February game sales slide 20% - NPD

PlayStation Vita launch can't save a rough month at retail; Modern Warfare 3 tops the software charts again as industry continues sales slump.

The game industry posted its third straight month of declines in February. The industry-tracking NPD Group today released its sales figures, showing downward trends across the board.

The Vita launch could not turn the industry's fortunes around.

Total physical US retail sales for February amounted to $1.06 billion, down 20 percent year-over-year. Software fared even worse, with the combined haul of all games down 24 percent to $485.7 million. Those declines came despite the presence in the market of two new systems that weren't on shelves in February of 2011: the 3DS and PlayStation Vita. While hardware sales benefited from the newer systems and were up over January, they were still down 18 percent year-over-year to $381.4 million.

The NPD Group said that with four days on sale after its official launch, the Vita managed to place its best-selling title, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, in the top 20 of the software charts. The portable--which requires a memory card for a number of games but doesn't include one in its least expensive bundle--also racked up $10 million in accessory sales.

Overall software sales were led once again by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. But depending on how one looks at the numbers, it might have been a different Activision catalog release deserving of the top spot. The NPD Group said that Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure toys that interact with the game accounted for three of the top 10 accessory sales of the month. Were they to be included with the sales of the standard game, Skylanders "easily claims the top spot for content-related sales," the NPD Group said.

New releases were still well represented on the charts, with Final Fantasy XIII-2, UFC Undisputed 3, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning taking the next three spots on the charts. New releases in the back half of the top 10 included Namco Bandai's SoulCalibur V (seventh place) and Sony's PS3-exclusive Twisted Metal (ninth).

FEBRUARY 2012 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Total retail sales: $1.06 billion (-20%)
Non-PC hardware: $381.4 million (-18%)
Non-PC software: $464.4 million (-23%)
Total software: $485.7 million (-24%)
Accessories: $215.2 million (-16%)

TOP 10 GAMES FOR FEBRUARY 2012
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - Activision
2. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, PS3) - Square Enix
3. UFC Undisputed 3 (X360, PS3) - THQ
4. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (X360, PS3, PC) - Electronic Arts
5. Just Dance 3 (Wii, X360, PS3) - Ubisoft
6. NBA 2K12 (X360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, PC) - Take-Two
7. SoulCalibur V (X360, PS3) - Namco Bandai
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC) - Bethesda Softworks
9. Twisted Metal (PS3) - Sony
10. Battlefield 3 (X360, PS3, PC) - EA

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Discussion

64 comments
carnivalshow
carnivalshow

Twisted metal and skyrim the only good games on that list.

digi-demon
digi-demon

Nice to see Europe featured in these types of article....

metalkitten
metalkitten

wow... what a horrible list of most sold games - is this some joke?? i had soo many games coming out in february that i bought! (ds, 3ds and ps3, psp - not one mentioned here ! oh and wii but its europe only) i seriously hope europe had a different top list and japan too cause this reaks of bad taste

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

@PillyChickle Actually we are still spending in january, this month is actually the best month to find deals =)

Darnasian
Darnasian

@manhunted Nice dreams... But this industry is too FKED UP and too lazy to do anything about it... I too share the same opinion...but let's be honest...developers are too lazy to do a damn thing and still they are the ones complaining...

manhunted
manhunted

At the end of the day game sales are failing cos theres no GOOD F*****G GAMES coming out for the forseeable. Sure theres The last of us which looks pretty sweet, but game companies make the mistake every year of not cashing in on the post Chritmas, pre summer release date, onlyTwisted Metal has appeared this year.... oh and FF13-2. We need a revolution, FPS is dead and gone to most, its time for something NEW!!!!!!

kokwey41
kokwey41

can't believe COD and BF, still in top 10 after 3-4 month release

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

guess thats the dlc era is decline game sales.........greatly

chyng85
chyng85

Glad that FFXIII-2 was 2nd~!

Oldboy08
Oldboy08

the US sales charts depress me.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@X_Colbert_X, Granted. I suppose that's you'reright about that and all; I can't say it's really surprising though when you consider this time of the year is pretty tight for many that game, following the holidays.

