NPD: March US game-industry sales up 33 percent

Industrywide growth continues as games, systems, and accessories total tops $1 billion; software rises 15 percent year-on-year as God of War II sells more than 800,000.


The industry-tracking NPD Group released its sales figures for the US March retail period today, and despite at least one analyst's expectations, the streak of significant sales growth has continued for another month.

For the period of March 4 to April 7, game software sales jumped 15 percent over the March 2006 time frame to land at $574 million. Hardware sales were up 69 percent to $370 million, with the overall industry figures (hardware, software, and accessories) totaling $1.1 billion, a 33 percent increase over the previous March.

Like the industry itself, the Nintendo DS continued its strong performance, topping all hardware with 508,000 systems sold for the month. The PlayStation 2 was next in line with 280,000, followed by the Wii (259,000), the Xbox 360 (199,000), the PlayStation Portable (180,000), the Game Boy Advance (148,000), and the PlayStation 3 (130,000).

Software sales were driven by a handful of new releases, with God of War II for the PS2 sitting atop the charts, boasting sales of 833,000. That's double the second-place finisher, the Xbox 360 edition of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, which pulled in sales of 394,000. The Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II saw release in the waning days of the reporting period but still managed to net sales of 291,000 for the $89.99 guitar-equipped bundle in half a week of release.

Wii Play (packed in with a Wii Remote) continued to be the best-selling title on Nintendo's new platform, moving 273,000 copies during the March period. Meanwhile, the PS3-exclusive MotorStorm was that system's best seller, rounding out the top five and narrowly missing the 200K mark with 199,000 copies sold.

Shortly after the NPD reported its numbers, Sony and Nintendo sent out statements to present the figures in a favorable light. In its missive, Sony noted that the PS2 had outsold all console hardware for the month and that the PS3 was the only next-gen console to see an increase over its February sales. Sony said that was despite PS3 supply problems in the US in March, as production had been shifted to focus on the system's European launch. The PS3 also launched in Australia in March.

For Nintendo's part, the Wii and DS maker said it "once again claimed the top two spots among the best-selling new video game systems in America," despite what it called "widespread shortages" for both systems. Nintendo's statement also boasted that the Wii is "the fastest-selling new console in more than a decade" over its first five months of US availability and that it had sold more systems so far this year than "all other manufacturers combined."

A Microsoft representative had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.

Top 10 games for March 2007, based on number of units sold:
1. God of War II--PS2--833,000
2. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2--Xbox 360--394,000
3. Guitar Hero 2--Xbox 360--291,000
4. Wii Play with Wii Remote--Wii--273,000
5. MotorStorm--PS3--199,000
6. Diddy Kong Racing--Nintendo DS--189,000
7. Spectrobes--Nintendo DS--165,000
8. MLB 2K7--Xbox 360--165,000
9. MLB '07: The Show--PS2--164,000
10. Def Jam Icon--Xbox 360--148,000

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