Splinter Cell: Conviction tops weak April sales - NPD

Ubisoft's stealth-actioner a chart-topper as US retail gaming sales tumble 26%; Monster Hunter Tri a no-show in top 10; DS and Wii win again.


For a game built on stealthily sneaking through the shadows, Splinter Cell: Conviction has taken an uncharacteristically visible position atop the sales charts. The industry-tracking NPD Group today released its US retail sales figures for April, with the Ubisoft-published Sam Fisher adventure easily becoming the best-selling game of the month.

Sam Fisher choke-slams the competition.
Sam Fisher choke-slams the competition.

Splinter Cell: Conviction's 486,100 first-month sales was notable not just for the way it doubled up sales of the second-place finisher Pokemon SoulSilver, but also for being the lone highlight of what turned out to be a brutal month of gaming retail.

Overall, gaming sales were down 26 percent from April 2009 to $766.2 million, with software down 22 percent to $398.5 million. Analyst predictions for software sales had ranged from down 10 percent to up slightly.

Beyond Splinter Cell: Conviction, the biggest new releases for April were Capcom's Wii-exclusive Monster Hunter Tri and its fighting update Super Street Fighter IV. The biggest new releases in the NPD Group's April 2009 reporting period was The Godfather II, with continued strong sales from earlier releases like Resident Evil 5, Pokemon Platinum, and the original Street Fighter IV.

The only other new release to make the charts was the PlayStation 3 edition of Super Street Fighter IV, which outsold its Xbox 360 counterpart to claim 10th place. A number of March hits held their ground on the charts, with Pokemon SoulSilver and HeartGold claiming second and fourth place, and God of War III rounding out the top five. The Xbox 360 edition of Electronic Arts' Battlefield: Bad Company II finished in seventh place. The rest of the March debuts fell out of the top 10, as the PS3 edition of Bad Company, both versions of Final Fantasy XIII, and MLB 10: The Show for the PS3 all dropped from the charts.

On the hardware front, the order of systems remained unchanged, with Nintendo's one-two punch of the DS and Wii claiming the top two spots yet again, followed by the Xbox 360, PS3, and PSP. However, sales of every system fell precipitously, combining to leave hardware sales down 37 percent year-over-year to $249.3 million.

The hardware chart is also slightly shorter this month, as the NPD Group has stopped releasing its PlayStation 2 hardware sales figures. NPD has also reduced its reporting of software sales, now only offering monthly units for the first five games on its top 10 chart.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier pointed to the handheld market as a big cause for the sagging numbers.

"The portable side of the industry contributed more than its fair share to the industry decline," Frazier said. "The portable business across hardware, software, and accessories accounted for 25 percent of total industry dollar sales in April but declines in portable sales compared to April '09 accounted for 61 percent of the total industry decrease."

The casual genre was another segment of the industry that slowed its pace since the previous year, according to Frazier. She noted that kart racing, rhythm games, party games, and the like made up only 24 percent of total software revenues for the month, compared to 36 percent for April of 2009, calling it an "indication that more core content shored up better than did some of the more casual or nontraditional content."


Total: $766.2 million (-26%)
Hardware: $249.3 million (-37%)
Software: $398.5 million (-22%)
Accessories: $118.4 million (-9%)

DS: 440,800
Wii: 277,200
Xbox 360: 185,400
PlayStation 3: 180,800
PSP: 65,500

Title / Platform / Publisher / Release Date / Units sold (only provided for top five)
1. Splinter Cell: Conviction / 360 / Ubisoft / Apr-10 / 486,100
2. Pokemon SoulSilver / DS / Nintendo / Mar-10 / 242,900
3. New Super Mario Bros. / Wii / Nintendo / Nov-09 / 200,300
4. Pokemon HeartGold / DS / Nintendo / Mar-10 / 192,600
5. God of War III / PS3 / SCEA / Mar-10 / 180,300
6. Wii Sports Resort / Wii / Nintendo / Jul-09
7. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 / X360 / Electronic Arts / Mar-10
8. Wii Fit Plus w/ Balance Board / Wii / Nintendo / Oct-09
9. Just Dance / Wii / Ubisoft / Nov-09
10. Super Street Fighter IV / PS3 / Capcom / Apr-10

Source: The NPD Group

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Avatar image for advanracer

Sold MINE for 50 bucks used!! Woot..still holds Value!!

Avatar image for valcrist09

woot gooo God of war 3!!! still hanging in there shockingly

Avatar image for valcrist09

lame game for 65$, decent action but the story was terrible, and the game was hella short.. I bet it would of sold even better if they ported it over to Ps3, probably would of got another 200k+ in sales..

