US March game sales slip 4%, DS top hardware - NPD

[UPDATE] Xbox 360 sells 433,000 units as Pokemon Black & White combine for 2.4 million; 3DS first-weeks sales hit 400,000; Homefront and Dragon Age II also medal in weaker-than-expected retail software market.

Today, the NPD Group reported its sales results for the March 2011 reporting period, which saw a mild decline versus February's slight uptick. Overall during the month, retail sales of software, non-PC hardware, and non-PC accessories declined 4 percent to $1.53 billion. However, for the first quarter of the year, sales were nearly flat, declining just 1 percent according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

Record Pokemon sales helped boost the DS into first place.

As one might expect during the month that saw the March 27 launch of the 3DS, hardware sales were up, rising 12 percent to $494.5 million. However, Frazier said that surprisingly, the top hardware platform during the month was the original DS family of systems, not its three-dimensional successor.

"The 3DS launch compares quite favorably to that of the best-selling dedicated handheld gaming platform of all time, the Nintendo DS," Frazier said in a statement. "While the 3DS sold about 100,000 units less than the DS did in its launch month, we must consider that the DS launched in November and had holiday seasonality and a price differential of about $100. Because of the price differential, the 3DS generated greater revenues than did the DS in its launch month in November 2004. In addition, the 3DS was launched in an environment where there are more devices that can support the portable gaming experience such as tablets and smartphones."

Though NPD no longer releases specific monthly hardware sales figures, Microsoft was more than happy to announce the Xbox 360 was once again the top-selling home console of the month, selling 433,000 units. Sony released a statement saying that the PlayStation family of systems saw "double digit growth across hardware and peripherals," but did not release hard sales figures.

As of press time, Nintendo had not commented on its systems' sales performance. However, one reason the DS did so well last month was the fact that Pokemon White and Black launched on March 6. "Pokemon White is the best-selling Pokemon SKU in its debut month at retail of any Pokemon to date, and the Black version is third," said Frazier. "Combined they break previous sales records held by Pokemon Silver and Gold in October 2000."

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Nintendo delivered its own response to NPD's retail sales report. According to the publisher, the 3DS sold just shy of 400,000 units during the one-week period party to NPD's March reporting window. As indicated by NPD, that figure was less than the 460,000 units that the DS sold during March.

Nintendo also provided word on its chart-topping DS duo, Pokemon Black and Pokemon White. The White version proved to be far more popular than the Black game, selling 1.3 million units to 1.1 million units. Though largely the same, the two different versions of the game feature exclusive Pokemon that can be traded through the DS's wireless functionality.

Lastly, Nintendo also detailed the Wii's sales performance, saying the flagging console shifted just 290,000 units during the month. The Wii may receive a sales boost next month, when Nintendo is rumored to be cutting the price of the console by $50.

Overall, retail software suffered a worse-than-expected 15 percent decline in March, falling to $790.9 million. Pokemon White finished first, followed by Pokemon Black and THQ's near-future military shooter Homefront. BioWare's latest role-playing game, Dragon Age II, finished in fourth followed by perennial bestseller Call of Duty: Black Ops in fifth place.

The number-six slot belonged to LucasArts' blocky entry Lego Star Wars: The Clone Wars, followed by Electronic Arts and Crytek's visually slick shooter Crysis 2. Take-Two's NBA 2K11 continued to benefit from a lack of competition, landing in eighth place five months after its October 2010 release. Rounding out the top 10 were Sony's MLB: The Show and EA Sports' Fight Night Champion.

MARCH 2011 US GAME SALES
OVERALL RETAIL DOLLAR SALES
Total sales: $1.53 billion (-4%)
Non-PC hardware: $494.5 million (+12%)
Total software: 790.9 million (-15%)
Non-PC software: $735.4 million (-16%)
Accessories: $241.3 million (+13%)

TOP 10 GAMES
Title (Platforms) - Publisher
1. Pokemon White Version (DS) - Nintendo
2. Pokemon Black Version (DS) - Nintendo
3. Homefront (360, PS3, PC) - THQ
4. Dragon Age II (360, PS3, PC) - Electronic Arts
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, DS, Wii, PC) - Activision
6. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, 360, DS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC) - LucasArts
7. Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC) - Electronic Arts
8. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC) - Take-Two Interactive
9. MLB 11: The Show (PS3, PSP, PS2) - Sony
10. Fight Night Champion (360, PS3) - Electronic Arts

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Discussion

74 comments
vknyvz
vknyvz

i mean honestly i do not understand why homefront is there. Homefront can't even be compared to crysis 2. Crysis 2 is a way better game than homefront in every aspect, graphics, plot, playability etc.etc.

