NPD: US April sales slide 17%, DS tops 1 million

Second monthly double-digit decline trims US game sales to $1.03 billion; Wii Fit, Pokemon Platinum, Mario Kart Wii, Wii Play, Mario Kart DS, and New Super Mario all finish in top 10.

As had been predicted, the US game industry saw the second month of double-digit year-on-year shrinkage last month, according to figures just released by the NPD Group. The research firm reported only $1.03 billion in April retail sales of non-PC hardware, software, and accessories, a decline of 17 percent--the same percentage as in March.

Guess DSi stands for "Dominating Sales in America."

But while many will pin the blame on the global economic crisis, analysts peg the decline on the gangbusters business done in April 2008. Echoing the statements of other industry cognoscenti earlier in the week, NPD's Anita Frazier said that system-selling hits like Mario Kart Wii and Grand Theft Auto IV skewed the year-over-year comparison.

"While April sales might appear soft on the surface, it's important to remember that April is being compared against a month (April 2008) that realized nearly 50 percent growth over April 2007," said Frazier. "This year's performance still represents the second-best performance for the industry in the month of April, besting April 2007, which is the previous second-place holder, by 26 percent."

"Given how strong the growth was in the industry last year, there are still some months ahead where year-over-year comparisons may be difficult, but May should be an easier comparison than the last two months have been."

While overall hardware sales sank 8 percent to $391.63 million last month, the charts saw one platform crush the competition. Thanks to the April 6 launch of the new DSi handheld, overall DS sales exceeded 1.03 million units--nearly three times the Wii's 340,000 units. In third place was the Xbox 360 with 175,000 units, followed by the PlayStation 2, which got a boost from its dead-serious April Fools' Day price drop to $99. In fourth place was the PlayStation 3 with 127,000 units, followed by the PSP with 116,000 units--nearly a tenth of its portable foe's.

The Big N also cast a long shadow over the month's software sales, which totaled $510.74 million--a decrease of 23 percent. The company's first-party games took the top four slots in the form of Wii Fit (1st, 471,000 units), Pokemon Platinum (2nd, 433,000 units), Mario Kart Wii (3rd, 210,000 units), and glorified Wii Remote pack-in Wii Play (4th, 170,000 units). It scored again lower down on the chart with two DS games over two years old--2006's New Super Mario Bros. (7th, 119,000 units) and 2005's Mario Kart DS (8th, 112,000 units).

On the third-party front, Electronic Arts' Godfather II overcame acrid reviews to whack fifth place (360, 155,000 units) and 10th place (PS3, 91,000 units). The 360 edition of last month's big game, Capcom's Resident Evil 5, zombie-shuffled into sixth place with 122,000 units, with the 360 version of Gutiar Hero Aerosmith--which had been severely discounted by retailers such as Best Buy--coming in ninth with 110,000 units.

US VIDEO GAMES INDUSTRY - APRIL 2009
Software: $510.74M (-23%)
Hardware: $391.63M (-8%)
Accessories: $129.45M (-15%)
Total Games: $1.03B (-17%)

TOP-SELLING HARDWARE - APRIL 2009
Nintendo DS: 1.04M
Wii: 340,000
Xbox 360: 175,000
PlayStation 2: 172,000
PlayStation 3: 127,000
PSP: 116,000

TOP-SELLING SOFTWARE SKUs - APRIL 2009
Title / Publisher / Units**
1) Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Wii) / Nintendo / 471,000
2) Pokemon Platinum (DS) / Nintendo / 433,000
3) Mario Kart Wii with Wheel (Wii) / Nintendo / 210,000
4) Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii) / Nintendo / 170,000
5) The Godfather II (360) / EA / 155,000
6) Resident Evil 5 (360) / Capcom / 122,000
7) New Super Mario Bros. (DS) / Nintendo / 119,000
8) Mario Kart DS (DS) / Nintendo / 112,000
9) Guitar Hero Aerosmith (360) / Activision Blizzard / 110,000
10) The Godfather II (PS3) / EA / 91,000

** = Figures include Collector's Editions and non-hardware bundles.

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Discussion

156 comments
Bluefish21
Bluefish21

I find it entirely amusing that many of the posters cite the fact that Sony isn't doing well due to developers not using the PS3 to it's full potential. Here's a little secret folks. The PS3 Developer tools not only suck, but how you have to manage your resources in it is even worse. Unlike the 360, which allows you to divvy up your memory however you want (models/poly counts, textures, lighting, etc), the PS3 has set limitations built into it. As an example, take the game MK vs DCU. For Gotham City and Metropolis there's about 60% less actual buildings in the PS3 version than the 360 version. So please, get with the program fanboys. 360's are easier to develop for (Microsoft even has a developer tool for homebrew apps!) and PS3's are still overpriced. BTW... I hate Microsoft. 360 is a good console, but their OS' blow ass.

