NPD Analysis

NPD Hardware, Software Sales For July 2010

The NPD Group have released their July 2010 sales figures, and for the second month, the Xbox 360 came out on top in console sales, and EA’s NCAA Football 2011 and Ruffian Games’ Crackdown 2 knocked Red Dead Redemption and Super Mario Galaxy 2 out of the top software spots.

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Morning Hangover #74 -- Patrick Asks For Your Best/Worst GameStop Experience, Andrew

The exponential growth in the popularity of digital download services such as Steam and Direct2Drive has led many experts to speculate as to if/when digital consumption would eventually overtake, or possibly even replace outright, traditional retail sales. But thanks to a new report from the industry market research firm NPD Group, that speculation is no longer quite as farfetched as it might have seemed a few years back.

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Super Mario Galaxy 2 Preview

If you're feeling a bit of deja vu, that's because the NPD Group has just released sales figures for June and both Red Dead Redemption and Super Mario Galaxy 2 have topped the sales charts once again. And for once, Nintendo isn't leading the console sales with Wii -- in June, it's Xbox 360.

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New Red Dead Redemption Screens: Nuevo Paraiso

It's taken a little longer than usual for the NPD Group to deliver the sales data for May, but the numbers aren't too surprising. Both Red Dead Redemption and Super Mario Galaxy 2, expected to be the leaders for the software side in May, sold very well. May's question mark was Alan Wake.

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TGS 09: Splinter Cell: Conviction First Hands-On Impressions

Congrats, Ubisoft. Splinter Cell: Conviction was the top-selling game in April, with the Xbox 360 exclusive moving 486,100 copies during the month. The industry as a whole whole, however, didn't do so well, according to the hardware and software numbers for April 2010, released by the NPD Group. The full breakdown is below, complete with the software top ten and a hardware sales rundown.

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NPD Hardware, Software Sales Numbers For March 2010

It’s April 15, and you know what that means…NPD hardware and software sales for March 2010 of course! We’ll be back soon with a proper discussion about the latest batch of sales figures, but for now, here are few things worth noting:

Two PlayStation 3 exclusives cracked the top 10; one of which was absolutely no surprise, while the other was an extremely pleasant surprise. I’ll let you guess which one was which. Also, as you'd expect, the percentage of people who bought Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on Xbox 360 versus PS3 was almost exactly the same as the percentage who bought Final Fantasy XIII on PS3 as opposed to 360.

Pop inside for the cold, hard numbers:

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NPD Hardware, Software Sales Numbers For February 2010

Seemingly unaware that we are all steeped in GDC 2010 coverage at the moment, the NPD Group has gone ahead and released the official software and hardward sales numbers for February 2010.

Here is how it all brokedown:

Video Game Software Sales, February 2010:

  1. 360 -- BioShock 2, Take Two, 562,900
  2. Wii -- New Super Mario Bros Wii, Nintendo of America, 555,600
  3. 360 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 314,300
  4. Wii -- Just Dance, Ubisoft, 275,400
  5. Wii -- Wii Sports Resort w/ Wii Motion Plus, Nintendo of America, 272,500
  6. PS3 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 252,800
  7. 360 -- Mass Effect 2, Electronic Arts, 246,500
  8. PS3 -- Dante's Inferno: Divine Edition, Electronic Arts, 242,500
  9. 360 -- Dante's Inferno, Electronic Arts, 224,700
  10. PS3 -- Heavy Rain, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, 219,300

Video Game Hardware Sales, February 2010:

  • Nintendo DS: 613,200
  • Xbox 360: 422,000
  • Wii: 397,900
  • PS3: 360,100
  • PSP: 133,400
  • PS2: 101,900

We'll have a full analysis for you shortly. In the meantime, any figures here stand out to you for any reason?

Nintendo Explains

As if X10 coverage wasn't enough, the NPD Group have released the official sales numbers for January 2010. It was another top-selling month for -- guess who?! -- Nintendo's Wii and DS.

Here are the complete numbers. Stay tuned for a more detailed breakdown soon.