warmerdays
warmerdays

Wow, a little surprised that MLB 11 got on this list this year considering its sales has been below that of the past 2 year's versions (see vgchartz).

telefanatic
telefanatic

Im glad Crysis 2 is in that spot, thats what Crytech gets for the betrayal.

jollybest1
jollybest1

and in Europe Crysis is doing well....i hope the witcher 2 gets some respect from the pc community , because if it falls we will get another dumbed down game in the future

jollybest1
jollybest1

@Stonecutters908 man you should play crysis and warhead and than play the second , i asume you like dragon age 2 as well , then you will get the point ...but i agree that dragon age 2 (waste of money) and homefront (didn't play it but i did read about it) and cod is still in the top 5, sold to much , this world is full of mindless gamers (hell for buying da 2 made me feel stupid, overrated game).....

ash162
ash162

I agree its a bit boring at the start, but crysis 2 is one of the best fps i have played. It deserved better. Maybe cause it didnt have any cinematic cutscenes or people ran out of patience!!

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

Crysis 2 suffers from poor word of mouth. Specifically, the people who talk about it are "hardcore" pc gamers who are complaining about the following: "It is dumbed down for consoles, blah blah blah" "It doesn't look as good as Crysis one, blah blah blah" "Consoles are ruining PC gaming" (a laughable assertion, rampant piracy on PCs is ruining PC gaming, the developers need to make money so they go to people who actually buy games.) Basically the loudest voices about Crysis 2 are just whining PC gamers comparing it to the first Crysis. Despite this, I think I'll give it a try eventually, when I finish running through some my current game library.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lordkorosh
lordkorosh

crysis 2 at 7 and homefront 3!!? i suggest the developers at CRYTEC should make their next fps like homefront (SHORT,UNPOLISHED)instead of work hard it is easy to make ordinary fsp and people like it more.that how industry goes,BACKWARD.

Elgranpimp
Elgranpimp

Crysis 2 deserved better sales. It was way better than Homefront.

thetravman
thetravman

Why is Homefront on there? Overhype a FPS in America and it will sell.

iAmAbel
iAmAbel

We need a pokemon AR game were we have a battle on your table lol

atopp399
atopp399

I am really surprised white was more popular. Is it strictly the color or are the pokemon exclusive to the White version slightly better?

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

Wow!! new month! same crap!! its hard being a $ony fanboy in the U.S. HAHAHA!!!!

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

for all the pokemon fans: Imagine if you could put your pokemon cards on a table, and watch them "pop out" of the card and come to life on your coffee table? lol i think that would be a major trip lol, or to watch your "pokemon" battling your friends in real time running around on the dinner table. that would = EPIC awesomeness lol

soulless4now
soulless4now

@CJ45_: No, Nintendo's saving those names for the re-remakes of the first pokemon games for the 20th anniversary of the franchise.

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

I finally got to demo a 3ds at futureshop yesterday. They didnt even have a game to play, just a "demo" of the cards. For those that dont know, you lay these little playing cards down, the camera scans them, then pops them into 3d, you can pan and look at it from(almost) any angle. Then the the salesperson told me, to duck down and shoot the cube. I did, and wow, what an effect. Soon the monsters/objjects on all the cards were coming to life. I could not believe the immersiveness of this, and i dont understand how more people havent even talked about this feature(i know its limited, but the potential is REDICULOUS) all i can say is, try the 3ds out, its cool. I played SF4 today, and the 3d effect was very good and "deep". bottom line: I wish it wasn't 249$ cause man I think itd be fun. better to wait for the games too i guess :)

CJ45_
CJ45_

@soulless4now do we have Pokemon Creole Blue or Teal yet? (lost track)

soulless4now
soulless4now

3DS would sold more if Pokemon Black and White were in 3D. But maybe there's hope for Pokemon Gray or whatever the updated version will be called. :P

topsemag55
topsemag55

@thisranks Demos never should be used to judge a full game. Demos are like that dinky piece of pie you get at BK.:lol: All it does is make you wish for a bigger slice.:P

thisranks
thisranks

Glad to see Dragon Age 2 up there. Well worth the money. The demo did the game no justice whatsoever.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I've noticed that, for all the marketing and development money and hype they get, Bioware games rarely do more than 4-500k on the first month. I guess they must really make money on that DLC. Still, the trends overall seem to indicate that we probably need new consoles soon. We're already a year overdue according to the traditional cycle. Whether or not graphics technology or production budgets can actually *support* a new generation is another story. Of course, that there are so many shooters out but call of duty is still #5 this long after it came out is probably another indication that games need to find their own niches.

pokecharm
pokecharm

@topsemag55 thanks for the info! Amazing that it was still beaten out by 3 other games with those kind of numbers, but Pokemon is pretty popular!

