NPD: January game sales slip 6 percent, Wii and PS3 neck-and-neck

Overall decline overshadows complex combination of rising software and falling hardware sales during shorter reporting period; Sony's console passes Xbox 360 for first time to nearly tie Nintendo's machine in sales.


The US gaming industry ended 2007 with record retail sales of nearly $18 billion. This week, though, the NPD Group provided a sobering reminder that market growth is not guaranteed.

Today, the industry-research firm released its US retail sales data for its January 2008 reporting period. While software sales for the month were up 11 percent to nearly $611 million for the month, hardware sales fell by a quarter to about $378 million. Combined with modestly declining accessory sales, the overall industry was down 6 percent for the month, posting $1.18 billion compared to January 2007's $1.25 billion take.

Despite that, the month contained indications that the industry actually grew. That's because NPD's January 2007 reporting period was actually five weeks long as opposed to this January's four-week span. NPD analyst Anita Frazier noted that the numbers are much rosier when that adjustment is taken into account.

"At the top-line, on an average sales per week basis, January 2007 was actually up nearly 18 percent as compared to last year," Frazier said. "And the big winner was console software which was up nearly 50 percent when compared on a level playing field to last year."

However, even on a week-by-week basis, hardware sales were still down 6 percent from last year. Frazier blamed that slide on price cuts made to the consoles, and speculated that hardware shortages in the wake of stellar December sales contributed to January's slide. That assertion was backed up a statement from Microsoft saying the Xbox 360 was suffering from temporary shortages.

Hardware sales weren't the only thing shrinking last month, and Nintendo's longtime lead on its competitors was similarly slimmed. The Wii once again took the system sales crown, but by a much narrower margin than in previous months--and with a new challenger nipping at its heels. In a month that saw significant advances for the PlayStation 3's chosen Blu-ray disc format, Sony's system ran nearly neck-and-neck with the Wii, selling 269,000 systems compared to the Nintendo console's 275,000. The third-place Nintendo DS racked up 251,000 system sales, while the PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360 brought up the rear, selling 230,000 units each.

As is customary after the holiday rush, January was a light month for game releases. Only two new titles cracked the top 10 software sales, with the Xbox 360 version of Burnout Paradise coming in seventh place with more than 144,000 sold, while the DS debut of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games rounded out the 10 spot with 133,000 copies sold.

More familiar faces dominated the software list, with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Xbox 360 once again besting all challengers, notching up another 331,000 in sales. The PS3 edition also did well, taking eighth place overall. Nintendo's Wii Play completed a full lap of the calendar, as the February 2007 release was second with just over 298,000 in sales. Guitar Hero on the Wii and Xbox 360 took third and fifth respectively, sandwiching the Xbox 360 version of competitor Rock Band at number four. The remaining spots were claimed by Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii at six and the DS edition of Mario Party in ninth.


Category / Total / Change
Video Games: $1.18 billion -6%
Video Games Hardware: $378 million -25%
Video Games Software: $550 million +11%
Video Game Accessories: $191 million -4%
Total Sales Per Week: $295 million +18%

Hardware Sales (in units sold)
Wii: 274,000
PlayStation 3: 269,000
Nintendo DS: 251,000
PlayStation Portable: 230,000
Xbox 360: 230,000

Game Software (in units sold)
1) Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (360, Activision) - 331,000
2) Wii Play with Wii Remote (Wii, Nintendo) - 298,000
3) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii, Activision) - 240,000
4) Rock Band (Xbox 360, MTV Games) - 184,000
5) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Xbox 360, Activision) - 183,000
6) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, Nintendo) - 172,000
7) Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360, EA) - 144,000
8) Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (PS3, Activision) - 140,000
9) Mario Party DS (DS, Nintendo) - 139,000
10) Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS, Sega) - 133,000

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Avatar image for crszn962015

What is causing the PS3 sales to go up? price drops? COD4?

Avatar image for SmArTaLeC1321

I don't understand why all of you retards are arguing when it is obviously futile. The fact is fanboys will not change their minds when it comes to their favorite console. Well i'm not going to try to figure it out, I think I'll go back to playing Uncharted, Lost Odyssey, and Smash Brother Brawl because ALL the consoles rock and so do their games.

