This afternoon, the NPD Group released game-industry sales figures for its February reporting period (January 31 through February 27). The month saw yet another double-digit decline for domestic game sales, which fell 15 percent to $1.48 billion. The drop was steeper than the 10 percent fall analyst Michael Pachter had expected, indicating the industry may be doing worse year-over-year than feared.
"Honestly, I had expected the industry to perform somewhat better this month," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "Nonetheless, strong new releases and Easter gift-buying bodes well for industry performance in March."
On the hardware front, sales sank even more, dropping 20 percent to $534.2 million. The top-selling platform was once again the DS, which moved 613,200 units, including all models. For a change, in second place was the Xbox 360 with 422,000 units, with normal penultimate finisher the Wii in third with 397,000 units. Hot on its heels was the PlayStation 3 with 360,100 units, followed by the PSP with 133,400 units. The PlayStation 2 continues to hang in there, selling 101,900 units.
"The Xbox 360 nabbed the top spot among the three console systems for the first time since September 2007, when Halo 3 was released," said Frazier. "The PS3 enjoyed a 30 percent increase over last year, even while retail supply is reported to remain constrained."
Electronic Entertainment Design and Research's Jess Divinich thinks Microsoft deserves little credit for its hardware victory. "Our extensive retail channel checks have all indicated that, in fact, the Nintendo Wii is in short supply," he said. "We believe February numbers reflect entirely on the Wii being supply constrained and has little to do with declining demand of the product."
US software sales mirrored the overall industry decline, also sinking 15 percent year-over-year. The top game product was BioShock 2 for the Xbox 360, which contributed 562,900 copies to the game's 3 million-unit shipment milestone. (The PS3 version did not crack the top 10.) New Super Mario Bros. Wii was in second with 555,600 copies sold, followed by the 360 edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with 314,300 units. The PS3 edition of the controversy-plagued shooter came in sixth with 252,800 units.
Rounding out NPD's February top 10 chart were Wii Sports Resort with Wii MotionPlus (fifth, 272,500 units) and Mass Effect 2 for the 360 (seventh, 246,500 units). The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Dante's Inferno were neck and neck in eighth and ninth place, selling a combined 467,200 units. It was one of the first times the PS3 edition of a game outsold its Xbox 360 counterpart at launch. (Batman: Arkham Asylum came close.) Last but definitely not least was the PS3 exclusive Heavy Rain, with 219,300 units. (CORRECTION: Heavy Rain was released on Feb. 23, not Feb. 27 in the US, as initially reported.)
FEBRUARY 2010 US GAME SALES
OVERALL DOLLAR SALES
Games $1.48 billion (-15%)
Hardware $534.2 million (-20%)
Software $736.7 million (-15%)
Accessories $206.1 million (-1%)
Xbox 360 422,000
PlayStation 3 360,100
PlayStation 2 101,900
TOP 10 GAMES (by SKU)
Title / Platform / Publisher / Release Date / Units sold
1) BioShock 2 / 360 / Take-Two / Feb-10 / 562,900
2) New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Wii / Nintendo / Nov-09 / 555,600
3) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / 360 / Activision / Nov-09 / 314,300
4) Just Dance / Wii / Ubisoft / Nov-09 / 275,400
5) Wii Sports Resort with WiiMotion Plus / Wii / Nintendo / Jul-09 / 272,500
6) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 / PS3 / Activision / Nov-09 / 252,800
7) Mass Effect 2 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Jan-10 / 246,500
8) Dante's Inferno: Divine Edition / PS3 / Electronic Arts / Feb-10 / 242,500
9) Dante's Inferno / 360 / Electronic Arts / Feb-10 / 224,700
10) Heavy Rain / PS3 / Sony / Feb-10 / 219,300
Source: The NPD Group