lightwarrior179
lightwarrior179

As a BioWare fan I HOPE the "weaker" sales gives some message to them. But then I guess they're too far too high into EA's mindset for it to matter in the first place.

couly
couly

Homefront sold more then Crysis 2, lol.

undefined420
undefined420

I remember how confident sony was with ps3 and how they expected to over take 360 in the matter of months when it was released.. Surprise surprise, didn't quite work out that way huh.. I'm sorry, I wouldn't care so much but sony exec's were far too c.o.c.k.y ,,,,

beny_pimpster
beny_pimpster

basically......xbox360 is good on US but outside.....they dont give a care for it

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

I'm not sure why I read these articles.Well really it's the comments.I bet that if I scroll down,I'll find a bloody fanboy war. I suppose I read it just to get the pulse of the industry. Really something that the Wii has declined.Maybe it's time for a successor,some system updates to improve online function and the Mii maker,a price drop,and/or the release of some more compelling titles,like last year.Possibly it's time for all of them.But who can deny that the Wii has had a great run? And I really want to see more motion plus games before it goes.They made the Motion Plus,and there are very few decent games that use it.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Pokemon is still going strong. Hard to believe

vaibhavp
vaibhavp

xbox 360 was bestselling home console... cheers xbox owners...its the only thing to get happy this year ...:)

Pete5506
Pete5506

Pokemon is 15 years old and it still sells, I love it

Flint247
Flint247

It's nice to see that the 3DS is getting a great start.

frazzle00
frazzle00

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

CommandoAgent
CommandoAgent

The reason for why Homefront is on the third at top sales chart is because of steam give way, they had during the pre order. Buy Homefront get Metro 2033 For Free how cant you say no to do that offer? buy Homefront and you get metro 2033 for free. On the other hand Homefront retail sale wasn't good. And as for why the game sales are down its simple really its still the recession, people dont have the money.

steelmouth
steelmouth

on a sad and quite disappointing note 4 months into the year and still no x360 exclusive

steelmouth
steelmouth

you know you doing bad if you report double digit growth and still fail to beat your competitor, if memory serves me right the 360 have been selling more than 350K monthly since 2010 so the Wii needs that price cut if they want to keep up with the 360 as for the PS3 well i could be wrong but they never gonner catch up to the Wii and 360, But dont worry ps3 fanboys atleast you outselling the ps2 by miles

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Game sales slipped because midterms/papers are due around then. Duh.

MrGreenBeanz
MrGreenBeanz

It's funny how Sony never releases its PS3 sales figures when it doesn't do as well as the 360. Every company should just man up and say how much they sold for the month, regardless of whether it was good or a failure.

tidusjeff
tidusjeff

@TheArcade People prefer multiplats on the 360 in general. As for sales outside of the US, for a person to say the PS3 is doing poorly on hardware isn't really that accurate. @blackace With what press NPD's has right now, they have reached VGchartz status, so that's not saying much about NPD's credibility. It's fair to say the PS3 isn't a failure, and the current sales number and quality of games shows.

xchiefmegadethx
xchiefmegadethx

PS Homefront is Awesome Great Multiplayer! Ok single player Crysis 2 OK single player Crappy multiplayer...reason for its sales Its shows graphics ain't everything! Crysis 2 is one of the buggiest games i have ever played...

xchiefmegadethx
xchiefmegadethx

Xbox 360 is kickin @ss! Whats that like 16 straight month on top? Crazy!

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

It appears all the retail copies of Crysis 2 were cloaked when they should have armored up. Embarrassing showing for Crysis 2. Maybe they picked the wrong launch window? I thought it was a great game, but it's rare for a game to pick up steam after the release window (COD titles notwithstanding).

Animelover_gal
Animelover_gal

I hope to get a 3DS sometime before Xmas. I might buy one if I get 3 A's for my Final Exams. ~ A way to celebrate

ItsNotKefka
ItsNotKefka

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

lsw3638
lsw3638

If crysis 2 had more time and money into MP making it sequeal to crysis wars with module system and bit of BF system It would have beaten t crxx out of many MP nowadays.

K-Grogg
K-Grogg

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

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

sony is very embaras not only by nintendo being number uno for 5 yrs stright, but nintendos ds and 3ds leaving psp in the dust lol thats why they are mum , and ya it isnt doing as good cause ps3 barely beat wii lol but expect all to change when wii price is dropped lol and wii 2 comes out lol this will be funny though you gotta admit , , if wii 2 comes out and wii still manages to out sell ps3 thanks to price cuts, and wii 2 ends up top console , 3ds ends up top handheld droping ds to 2nd, due to titles , and 360 is 4th , wii is 5th ps3 6th psp last that would be an embarasment for sony who else agrees?