Avatar image for Eliquidity

The 360 had a snowball effect, except at the bottom was a guy with a flamethrower. Flamethrower > snowball

Avatar image for noel010

wow 360 was the last even behind psp

Avatar image for Agermemnon

The difference in game sales between 360 and ps3 is still a fair bit though , number 1 cod4 360 331,000 nearest ps3 was number 8 cod4 140,000 ???? damn .

Avatar image for bombfanatic

COD4 rules. no duh it sold most this year

Avatar image for razu_gamer

2008 Will be Wii's year. With brawl, Red steel 2, mario kart, disaster day of crisis and a shed load of other stuff.

Avatar image for bardkieran

I think that it's interesting to see, but a lot of people who bought a Wii are having a hard time going back to the old controller styles. Pressing A to swing a bat in a baseball game ceases to make sense.

By the way, if you have a wii and are looking for a "hardcore" game, Metroid Prime 3 is where its at. Its already stolen 3 days of my life. :D

Avatar image for comthitnuong

It's nice to see the PS3 have some good success.

Avatar image for steedle

i have the 360, i never thinked on bought a ps3, and i never will do it,i like the wii but got $·"&·& of games, and the ps3 does´nt get the throne,NEVER!.

Avatar image for icehawk001987

i don't think the wii is that great i have one and i never play it because I'm on my ps3 every time

Avatar image for wiidominance

when will call of dutyy 4 stop selling. am sick of it already. a shooter isn't supposed to sell that many these days, its just wrong.

Avatar image for infrared13

l337fool - you don't sound like a fool at all. nice post.

Avatar image for laitheybaby

I just get the impression that Sony used the ps3 to launch blu ray, which was a success, but took it for granted that it would sell as a games console which is why it is being dominated in the most important area of the videogame industry, software sales.

Avatar image for angelbless

One thing we are sure of, this is the year where sony has to plat the cards right if he wants to rise the sales of the PS3 and recover his market, otherwise they will feel waht other companies felt when they take some "risks"

Avatar image for brosim1104

Nintendo has always 3 and more games in the top 10 list...! Nice!!!

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

Avatar image for Sammojo

ps2 will always be "cheper then" the Wii Lets think about the comment "People are buying PS3 because they already have the other two" remark as it has been a very popular comment here. Also the one about the 360 and Wii shortages. If you went to a store wanting to buy and 360 or a Wii and you found that they were not in stock. Would you then decide to pay even more, for a PS3? If the 360 and the Wii are so "good" then wouldn't you be able to wait a week or so, or just order it online. Also, if you have a 360 and a Wii, and the PS3 isn't as good, then why would you go out and buy the PS3? The number of people who own all three is very small (in terms of the general population, not the gamespot community) so saying people are buying a console because they already have the other one is very untrue. There is a reason people are buying the PS3 and it's sales are going up to level out with the Wii and surpass the 360 by a bit, maybe it's actually a good console? l337fool that was a very good comment. What you said was very true, al though you could have excluded the rubbish about drinking at the end, but what you said pretty much sums up system wars. Every console can be made to sound like a piece of trash, or sound like the best thing ever, it just depends on who is saying it and why. Comments like "Wii will always be better than PS3 especially when Brawl comes out!" just show the mindset of people who don't appreciate good games. Sure Brawl is a good game, but where is the depth. It is fun and good to play, but it isn't immersive, something which games like oblivion offer. It is games like oblivion which make gaming worth it, they make the 150 hours on my save file justified, because each second of that time was spent doing something rewarding and enjoyable, not just for a few minutes of mindless fun.