Video Game Software Sales, January 2010:

  1. Wii -- New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Nintendo of America, 656,700
  2. 360 -- Mass Effect 2, Electronic Arts, 572,100
  3. Wii -- Wii Fit Plus w/ Balance Board, Nintendo of America, 555,700
  4. 360 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 326,700
  5. Wii -- Mario Kart w/ Wheel, Nintendo of America, 310,900
  6. Wii -- Wii Sports Resort w/ MotionPlus, Nintendo of America, 297,600
  7. PS3 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 259,000
  8. 360 -- Army of Two: The 40th Day, Electronic Arts, 246,500
  9. Wii -- Just Dance, Ubisoft, 191,900
  10. 360 -- Darksiders, THQ, 171,200

Video Game Hardware Sales, January 2010:

  • Wii: 465,800
  • Nintendo DS: 422,200
  • Xbox 360: 332,800
  • PlayStation 3: 276,900
  • PSP: 100,100
  • PS2: 41,600

Initial thoughts?

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Sony Motion Control

In a statement released today to the press, SCEA senior director of corporate communications Patrick Seybold confirmed that Sony will be delivering its answer to Microsoft's Project Natal before the end of the year.

"2010 will offer entirely new gaming experiences to consumers as we launch MAG, God of War III, 3D gaming, and the new motion controller this year.”

2010: Battle of the Non-Nintendo Motion Controllers is a go!

When Sony unveiled its motion controller during E3 2009, the company said the controller would be released in spring 2010, but we haven’t seen too much about it since then. I contacted Sony to make sure the 2010 release window was correct, and the answer I received was, "Yes, this year.”

Whether Sony will in fact deliver on the previously mentioned spring release remains to be seen, but given how little we’ve seen of the technology since it was first revealed (it still doesn't have a name), it doesn’t seem likely. Unless of course Sony is planning to surprise everyone with a stealthy release. Then again, Sony doesn’t have the strongest track record when it comes to keeping secrets, so I wouldn’t count on that either.

When do you think Sony will release its motion controller?

New Super Mario Bros. Help System Has Real Name:

You don't sell almost four million units of hardware without pushing an equally impressive amount of software and December 2009's sales data from the NPD Group doesn't contradict that a bit. Nintendo was the big winner in software sales last month, with the company that Mario built absolutely dominating five of the ten best-selling positions, including the highest three. Here are the numbers:

  1. Wii -- New Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 2.82M
  2. Wii -- Wii Fit Plus, Nintendo, 2.41M
  3. Wii -- Wii Sports Resort w/ MotionPlus, Nintendo, 1.79M
  4. 360 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 1.68M
  5. PS3 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 1.12M
  6. Wii -- Wii Play w/ remote, Nintendo, 1.01M
  7. Wii -- Mario Kart w/ wheel, Nintendo, 936,100
  8. 360 -- Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft, 783,100
  9. 360 -- Left 4 Dead 2, Electronic Arts, 728,500
  10. DS -- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Nintendo, 656,700

I wonder how many people bought Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story unaware that it's an RPG, not a brand-new platformer starring the jumping duo. Just seems a little suspicious to me. But there's no doubt about New Super Mario Bros. Wii, however; that's just a game people wanted.

"The best-selling game of the month was New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which also captures the third spot on the annual top 10 list for 2009," said NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier in comments sent alongside the release of the numbers. "6 of the top 10 games totaling 20.8 million units for the year were on the Wii platform as compared to 4 last year at 19 million units."

It's good news for software as a whole, but there's a notable absence of anything from a first-party that isn't Nintendo. Both Sony and Microsoft have no presence on the holiday sales charts from their internal studios, albeit Uncharted 2: Among Thieves appears to continue selling at a steady pace. In Microsoft's case, however, the company actively admitted their big bet for Xbox 360 in 2009 was the success of Modern Warfare 2. That bet appears to have paid off for them and Sony.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Nintendo Talks Wii Zelda, The Existence Of Wii HD And Modern Warfare 2

It's official: the Wii fad is over. Nintendo only sold nearly four million Wiis in December.

