swing the US full circle--possibly even into the black before year's end--remains to be seen.

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