Avatar image for epsilonone

Wii will always be cheper then the ps3

Avatar image for l337fool

l337fool Fingernail "Agreed. I've been playing my 360 for almost 2 years and have loved every minute of it. The PS3 is just warming up, and by the end of 2008 I might have one, but it will not have negated my decision to buy a 360 when I did. I have been enjoying great HD games for a while now. PS3 still needs the games. It will have them eventually, but for now the library is weak, and the 360's is strong. Eventually I will have both and will have bought each of them and the right time. Why can't we all just get along?" -- My thoughts exactly, Zaphod. I wish more gamers simply accepted this reality. " Deep down this is how I feel too. I love my 360 its delivered on promises made to me a decade ago when I was a beta tester for xband. That said I will one day one a PS3 as I own a Wii (though smash brothers brawl really needs to come out). I honestly hate on PS3 fanboys alot because gamers should never be blinded by brand. Sony's in with the casual market was simply their name. People didnt want to be associated with nintendo or sega that was for kids but sony made gaming respectable. I understand but underneath it all is gaming. Its not about Wii sports thats just the kinda mass market appeal that keeps gaming alive. Its about the Lunar's, Guilty Gears, Chromehounds, Metal Gears, Virtua Ons, Old school shadow run, Act Raisers, etc... The games that will never be as sweeping as that over inflated piece of crap called Halo in sales. The games that gamers spend hundreds of hours on. Lost Odessey has sealed my decision to eventually buy a PS3 because my god I havent enjoyed a game this much in a long time and realize tthat somewhere deep beneath japans own commercialist BS they still have something incredible to offer. Chromehounds being another example. This is kinda a rant I know. I don't want to play that game that sells 7 million copies because it shows some violence and T&A I want to play that game that sells 1 because it pulled a tear or made me talk like a geek freak for 6 months because of its depth. I want gaming to grow thats all I care about and not like the movie industry either I want it to grow in a way that will really give people something to think about. We need things like the Wii, and games like GTA, but at the end of the day only to allow someone to try games like Lunar, Chrome Hounds, Virtua On, Guilty Gears and other games to me of this calibur. I honestly hope some of you can feel what I am saying but it isn't always about the game that gets 9's but the ones that get 7-8 that surprise you and make you feel like you got one up on the guy who missed out on it. That's what pisses me off ever since the death of Sega. People who pledge their money to a brand without thinking about the hardcore games. Buy a Wii regardless of its lame graphics and online play, buy a PS3 regardless of its mediocre first party titles and soon to be developed but not quite there yet online play, buy a 360 even though you might want a store bought warranty with it considering alot of them broke like its cool and be prepared to be milked by MS for every option, accessory and piece of enjoyment you will get out of it. Buy them all because at the end of the day one might be the one where some guy decides to make a game that changes how you feel about life for 5 minutes. If you don't get what I am saying or think I care too much about this @#$% you can go #$%^ yourself. I'm gonna go get another drink hug my kids and go looking for Kaim's wife..... Good night. P.S. - This message was mostly brought to you by cheap wine (gallo family pinot grigio) The drink of mature gamers.....

Avatar image for TissueShoe

That's a shocker. Wii will always be better than PS3 especially when Brawl comes out!

Avatar image for Martin_G_N

Microsoft and Sony had two different plans.....Microsoft took old cheap technology and placed them in a box, and said here's your Next gen machine (just like the first xbox), and then they add things later(HDMI, harddrive, wifi, HDDVD, etc). So if Microsoft had added all these things from the start it would have been more expensive than the PS3. The technology in the x360 is also built much like the first xbox, which makes it easy to max out. While Sony on the other hand used years and years in development of new, and more expensive hardware in they're console to make it a system that lives longer. When Developers have hard time developing games for the PS3, it isn't because the system is bad, it's because it's more advanced, and they need to think new and different. Just like when they add 10 more core's on your PC. The x360 have done well, but I smell change in the air, from now on the PS3 will start to take over.

Avatar image for twistedT

Anyone who still uses price as an argument against purchasing a ps3 is an idiot spouting the same fan boy crap for the past year and a half. The ps3 and xbox 360 are so close in price (the 40 gb ps3 is only 50 more than the 20 gb 360) that anyone who tries to say that the ps3 costs more than what it is worth BETTER NOT own the 360 considering the thing is outdated tech compared to ps3 and for the same price range. Add the optional hd drive (to be able to compare to sony's blu-ray) and your looking at another 100 dollars making it more expensive and all that over a format that won't be on the shelves a year from now.

Avatar image for kennethtl

You are funny... so do you mean the world only has 19 mil user will buy xbox 360 ? oh well maybe right... nobody else going to get a xbox lol .. vixorfreeman the only reason why there are more PS3 sellings than the 360, it's only because everybody already have a 360 so there's no need to have 2

Avatar image for staticgod

this small number of sales wont take ps3 anywhere. if they want to reach 360 they must outsold 360 for a long priod of time or they sell 2 or 3 times bigger than 360. 39000(more than 360) isnt anything important. " 360 has tons of great exclusives like Bioshock, Mass Effect, Eternal Sonata, Lost Odyssey, and Halo 3. " most of this games are not 360 exclusives except for lost and halo.