Wait, what? NPD Group numbers have been released for December 2009 and Nintendo pushed a remarkable 3.8 million Wiis during the Christmas month. To say that number's impressive is...well, there just isn't much to say, really. Nintendo dominated December. Here's how it all shook out:

  • Wii -- 3.81 million
  • DS -- 3.31 million
  • PlayStation 3 -- 1.36 million
  • Xbox 360 -- 1.31 million
  • PSP -- 654,7000
  • PlayStation 2 -- 333,2000

"December marks just the fourth month of the year where the industry saw an increase over last year," said NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier in comments accompanying the numbers. "January and February were both up, and since the decline that began in March, only September experienced growth. The big sales this month, particularly on the hardware front, is a positive move for the industry headed into what will hopefully be a recovery year in 2010."

Microsoft is typically quick to issue a statement discussing and bragging about the sales numbers for Xbox 360 but has so far issued no release for December. (UPDATE: That release has since been distributed to the gaming press.)The absence could be attributed to PlayStation 3's surprising push just ahead of Xbox 360 during last month. The price cuts and PlayStation 3 Slim from late last summer appears to have created solid momentum for Sony as 2009 came to a close. How Microsoft responds to this momentum in the short term should be interesting.

The PlayStation 2 era appears to finally be coming to a close, but more than 300,000 sales for a console receiving little support from the industry is nothing to sneeze at. It's free money.

Nintendo as a whole is remarkably impressive, as well. Nintendo platforms sold a combined total of 7.12 million units in December, far exceeded all the other platforms combined.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.


What Was Your Best (And Worst) Black Friday Experience?

Even though the video game industry is experiencing some turbulence as a result of reduced consumer spending, the holidays are big for video games and 2009 will be no different. The NPD Group has released the official sales numbers for November and it's little surprise all platforms experienced a healthy boost from the amount of folks preparing for gifting season. The full list:

  • DS -- 1.70M
  • Wii -- 1.26M
  • Xbox 360 -- 819,500
  • PlayStation 3 -- 710,400
  • PSP -- 293,900
  • PlayStation 2 -- 203,100

It seems unlikely 2009 will match 2008, but NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier left hope alive.

"All hardware systems realized an increase over October but one would expect that from seasonality alone," said Frazier. "More positive economic news combined with 'frugal fatigue' could positively impact industry sales during these last weeks of the holiday season."

Frazier also pointed the extraordinary sales from 2008, especially so for both of Nintendo's platforms, as problematic when analyzing sales in 2009. Both Wii and DS sold spectacularly in 2008 and continue to sell well above the competition in 2009, even if numbers seem down by comparison.

Did you pick up any machines over the last couple of weeks?

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Activision: Modern Warfare 2 Could Be Biggest

We knew it was going to be a big month for Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. How big? The NPD Group numbers are officially in for November: Modern Warfare 2 sold 6,070,000 copies across both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last month. PC numbers aren't available.

It was a massive month for both hardware and software, though. Even though the NPD Group notes the industry was down overall year-over-year, 2008 was a particular impressive year for video games and the downed economy has proven more difficult for games than expected.

Plenty of other games showed impressively in November, including:

  1. 360 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 4.20M
  2. PS3 -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision, 1.87M
  3. Wii -- New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Nintendo, 1.39M
  4. 360 -- Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft, 794,700
  5. 360 -- Left 4 Dead 2, Electronic Arts, 744,000
  6. Wii -- Wii Sports Resort, Nintendo, 720,200
  7. Wii -- Wii Fit Plus, Nintendo, 679,000
  8. PS3 -- Assassin' Creed II, Ubisoft, 448,400
  9. 360 -- Dragon Age: Origins, Electronic Arts, 362,100
  10. Wii -- Mario Kart w/ Wheel, Nintendo, 315,000

Modern Warfare 2 broke an impressive milestone, as well, achieving the highest first-month sales for a video game -- ever. The record was previously held by Microsoft's Halo 3. The sci-fi shooter sold 3.3 million copies in a single month when it was released in September 2007.

There's both good and bad news in this month's numbers, says NPD analyst Anita Fazier.

"While this year's top-selling item bested last year's by 283%, it couldn't make up for softness elsewhere," she said. "The top 50 games this year sold 5% less units than did the top 50 last year."

