The month of March saw the launch of the Nintendo 3DS but it was actually the older Nintendo DS model that topped the hardware charts according to the NPD. Meanwhile, the software front showed that there is still a strong urge to “catch them all” as Pokemon Black and Pokemon White unseated Call of Duty: Black Ops and took the top two spots in software sales for the month. However, sales for the video game industry were down overall compared to the same period in 2010.
The Nintendo DS took the top hardware sales spot with 460,000 units sold in March according to the NPD. The Xbox 360 came in a close second with 433,000 units sold and the Nintendo 3DS was just a little bit behind that with just under 400,000 units sold. Sales of the Nintendo Wii continue to drop with just 290,000 units sold in March while Sony decided not to release its sales figures for the PS3 or PSP again. Sony did release a statement saying, “PlayStation saw double digit growth across hardware and peripherals, signaling continued momentum for the PlayStation platform.”
Despite coming in third, sales of the Nintendo 3DS were fairly strong given that it was only out for one week during this reporting period and it cost $100 more than the standard DS Lite and DSi.
“The 3DS launch compares quite favorably to that of the best-selling dedicated handheld gaming platform of all time, the Nintendo DS,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “While the 3DS sold about 100K units less than the DS did in its launch month, we must consider that the DS launched in November and had holiday seasonality and a price differential of about $100. Because of the price differential, the 3DS generated greater revenues than did the DS in its launch month in November 2004. In addition, the 3DS was launched in an environment where there are more devices that can support the portable gaming experience such as tablets and smartphones.”
The NPD figures traditionally include only physical sales of games but as the industry pushes towards digital downloads the NPD is changing things up as well. According to Frazier, full game and add-on downloads, microtransactions, mobile apps and social network gaming will “likely result in net industry growth” when the NPD releases its full measure of first quarter 2011 consumer spending in June. To give an indication of the push towards digital transactions, the $20 PSN card was the top selling accessory for March.
- Nintendo DS – 460k
- Xbox 360 – 433,000
- Nintendo 3DS – Slightly Under 400,000
- Wii – 290k
- Pokemon White Version (NDS) Nintendo – 1.3 Million
- Pokemon Black Version (NDS) Nintendo – 1.1 Million
- Homefront (360, PS3, PC) THQ
- Dragon Age II (360, PS3, PC)** Electronic Arts
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)** Activision Blizzard
- Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC) LucasArts
- Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC) Electronic Arts
- NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC) Take 2 Interactive
- MLB 11: The Show (PS3, PSP, PS2) Sony
- Fight Night Champion (360, PS3) Electronic Arts
**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)
Top 3DS Games
- Street Fighter 3DS
- Pilotwings Resort
- Lego Star Wars
- Tom Clancy Ghost Recon
- Super Monkey Ball
- Nintendogs+Cats G
- Ridge Racer
- Steel Diver
5-week tracking month; Reporting Period 2/27/11 through 4/2/11.
Frazier made this important note concerning software sales. “Now that we’re reporting on games at the title rather than SKU level, it’s important to note several that sold well and would have made the top 10 on a SKU unit sales ranking basis. Those include Just Dance 2 on Wii, Killzone 3 on PS3, and Zumba Fitness on Wii.”