Avatar image for deactivated-58fbfc61e27fe

@swyg: Yeah but combined all the number from top 100 and I doubt it will even match the number in the top 10, after 100k you can only go way down.

Avatar image for deactivated-58fbfc61e27fe

@stillereize: Anything that you are saying has nothing none or whatsoever related to the topic. For one the rate of RROD has been reduced to 16% from 33% and also M$ has stated that they are having shortage in hardware. Check out the game software sales, even with the higher hardware sales in ps3, the software sales for the games has only reached number 8 and that's it! THe rest is taken by Wii, 360 and Nintendo DS, this is just those like Y2K moment where everyone is panic about some kind of "the end of the world" because format war is won by Blu Ray now. I am not using that garbage reasoning of how PS3 has no good games, in my opinion PS3 starting to show a lot of improvements in gaming. I myself have one after 6 months having my 360 and I enjoy Uncharted, Eye of Judgment, Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Devil May Cry4. "Blu-Ray is catching on for a reason. Because it's freaking awesome." This also one of the reasoning that you can only find from like 5 years old kid. Simply that a a lot of movie company and one that put a big nail in hd-dvd coffin is warner bros but this has nothing to do because it is awesome, both support 720p/1080i and 1080p and they both are high def. First time ps2 was released it was horrible too with all the faulty hardware and comparing the pain you are having with 360 and how I have to buy a new ps2 long time ago because there is no warranty is nothing.

Avatar image for vixorfreeman

the only reason why there are more PS3 sellings than the 360, it's only because everybody already have a 360 so there's no need to have 2 ;)

Avatar image for ShirkDawg

stillereize- It is you who is the fanboy. I've been gaming since Atari and NES and I like every system, because all systems have good games. Just because PS3 had a couple good months recently doesn't mean it is selling more than 360 and Wii. PS3, is not worth the dough at this point. Most of the games are garbage and I'll only get one if FF13 and MGS4 don't come to 360 (assuming they're good). 360 has tons of great exclusives like Bioshock, Mass Effect, Eternal Sonata, Lost Odyssey, and Halo 3.

Avatar image for mastermind1177

Wii > Ps3 360 > Ps3 Wii = 360 : )

Avatar image for Thornscar

LOL but there's only one game on ps3 in the top 10.

Avatar image for swyg

@c_smithii The main reason PS3 is doing so good in hardware sells recently is because of the Blu-ray disc backing, which is a completely different story. Just look at the software sales, its mostly Nintendo and Microsoft games. I'm a little surprised Gamespot News isn't pointing this out. Gamespot also didn't post the software and hardware sales for Japan and Europe. Plus this is only the top ten, a top 100 would be far more accurate.

Avatar image for Ungdi

Did Sony hire Bin Laden to blow up the factory where they make Xbox's? Maybe thats why there's a supply strain and the lack of sales.

Avatar image for genbeef

why are these comments littered with ps3 fanboys?

Avatar image for Ozzie234

I'm particularly glad so many Japs stuck themselves with the Wii. That's a BIG bunch of unhappy people. Enjoy the misery! LOL

Avatar image for dkell2

hbxclo... these are us sales. Is there a 3rd world country in the US that I don't know about? LOL if you want to slam sony, use the software sales numbers.

Avatar image for hbxclo

thebeast619: 1. See my comment below about product cycles. Simply put, the 360 has been out longer as is in the stage of its product cycle where high volumes of units have been placed, and growth for sales of new units has slowed. Sony has just not hit its real growth stage, but there will come a time when Sony's sales growth will lose momentum as well. Its an accepted marketing strategy concept! Its not a stupid argument. 2. Consumer spending in the US in general is down, which is the real cause in the slow down of 360 and wii sales, and the 6% decline in hardware sales in the gaming industry as a whole. Sony is feeling the effects of this as fact just last week they lowered their sales forecasts to account for a slumping economy. 3. Comparing the PS2's sales with the PS3 and 360 is a faulted argument. The bulk of the PS2's sales are coming from developing third world countries (mainly China and India), where the PS3 and 360 are too expensive for their markets as of now, but strong enough for the PS2. In general, the economies in these countries are growing much faster than that of first world countries, and products that are aimed at those particular markets will see far greater growth than those aimed at the US market (which is in a mature state and facing fears of recession).