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Sony PlayStation Portable PSP go

The economy is still taking video games for a ride. The most recent round of across-the-board price cuts have helped the situation, but the industry will need a strong November. Not much changed on the hardware side in NPD Group's sales numbers for October 2009, with Sony still enjoying healthy sales on account of the PlayStation 3 shakeup from August, but the first-month sales for PSP go aren't encouraging. Sony's argument that the PSP go isn't a replacement for the existing PSP seems to be holding true, as consumers didn't seem to head to the store to ditch the current model.

The sales figures for October 2009:

  • Nintendo DS: 457,600 (down from 524,200)
  • Wii: 506,900 (up from 462,800)
  • Xbox 360: 249,700 (down from 352,600)
  • PlayStation 3: 320,600 (down from 491,800)
  • PSP: 174,600 (up from 146,000)
  • PlayStation 2: 117,800 (down from 146,000)

Note: tracking for this month was over four weeks, compared to last month's five weeks of data.

Even though the numbers are better than in previous months, sales are down from October 2008. Every platform is likely to see a significant boost in both November and December as a result of the holidays, however, throwing off conclusions about the health of the industry and its outlook as we head into an already busy release schedule for 2010.

"Year-to-date, the hardware category has experienced the sharpest decline in the industry," said NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier in her notes for the month's numbers, "with unit sales down 10% compared to the same time period last year. Recent price cuts helped spur a one to two-month increase in unit sales, and this month's Wii sales reflect that boost, but the other platforms have not sustained the sales momentum post price reduction. It will be difficult to discern the impact of the price cut into November and December just because those are always the two best months for the industry anyway, and we'd expect to see a sizeable lift in hardware unit sales as a result of seasonality."

Anecdotally, I know very few people who went out and purchased a PSP go last month. The numbers appear to reflect a possible indifference to the release of the digital-oriented hardware. However, it's impossible to really discuss the health of the PSP go unless Sony themselves releases the numbers, as the NPD Group does not break down hardware sales. 

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the charts next month, things are going to get interesting.

No Mandatory Installation For Uncharted 2

In news that should surprise no one following Sony's quiet announcement that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves had passed the million sales checkpoint, the October 2009 sales numbers have been released by the NPD Group and Nathan Drake's widely loved return was the top seller for October 2009, right alongside Wii Fit Plus. Word of mouth proved a good barometer for the financial success of Borderlands, as well, with Gearbox Software's shooter-meets-RPG riding just behind Uncharted 2. The question on everyone's mind, though: where's Brutal Legend?

The top ten software sales for the month:

  1. PS3 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Sony, 537,000
  2. Wii Wii Fit Plus, Nintendo, 441,000
  3. 360 Borderlands, Take-Two Interactive, 418,000
  4. Wii Wii Sports Resort, Nintendo, 314,000
  5. 360 NBA 2K10, Take-Two Interactive, 311,000
  6. 360 Halo 3: ODST, Microsoft, 271,000
  7. PS3 NBA 2K10, Take-Two Interactive, 213,000
  8. 360 Forza Motorsport 3, Microsoft, 175,000
  9. DS Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Square Enix, 169,000
  10. 360 FIFA 10, Electronic Arts, 156,000

No word yet on where Brutal Legend actually landed on the charts -- it could be at the 11 or 12 position, just barely outside of the top 10 -- but the news is sure to be a disappointment for gamers hoping Double Fine's partnership with Electronic Arts and the metal gods would prove to be designer Tim Schafer's breakout hit. Sadly, it looks like the mixed response from gamers, the stiff competition that was the critically lauded Uncharted 2 and the surprising success of Borderlands pushed Brutal Legend out of people's minds in October. It's possible Brutal Legend could find an audience as the holiday season approaches, but it'll need some help from Jack Black.

A deal with the devil couldn't hurt, either.

Neither of the big music games -- The Beatles: Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5 -- charted this month.

"The music/dance genre saw big declines this month compared to last year," said NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier in a prepared statement. "The genre generated $53 million in sales as compared to $137 million last year. Both Rock Band: Beatles, and Guitar Hero 5 have the potential to be good gifting items for the holidays, so we should expect to see an uptick in sales over the next two months."

What do you make of the numbers?

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