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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.
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).

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%)

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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