Strife88
Strife88

Sales will most likely pick up based on what's shown this week.

dth_dlr
dth_dlr

no doubt industry sales will begin to pick up towards the end of this year. and the fact that the godfather 2 outsold RE5 in April is ridiculous.

hhap52
hhap52

once the DSi comes out with some good DSiWare, then I'll think about buying one

Wardrift
Wardrift

Bottom line: If Sony does not enact a serious competitive price-cut on their PS3 SKUs very soon, Microsoft and Nintendo (and Apple now too) will eventually dominate the gaming market and Sony will be relegated to a minor third player. Slashing the price of the 80 gig model to $300 is the very least they need to do. Because now people are complaining about why they should be paying $400+ for a 3 year-old no longer cutting-edge game console, which most modern gaming laptops can run circles around performance and graphics-wise. Microsoft, despite all its faults, has realized this issue and has acted accordingly(the Xbox 360 is actually 1 year older than its PS3 rival). It is simple practical business sense. Either Sony adapts and cuts their losses before their predicament becomes more dire (especially if rumors of the PSP's slow demise due to the I-Phone muscling-in on the portable console market are true), or the company will continue to lose profits and become a progressively diminished influence in the gaming market; a far-cry from their dominating days in the PS and PS2 eras.

RetroGamer34233
RetroGamer34233

Sony isn't going to dump the PS2 as long as it's selling so well. The problem with killing it off is there's no guarantee PS2 users are going to replace their $100 consoles with $400 PS3s. Instead, they may purchase cheaper Xbox 360s for a gaming experience similar to the PS3. Sony would then be losing customers, of course. Now, if developers begin using the PS3 to what Sony says is its full potential, then people may not be so afraid to spend the extra money. Believe it that people will pay more for a PS3 if the divide between what it and a 360 can do gets wide enough. Also, if the up-front cost of a new console is the issue, does anyone have any numbers comparing sales of the $400 Xbox 360 model to the $400 PS3 model? I'm guessing the $200 and $300 models are carrying the 360, but I'd like to see some numbers.

maverick_76
maverick_76

I think the most logical scenario for a price drop is either by $50 or $100, more or less and you won't really see a difference.

maverick_76
maverick_76

I loved the last part of the report where it said that GH:Aerosmith was severely discounted by retailers, lol. I think we are finally reaching a saturation point with the musical instrument games, FINALLY!

blackace
blackace

Wardrift If Sony dropped the 80 gig model to $250, and the 120 gig model down to $350, they may stand a chance of recovery. Also if rumors of the new PS3-slim are true, they would definitely need a serious price reduction to stay competitive, because I assure you another price drop for the Xbox 360 SKUs is imminent. *********************************************** Sony's not going to drop the PS3 $150 unless they want to go bankrupt in less then 2 yrs. They already lossed 1.7 billion last fiscal year, so it's unlikely there will be a huge drop on the PS3. Most likely it'll be $20-$50. Sony has already debunked the PS3 slim rumors, as that was bogus. If Sony does a price cut sure enough Microsoft will do a price cut themselves for the XBox 360.

FILIPINOMAZTER
FILIPINOMAZTER

lol @ fanboys ignoring the fact that ps2 outsold the ps3 and saying that the ps2 nearly outsold the 360

Wardrift
Wardrift

If Sony dropped the 80 gig model to $250, and the 120 gig model down to $350, they may stand a chance of recovery. Also if rumors of the new PS3-slim are true, they would definitely need a serious price reduction to stay competitive, because I assure you another price drop for the Xbox 360 SKUs is imminent.

link_15
link_15

"haloshalo Posted May 16, 2009 1:57 pm GMT +3 its a crime to buy ps3 in this economic situation " why?

Fady117
Fady117

People should learn that owning more than 1 console is serious business.

haloshalo
haloshalo

its a crime to buy ps3 in this economic situation

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

i'd say 2009 is the last year for the ps3 if no price drop/s

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

Playstations last again. there is issues with the ps3... its time to drop it and just be a third party like Sega. thanks for the blu ray but no thanks, dont want/need

wahyudil
wahyudil

where are those wii hard core games???

