As much as the gaming industry would like to put 2009 and its lengthy sales slump behind it, 2010 got off to a most familiar start. The industry-tracking NPD Group today released its US retail sales figures for January, showing that overall game revenues were down 13 percent year-over-year for the month, totaling $1.17 billion.
Much of the decline was attributable to sluggish hardware numbers, with January's $353.7 million of combined system sales representing a 21 percent drop from the first month of 2009. Software sales were down 12 percent year-over-year to $597.9 million, while accessories actually posted a growth of 2 percent, ending the month with $217 million in retail sales.
The Wii and DS topped the hardware charts as usual, selling 465,800 and 422,200 units, respectively. The battle for bronze was a little more interesting, as the Xbox 360 regained third place from the PlayStation 3, outselling Sony's resurgent next-generation platform 322,800 to 276,900.
Part of the credit for the Xbox 360's hardware success can go to Electronic Arts' Mass Effect 2, which debuted exclusively on Microsoft's console and the PC last month. The BioWare-developed role-playing game sold 572,100 copies, good enough for second on the software charts.
However, the latest adventure for Commander Shepard and crew could not wrest the top spot from reigning champ New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nintendo's four-player side-scrolling platformer enjoyed its second month at the top of the charts with 656,700 units sold. It had plenty of corporate company, as Nintendo's evergreen titles Wii Fit Plus (third place), Mario Kart Wii (fifth place), and Wii Sports Resort (sixth place) also made the top 10.
Activision's blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 also showed continued strength at retail, with the Xbox 360 version selling 326,700 copies, good enough for fourth overall. Meanwhile, the PS3 edition of the game finished in seventh place with 259,000 units sold.
Mass Effect 2 wasn't the only new face, as a trio of new releases rounded out the top 10. EA's other big debut of the month, Army of Two: The 40th Day, sold 246,500 on the Xbox 360 to make eighth place. THQ's new action franchise Darksiders also had a strong debut on Microsoft's console, with the Xbox 360 edition finishing in 10th place with 171,200 sold. Finally, Ubisoft's Just Dance broke into the NPD's top 10 list for the first time, with the casual Wii game selling 191,900 copies for the month.
US VIDEO GAMES INDUSTRY - JANUARY 2010
Hardware: $353.7 million (-21%)
Software: $597.9 million (-12%)
Accessories: $217 million (2%)
Total Games: $1.17 billion (-13%)
TOP-SELLING HARDWARE - JANUARY 2010
Nintendo DS: 422,200
Xbox 360: 332,800
PlayStation 3: 276,900
PlayStation 2: 41,600
TOP-SELLING SOFTWARE SKUs - JANUARY 2010
Title / Platform / Publisher / Units**
1) New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Wii / Nintendo / 656,700
2) Mass Effect 2 / X360 / Electronic Arts / 572,100
3) Wii Fit Plus w/ Balance Board / Wii / Nintendo / 555,700
4) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / X360 / Activision / 326,700
5) Mario Kart Wii w/Wheel / Wii / Nintendo / 310,900
6) Wii Sports Resort w/Wii MotionPlus / Wii / Nintendo / 297,600
7) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / PS3 / Activision / 259,000
8) Army of Two: The 40th Day / X360 / Electronic Arts / 246,500
9) Just Dance / Wii / Ubisoft / 191,900
10) Darksiders / X360 / THQ / 171,200
** = Figures include Collector's Editions and non-hardware bundles.