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NPD: $1.25B in US game sales kick off '07

Extended January reporting period sees $505 million in hardware, $549 million in software move in five weeks; Lost Planet, Guitar Hero II, Zelda top games.


Whatever way you cut it, the game industry got off to a great start in 2007. This week, research firm NPD Funworld reported that some $1.25 billion worth of non-PC game products were sold in the US during its January reporting period. Broken down, the five weeks between December 31, 2006, and February 3, 2007, saw $505 million in hardware, $549 million in software, and $198 million in game accessories sold domestically.

Since its January 2006 report was only for four weeks, NPD discouraged any year-on-year percentage comparisons between it and its January 2007 report. However, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter offered an adjusted comparison that showed an increase of 22 percent. Unadjusted, the difference between the two is a 53 percent increase. However, the firm repeatedly stressed to GameSpot that reports of a 53 percent year-on-year spike are not accurate due to the week difference.

As reported earlier today, the Nintendo Wii was the most popular hardware platform in the land, selling more than 435,503 units during the extended period. It was followed by the PlayStation 2 (299,352 units), the Xbox 360 (294,000 units), the PlayStation 3 (243,554 units), the Nintendo DS (239,000 units), the PSP (211,000 units), the Game Boy Advance (179,000 units), and the GameCube (24,000 units). NPD did not report sales figures for the original Xbox, further indicating the platform's demise is imminent.

But while Microsoft had to settle for the bronze in the January hardware race, an Xbox 360 game took the top software slot. That honor went to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, which sold around 408,673 copies during the month. Behind it was Guitar Hero II (PS2, 224,000 copies), Gears of War (360, 212,000 copies), WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii, 201,000 copies), and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, 189,000 copies). The GameCube edition of Twilight Princess also did well, moving 144,000 units during the five-week period. Combined, both editions of the latest Zelda sold 333,000 copies.

The only PS3 game to crack the January top 10 was Resistance: Fall of Man, which also sold around 144,000 units. However, Pachter cited higher-than-anticipated tie ratios for the PS3 and Wii as a major factor in the robust software numbers. "We estimated $65 million in software sales for the PS3 and Wii, which was based on our expectation of a tie ratio of 1.5 units for each hardware unit sold," Pachter said in a note sent to investors this morning.

For its part, Sony proclaimed that the PS3's tie ratio has "improved by 80 percent" since the console's launch last November. The improved ratio also indicates that auction-site reselling of both the PS3 and Wii is on the wane as supplies of both consoles become steadier.

TOP 10 GAMES: December 31, 2006-February 3, 2007:
1) Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360, Capcom, January 2007)
2) Guitar Hero II (with Guitar Controller) (PS2, Activision, November 2006)
3) Gears of War (Xbox 360, Microsoft, November 2006)
4) WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii, Nintendo, January 2007)
5) Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, Nintendo, November 2006)
6) Madden NFL 07 (PS2, Electronic Arts, Aug. 2006)
7) Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GameCube, Nintendo, November 2006)
8) Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3, SCEA, November 2006)
9) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (Xbox 360, Ubisoft, November 2006)
10) New Super Mario Bros. (DS, Nintendo, May 2006)

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