Bigbomb94
Bigbomb94

Seems like every time I see news about game sales, they always seem to be sliding or declining or something among those words.

manhunted
manhunted

So any ideas as to what can replace cod?? Battlefield?? cmon, all FPS are finished, The game industry needs a hardcore revolution!! Cmon yunguns, bring something new!!! revolution revolution

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

Yes dec xmas, jan boxing day than mid jan online only boxing day, Feb received master card/visa bill march stress, april pay may pay june pay Baaam july PSVITA!!! =)

digi-demon
digi-demon

March will be even worse for UK Game Group..... I can hear the vultures circling...........

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

@Sendmn23 you don't have to pay for the ending for now anyway as there is neither dlc nor a sequel announced as of yet. and its ff13-2 not ffx-2. ffx-2 came out last gen.

DeFiLeDTitan
DeFiLeDTitan

rough economy. First thing to go are the luxuries. Not really surprising

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@Cozm1kaos Have you also noticed irrational tendencies like letting independent analysts and factual sales (which gets reported on other systems too like the 3DS was crapped on due to the slow sales early on) set your opinion on news sites? It's news, and it's factual news so where does the sudden paranoia come from? This seems to happen with every Sony system where the fans get really defensive of any bad news, even factual news but overall it's only the launch so things will turn around as Sony tends to support it's systems quite well.

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

not surprised considering how few titles were released in q1 this year compared to last year. feb was pretty much dead.

PillyChickle
PillyChickle

@cozm1kaos Actually, you're wrong. It's January when people feel the pinch, February is where people get their tax returns, and if you compare hardware and software sales to January, they're higher. You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. The Vita didn't do well at launch, that's a fact, and it is certainly not about throwing apples, it's about whether people accept reality or not. You need to stop trying to masquerade facts as bashing.

X_Colbert_X
X_Colbert_X

@Cozm1kaos When did I ever mention anything about Sony or the launch of the Vita? I was responding to someone who was referring to the industry as a whole in comparison to other industries--not one specific company or product. Yes, it is true the economy changes by the second. However, a 20% drop is considerable and that is the point I was trying to make.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

@Sendmn23 you have 2 options, stop paying for DLC or just stop playing =). @X_Colbert_X The system came out at the wrong time, right after holidays DONE. The economy changes everyday!! this is an unfair comparison, last year's economy is different than this years, and it changes by the second. Like i said before people are just throwing apples at sony =)

Sendmn23
Sendmn23

to be honest I hope the game industry crashes. I really do. I'm sick and tired of being milked. I'm sick and tired of being charged for stuff that was pretty much standard last gen. "DLC" in concept was supposed to add more depth to the game... the illusion... now you have developers whoring themselves to dlc... square enix with having to pay for the ending of Final Fantasy x-2.. capcom charging for content ALREADY ON THE DISC, and calling it "DOWN LOADABLE CONTENT!" And I hate how arrogant these companies/publishers are getting.

X_Colbert_X
X_Colbert_X

@PumpkinBoogie You're right. $1.06 billion is not a huge slump when compared to other industries. However the article--and NPD for that matter--is not comparing this figure to other industries. It's comparing it to the same number in the same industry from 12 months ago--a number that was 20% higher. A 20% slump is disappointing, regardless of what the overall figure may be.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

@PumpkinBoogie I completely agree with you bro!!!! this is true. It seems like Sony is getting apples thrown at them for nothing. I noticed Gamespot always stirring the pot to!!! Stop plotting against Sony we need them around!!

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

Oh yeah because $1.06 billion sooo bad of a slump.....:| Gotta love how NPD make that sound so disappointing. I can think of a plenty of industries/businesses that WISH they could pull that in. Geez, it was 2nd month of a new year and 2 months after the holiday season, what the hell do they expect.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I got Modern Warfare 3 as a "bonus throw in" with the Uncharted 3 320GB console. I didn't really expect MW3 to top the charts instead of Battlefield 3.

de_graph
de_graph

Sales are down for 2 reasons: The economy is poor and the games are poor. There is far more schlock being released than primo games.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@ Cozm1kaos You do know that the games are tied to your PSN account. Therefore you can buy many games and swap out like you can with PS3 games that you purchase online. Thus there is NO requirement for a several memory sticks, or a large memory stick for that matter. It depends on HOW many games you want on the stick at one time!!

brosim1104
brosim1104

So, no hardware sales for the month so that the people won't see that VITA sales are in the 4th-5th place? Hmm.. .