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

wallywallas - Don't know if that was a typo but either way, the PS3 lost a lot of ground this past month and for the entire year so far. Then getting beat by it's older brother clearly shows there is a issue with the price. There is no need to bash the PS3 as the numbers alone tell the story of how sad 2009 will be for the PS3.

nate1222
nate1222

@raahsnavj Some damn good points. Our tech-head fellow geeks on these blogs/posts really don't understand that MOST people aren't going to pay that much for a 'gaming' device. Even as a long time gamer myself, I don't see the point in spending that much. Especially when $100 will get you a console with tons of good cheapies and a DVD player in one (PS2). Like you, I see next-gen being a ways away and only minor improvements with manufacturing and development costs getting alot more attention.

Petri87
Petri87

Man i looked at the numbers quickly and thought that the PS3 finaly started matching the 360 sales again but then i noticed that it was the PS2 and was all like WTF!?!? Seriously Sony get your ****ing **** together and start killing the PS2 since its taking away from the PS3 sales along whit the high price. They have to do something pretty danm soon or it will be too late and 3rd partys will be more enclined(spelling?) to do exclusives for the 360 whit its relativly good sales, large consumer base, high game sales(well thats where Sony have to sharpen things up) and a exclusivity bonus/dev cost support from Microsoft then Sony will only have them self to blame. Its just sad to see these statistics every month when the 360 version of a game sells sometimes twice as much as the PS3 version. I'm starting to seriously regret my PS3 purchase, atleast Infamous and Uncharted 2 is coming out soon, sweet. Killzone 2 had akward(spelling?... agin) controlls if you have played COD4/5, GOW1/2 or Halo 3 for periods of time. That really turned me off the game that otherwise looked damn good. And if rumors are true, its not getting better for Sony after E3. Also WHERE THE HELL IS MY GT5

shii666
shii666

Now, you have got to keep in mind that if the PS3 had a price drop, it could have outsold the PS2. (Of course, profits would not surely say so.)

Max1363
Max1363

Yeah... Dead Day?! Xbox... Nice

MADDjoe
MADDjoe

I own all the systems, and think that they all have there place in the gaming market. When it comes to system sells, I think software drives the market. Looking back at previous consoles ps2 had many good games, but it also had several crappy games. Yet, the system was the number one system. It had several games on it for anyone -even if the game was horrible. Gamecube had very little games on it, and the ones that sold well were usually Big N's exclusives. Micro$ seems to always be in the middle of the road. This gen is just the same except $ony went the route of that big N took last gen. PS3 has very little games on it, and the good ones can be picked up on other consoles. I think the sells of these 3 systems shows that software sells systems whether the software is bad or good. Personally I think if you have the money get all 3 because they all have must have games: MGS, GOW, Overkill... the list goes on. I do wish that $ony would have had a better plan when they created the ps3. I felt that the system was put together in a hurry without the gamer in mind when building it. I think system updates all the time to improve the ps3 shows that it was rushed. I also think that microsoft should have tested their system more before the 360 release. I went through 3 systems.

xboxps2cube
xboxps2cube

the reason why I say sales are not that good for wii too, is because I've seen the 360 sell around that number for a couple months after the price cut... so thats tough to justify that the wii sold good this month, as with all the consoles... nobody bought consoles last month thats all to it.

xboxps2cube
xboxps2cube

sales are not that good across all consoles this month, including wii... the portable ds wins this month

bestco
bestco

wallywallas Posted May 15, 2009 9:03 am PT Before 360 fanboys start bashing on the PS3 -remember- the 360 barely outsold the PS3 by only 3,000 units. ------------------------------------------------------------- lol, I didn't know the PS3 fans were so bad at math. Xbox 360 outsold PS3 by 45000+!

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

@teknicz I don't give a crapper what sells more and never said so. Read my comments again and you will realise that I am talking about the...price...of...the...PS3. Got that? So judging by a few pathetic thumbs down and your unrelated comment, nobody could dispute my comment. Well I guess that proves it then; the PS3 is great value in a bundle with AAA titles. I would suggest that those of you without an HD console go out and pick one up.

kejigoto
kejigoto

Ouch, PS3 being outsold by the PS2 is not good, especially when they only have 1 game cracking the top ten chart as well. Overall though not bad numbers, especially with no major releases recently, so anyone comparing these sales figures to this time last year really needs to take that into account. This time last year we had Grand Theft Auto IV and Super Smash Bros. Brawl out which was definitely helping to sell some consoles. Wait for June's NPD numbers with Red Faction, Prototype, Infamous, Conduit, and a few others in there as well.