Avatar image for juan99692k6

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

Avatar image for thebeast619

and to say the only reason the 360 isnt selling is because everyone already got one is very very stupid and wrong. they not selling because the people that was gonna get an 360 made the smarter choice and pick up the ps3. and it is kinda impressive to see the ps2 which is 6 years older than the 360 outselling xbox 360

Avatar image for thebeast619

hbxclo ok, i would of agree about the gaming part but i cant because there was no 360 exclusive in the top 10. so that proves that the 360 dont have no good game that the ps3 dont have

Avatar image for wingnut99

I have my Tv on CNN... HD is now dead. But for any one that wants a Blu-Ray player and only has a 360. You can buy the Add on blu-Ray player in June. $99.99. 5 free movies as part of the deal. Go to game pro to read more.

Avatar image for guitarcamel

the only reason the Wii is at the top is because it is a very cheap consle i mean its only 249.99, Bill Gates already owns alot

Avatar image for hbxclo

to thebeast619: If the PS3 and 360 were released at the same time, at the same price, the PS3 would have definitely outsold the 360, and would have garnered more third party support/exclusivity. This wasn't the case, however, and the PS3's late entrance in the market, along with its bloated price points at launch were the cause of its blunders early on. Most people want to pick apart hardware capability and what-not when determining which system is more successful. The fact of the matter is, Microsoft out-maneuvered Sony from a marketing standpoint and stole their dominance in the market. Sony over-estimated the loyalty of its consumers...they also leveraged the PS3 to push blu-ray as a movie format. Sony has succeeded in the blu-ray arena, but they have their work cut out for them in succeeding this generation of the gaming arena.

Avatar image for wingnut99

@Itsdewdewbabiee. Thats what I been typing. I can find a 360 or a wii. Also if PS3 was doing so well why did XBL go down. Alot of people got one and did the XBl thing. XBl went down cuz millions of people signed up for it in just a few days time. That right there will tell you that there are a lot of people that likes XBL and will pay for it. Shure The PS3 will sell more and more. There are real gamers out there that dont care about PS3 vs 360. They want both to play games. There are alot of wanna be gamers out there. Fan boys. So I look at it like this. To the people that are only fans of Sony. (Sony Fan boys) You are wanna be gamers. To the people that only like 360. (360 fan boy) you are wanna be gamers. for the good people that play all 3 and want or own all 3. (you my friends are real gamers)

Avatar image for Dryker

It's just a matter of time before I pick up a PS3. My roommate just bought one, but he has never played a videogame in his life. He's an xtreme sports guy who builds RC's and goes dirt bike riding. He bought the PS3 for the same reason I will... as a Blu Ray player. I have and still regard HD DVD as a better format, but... George Bush was elected, so why not elect Blu Ray for the next movie format? Essentially, PS3 is gaining on its competition almost solely because of its Blu Ray playback ability. Who in their right mind would buy a stand alone Blu Ray player? The PS3 is cheaper, has firmware updates for the Blu Ray features, and has far more functionality. This strategy has turned into a brilliant move on Sony's part, but if Blu Ray failed, so would have the PS3. Now, Sony is going to have a larger (even, possibly, huge) installed base of mixed customers that are going to confuse the market. Consider: "Their are 10 million PS3 owners... why did God of War III only sell 1 million copies? I thought it was one of its strongest franchises?" asks an investor in the project. "I'm not sure... it's funny, Transformers 2 only sold a million copies too. These were supposed to be some of the hottest items in the market and they barely scratched the install base. What gives?" responds a fellow investor. "Your demographic has been deluted... that's what gives. Now you don't have any idea how many people may want your game or movie. I guess you better spend less and make inferior product in order to compensate for this uncertainty. It's a shame, but that's business," concludes CEO. Ahh, the future thanks to Sony.

Avatar image for thebeast619

ok, the only reason the 360 have more games on the top ten is because more people have an 360 and that is only because it released a year early. if they would of release the ps3 and the 360 at the same time it would be more balance or probaly more ps3 games sold.

Avatar image for hbxclo

Given the sales data here, even if Microsoft didn't sell a single unit from here on out, and Sony's sales continued their trend for this month, it will take close to a year for Sony to catch up to Microsoft's market share. I'm not going to make an argument for which system is better (they each have their perks), but if we want to pick the winner based on sales volume, Sony has its work cut out for them if they want to outsell the 360. Frankly, I don't see it happening.