Psythce
Psythce

@Gen007: Are you kidding me? there is one thing that can be greater than the sales of the holidays, and thats income tax season, which is technically January through April, and you think that releasing within this time frame is a joke? dude, your a joke and dont know your talking about.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

One of the main issues is when you release a product in the Internet and a product on retail, they fight directly against each other, you spend more to reach the very same amount of consumers, and to receive less in the end. Whiteout mentioning the huge price of games, which exist because of the massive amount of anti-piracy measure and anti-used sales, they still think sales would rise.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

The only real problem here is the price of the memory sticks; if they continue to sell them for an expensive price. Than this will be the fall of VITA sadly but true. I have the daam thing, but i am afraid to purchase games due to that reason, i have to pick and choose the best games to buy: games that are worth filling up my memory card. At the end of the day we all will find our selves pay a 6 month fee of 60 to 100 bux on memory sticks. That is outrageous come on PS

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

It's been a fairly crap month for gaming that's probably why.. Call of Duty still number one though? What the hell :?

servb0ts
servb0ts

Ohh well can't be helped lol. :P

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

gamespot indirectly tells us to hold on buying a vita. if the sales are keep doing badly then 3rd parties will definitely pull out their vita's projects

Joedgabe
Joedgabe

Well maybe it's because there aren't many games coming out... 1 or 2 games can only interest so many people.

X-RS
X-RS

Connection maybe?!?

CamoBullo
CamoBullo

The Vita's sales aren't discouraging me to buy it. I think it'll be great, as great games are coming out for it soon, that's not to say great games aren't already on there, such as Ninja Gaiden and UMvC3.

Sunuva22
Sunuva22

they are probably having this slump because of an increase in gas prices this crap effects everything from food prices to having enough extra money to purchase a game

Gen007
Gen007

@tiki_tidalwave I mean money year round for normal games not for a $250 or $300 handheld plus a $50 game and an $100 mem card. People like to spend like that during the holidays not so much afterwards. Also yes Nintendo wasn't smart to miss the holiday season. I remember the 3DS being quite anemic at launch it wasn't until later on when there was a price drop followed even later by better games did things began to pick up. So no i wouldn't advise releasing hardware outside of the holiday season. They could have had a stronger start if they had. Also The vita launch line up was lack luster even with extra time and uncharted was a launch title in Japan so i dont see why they would have needed to wait for it.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

Sometimes I wonder about the sales of digital downloads.

soulless4now
soulless4now

lol I almost forgot there was a FF game that came out not too long ago. But really, no Vita games? Not even Uncharted?

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

Modern Warfare 3 does not have a lasting appeal like some of the other Call of Duty's like MW2. MW3 is just plain boring after 30 minutes of playing it because over half the maps look like Havana from Black Ops.

Zelosthebrave
Zelosthebrave

Finally, this Wii thing is dying out. (for a couple of months)

tiki_tidalwave
tiki_tidalwave

@Gen007 I find it odd that you would write: "The gaming industry should really rethink cramming everything into the 3rd and 4th quarter. There's plenty of money to be made year round for games not just in the winter." Then your next line says: "Also Sony is dumb for releasing a system just after the holiday season." But, Sony didn't cram the Vita into the 3rd or 4th quarter. Since, as you say "there is money to be made year round." It's likely they were waiting for additional games to be completed (Uncharted for example) to create a greater demand than releasing it during the holidays with fewer titles completed. Also, the 3DS was released last March. Were they dumb for releasing the system after the holidays? I certainly don't think so.

Bangerman15
Bangerman15

nothing vita up there? oh well i was one of the few who purchased and i love it