Avatar image for Goldrock

it was great game for story sucked some of us waited like 3-4 years and it took like freakin 4 hours too beat mega rip for a game that takes that long too produce.

Avatar image for thenephariouson

Conviction is all about the MP, great game though, albeit a bit short

Avatar image for pete_merlin

And sales for Red Dead, UFC and Alan Wake will put Splinter Cell in its place

Avatar image for pete_merlin

game sucks, but it had no competition.

Avatar image for xXZak-ataKXx

it sucks,my friend and i p layed it...AWFUL!!

Avatar image for coaltango

didnt gamespot rated this game a 6.5 for the pc version. the game is awful. not even worth renting

Avatar image for HyruleanLink

Sales will probably go up with E3 around the corner.

Avatar image for Blood_Diamond

i think it's because of the beta, if it wasn't beta just a multiplayer demo access no one would pick it up

Avatar image for Seljek

I must say, that is not much of an accomplishment to beat out those games.

Avatar image for EricJRW

Glad to see Sam is bigger than Pokemon and Mario... But sheesh, that's what #2, #3 and #4 are? What's this world coming to? Was surprised not to see see Deadly Premonition, or was that last month?

Avatar image for wakeboardjake

the marketing and adertising technique of the Ubisoft team is what pulled them through. I mean if you look back at the gamespot page over the last month you'll note more than enough advertisements for Splinter Cell. :))

Avatar image for TheSmurf92

i enjoyed SC:C. don't know if i would buy it, but i enjoyed it.

Avatar image for freema

Splinter Cell Conviction was truly a giant among dwarfs of April. But although it sold better than Pokemon SoulSilver and New SuperMario Brother, you'll get A LOT more gameplay out of the latter titles. I was lucky to rent it so I wasn't among the 486,100 for good reason. Wonder how many of those people sold it once they finished the 4 hour campaign.

Avatar image for AceCometh

Got a copy of Conviction bundled with my new Xbox 360 Elite. Keeping the system, but selling the game to a friend.

Avatar image for grungeman91

I thought it was a good game from Ubi, It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Avatar image for grungeman91

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

Avatar image for jay_rock_

Oh well

Avatar image for Sora529

Is it really worth arguing over? I own both PS3 and Xbox 360, and by and large they're mostly the same. I like the PS3 controller for sports games more, and the Xbox 360 for shooters. Each has high-quality exclusives. Xbox Live is a little bit more user-friendly than PSN, but it does cost $50 a year. When it all boils down, you can't go wrong with either, so there isn't a huge use in arguing. You aren't going to change anyone's mind, nor are you going to have your mind changed.

Avatar image for maverick_76

@gvenom628 Where can I send you the check for your consultation, it was so enlightening.

Avatar image for snipeshot11

Likely wasn't tough...

Avatar image for bmaon

@ andrew_dueck hahaha, actually MH Tri is no. 11 in this NPD with 126k and did not fail in any way... It's by far the best start for a MH game in the west, whether PSP or PS2... A PS3 MH Tri might possibly (though not necessarily) sold a bit better in those same 12 days (as HD games are more frontloaded) but would have cost a whole lot more to develop, not to mention having less legs than Wii games, so I am doubtful it would have been worth it to Capcom.

Avatar image for KrazzyDJ

After a string of not-so-good reviews, a breath of good news for Splinter Cell: Conviction. God I've been anticipating this for over 1 year now !!!

Avatar image for Elian2530

This article is pretty much in correlation to the other "April sales baffle analysts" one. Ubisoft totally hit the jackpot with a perfect timing release. From the day they released SCC, they filled in the void for gamers' fixation until Red Dead Redemption and Alan Wake finally releases. Whoever at Ubisoft set up the release date needs to get a huge promotion or raise. Like I said, talk about perfect timing and target date. It worked out incredibly well for them.

Avatar image for enkhbattsenguun

@ gvenom628 ps3 is better beliave me metal gear solid 4 is already better than splinter cell now xbox gamers are happy for that mgs5 will be on xbox

Avatar image for coaltango

@ gvenom628 dude what r u talking about. I happen to own both consoles i feel the PS3 has more exclusives than the X360. from the resistance 1 & 2 , uncharted 1 & 2, infamous, little big planet, MGS4 , heavy rain, Killzone 2, Demon souls, Gran turismos, both ninja gaiden sigmas & not to mention the awesome God of war 3. now on the X360 side we have halo 3, Forza & gears 2 & the games that do go exclusive for the 360 end up on the pc sooner or later

Avatar image for gvenom628

PS 3 is garbage! Nothing but a blu-ray player that happens to play(crappy) games! Uncharted 2 and god of war 3, that's all you guys got! Oh and free online, trust me you're getting what you pay for, absolutely nothing!