CoolKidX
CoolKidX

Godfather 2 is doing good I'd say

j_kizi
j_kizi

wow.... im surprised the ps2 is still putin out a fight, gues tht price cut actually worked in a way.... now, when will the ps3 get a price cut..lol

rgame1
rgame1

as long as wii sells thw wii fit will continually sell me thinks.

mgreco_1988
mgreco_1988

its not bad that they only sold 341,000 units. whats bad is when the ps2 sells more units then ps3.

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

Yuck_Too. No. you're putting words in my mouth. Sorry. I never said that Nintendo is done for. I said that it is not good for them when they're only able to sell 341,000 units in april when previously they've always sold at least more then 500,000 a month. Besides isn't that how much 360s Mircosoft has sold each month this year? How is that good when overall console hardware sales declined?

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

Making excuses? Umm...what are you talkign about...or is this you saying Nintendo is done for their sales have tanked it's all over for them? Fact of the matter is Nintendo has the highest profit margins per unit sold and is selling more units then anyone else. Life can always be better but that is a far cry from bad when in comes to Nintendo.

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

Yuck. Stop trying to make excuses. Compare Wii sales from last year and the previous year before. Last year when Mario Kart Wii was released, the year before when "Wii Sports" was released. Last year it was about 600,000 units, the year before 700,000. The fact of the matter is, Wii has never sold less then 350,000 units since it's inception NEVER. Name one instance it has. jsmoke03. You call 341,000 hotcakes? Really? What about last year and the year before. That was a very asinine talking point. When the DS or popluar handheld outsells Nintendo's hit console, that's a BAD sign. The Gameboy never outsold the NES, nither did Gamegear outsell the Genesis.

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

It's always good to see games with staying power, even if I personally finished New Super Mario Bros. so long ago that I can't even remember when it came out. The video game industry really needs to escape the business model that movies are stuck in, where something is big for a week or two and then either disappears or gets eaten by the next Two-Week Wonder. Big ups to the PlayStation 2 as well, an amazing system that just won't die. Thanks to some quirky RPG titles and a few other Atlus gems, it's still a very relevant and worthwhile machine.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

cajunstrike
cajunstrike

Agreed. Xbox 360 only selling 3,000 units more than the PlayStation 2 is interesting indeed...

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

nate1222. Excellent points! BTW,Nate. There's word that Sega is building a new system called RingEdge. Which will be out in 2010.

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

I guess none of the fanboys noticed that Wii's hardware sales fell below 350,000 for the first time ever. Considering that Nintendo has always been able to sell over 500,000 Wii's each month since it's launch, that's pretty bad by nintendo's standards.

FoxExecutive
FoxExecutive

@necronaux I wish that they would sell some of the older DS games in retail still, like Metroid Prime Hunters or Phoenix Wright. So much for the gloom and doom for Nintendo in Japan. They brought the pain to the other consoles this month. It may say something that the PS3 outsold Wii in Japan, but not much. The fact is Nintendo is beating the competition with the same dang 5 products! How many Wii Fits will actually sale when all is said and done? I'm not bashing Nintendo here. I love Nintendo. I grew up with them and I'm glad to see they are doing so well. The fact that Wii Fit is selling almost half a million units still is insane. I wish Super Mario Galaxy or Twilight Princess was still selling 150,000 units a month.

pureskull123
pureskull123

@shlomiki from what i can i see your just a lame fanboy. Lol i know the 360 sold for units for 400 bucks at first and so did the ps3 for 600 bucks. sorry i wasnt specific enough. "PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO BUT A CONSOLE HITTING 430 BUCKS". i didnt want to generalise i meant MOST PEOPLE.if you dont believe me look at the numbers, 127k compared to 175k. wow money talks. Most people get the extra controller cause they either have a friend or a brother. Oh and to your blu-ray feature, there are blu ray burners for 170 bucks on newegg. Oh yeah and with exclusives i still believe the change wouldnt be massive, maybe a max of 40 percent increase.

necronaux
necronaux

Hard to believe that the 2006 New Mario for DS is still selling "NEW" copies, and enough to make it into the top 10. And without a price drop. So much for everyone buying used.

wallywallas
wallywallas

Before 360 fanboys start bashing on the PS3 -remember- the 360 barely outsold the PS3 by only 3,000 units. It's all about economics here. The cheaper machine will always sell more, even if it's technologically inferior.