Avatar image for parrot_of_adun

If you ever find yourself wondering what's wrong with the videogame industry, just take a look at the top 10 best selling games for any given month, and you'll know why. "" are a minority.

Avatar image for drangel_jam

I'm happy for Conviction, but I was hoping it would sell more along with games like GoW III, and SSF IV.

Avatar image for Sigil77

My God.... At least 6 of those titles are casual games, or Pokemon, or Mario. But im happy to see that Splinter Cell sold more than Pokemon. I dont know why, but I just dont like Pokemon games.

Avatar image for WiteLite

@TevoxZi i agree with what your saying...but understand that their will always be less "exclusive to 360" games than for the ps3 because Microsoft owns PC and 360. So both get made and ppl say its not exclusive.

Avatar image for WiteLite

@richioso Not really... America is not biased towards the 360 the way Japan is towards the ps3...think about it ...The Japanese have owned the console industry until Microsoft stepped in. Japanese are not thrilled about it...and if Americans were to be biased towards any companies console it would be the ps3, due to the fact that they have dominated "our own" market for so many decades.

Avatar image for otaku_momo

@deathstream First of all, all of what I said is true.I was talking month-to-month sales, in which, the month of April PS3 was 5,000 units behind the 360 in the U.S, and outselling the 360 everywhere else. And for overall sales, of course the 360 will be ahead of the ps3 in sales it got a year head start, and Sony is proving that even that head start isn't helping them with PS3 on the 360's heels. Just last year the PS3 was 8 million units behind 360,and now they are just 4.3 million units behind if you don't see that as an improvement. idk what is. Even further, PS3's were in shortage because of the high demand of them, and I'm sure they would have sold a lot more if it wasn't because of that

Avatar image for Super-Mario-Fan

New Super Mario Bros. Wii now ahead of God of War 3 :D

Avatar image for ptown58

This game is not very good, liked MGS4 a lot better (some compared the two).

Avatar image for bodylotion

Splinter Cell Conviction still is a great game but it's not really stealth oriented like the other Splinter Cell Games. For example there are certain parts in missions where you always will be seen. I wish this game was more like Hitman.

Avatar image for iblowuup

I agree melty the US makes some of the best games except for Sweden (DICE) hehe and conviction was great IMO although i havent played any of the other splinter cells id say they did a decent job on it

Avatar image for bschroth

@andrew_dueck Agreed! Don't know why 3rd party developers haven't learned that core games don't sell on the Wii in north america, unless it's for babies. I love sweeping generalizations! Don't they know that the Wii is just a Mario/Exercise game machine? Look, if I want the new hottness in gaming, why would I get it on a inferior machine instead of an hd console or pc? We're not into the same stuff as the Japanese gamers.

Avatar image for TheCyborgNinja

All I have to say is if Monster Hunter Tri had been released on PS3, as originally planned, it would've sold really well. I'm glad it failed on the Wii. Maybe Capcom will learn its lesson eventually: cool stuff almost never sells on Nintendo systems unless it's first party.

Avatar image for GramDubs

I agree with vectorman, the visuals of SC:C are pretty bad

Avatar image for TevoxZi

@The_Crapgamer Keep in mind the Splinter Cell Double Agent got ported to PS3 later, so Conviction isn't nearly an impossibility. Not that I care much anyways, I classify an exclusive when I need the system to own the game, as I don't need Xbox 360 to play Conviction, it doesn't classify as "exclusive" in my books. Yours is different and I got nothing against that.

Avatar image for vectorman88

Impressive. Im sure god of war III will continue to pick up more momentum in the year ahead. Splinter Cell though i dont know. The game is still good and worth owning but it was disappointing that after so many years, the visuals are below expectations. im sure the gameplay is solid but lack of stealth and a 5hr single-player!? WTH!? I mean how many years was put into this? more then MGS 4? And for the record and not to disrespect owners of the Big N, But im going to say this: Nintendo IS Skynet.

Avatar image for ChiefFreeman

why did they put that pic up of the old shaggy haired Conviction Sam? That game never made it out, but I would have liked it to have.

Avatar image for nightshade869

@Megavideogamer I really don't think conviction is worth getting a 360 for. I mean put that money into a PC. You can build a gaming rig for rather cheap now. Plus you would get Mass Effect 2 that way also. Plus PC games are cheaper. The Gears and Halo 3 games along with Alan Wake would warrant a 360 if you wanted to play them, but not for this game in my opinion.

Avatar image for zMd113

I know I'm in the minority but God of War 3 wasn't that good.

Avatar image for Megavideogamer

I guess that eventually they will "port this over to PS3?" If not I guess I can buy the Xbox 360 Elite 250giger which has this game and two controllers. Or I can wait.

Avatar image for insanitycheck4

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