Video Game Sales Slip in February, Nintendo Leads

The video game industry continues to struggle as hardware sales, software sales and overall sales fall again, tumbling 15 percent in comparison to February 2009.

Sales in the beleaguered video game industry continued their decline, with February sales down 15 percent compared with the same period last year, the NPD Group reported. Overall sales fell to $1.26 billion from $1.48 billion in February 2009, while hardware sales and software sales saw declines of 20 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Year-to-date (YTD), industry sales are down 14 percent, to $2.4 billion, in comparison to the same period in 2009. While sales of video game accessories dipped one percent, year-to-date sales are up one percent to $422.4 million when compared with YTD sales in 2009.

"The industry realized another month of decreased sales as compared to last year. In fact, for most categories, unit sales declines were greater than dollar sales. Higher average retail prices on all categories except console hardware boosted dollar sales performance somewhat," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "Honestly, I had expected the industry to perform somewhat better this month.

Nonetheless, strong new releases, and Easter gift-buying bodes well for industry performance in March."
Frazier said overall hardware unit sales were down, but certain platforms enjoyed an increase over last year. "Xbox 360 nabbed the top-spot among the three console systems for the first time since September 2007 when Halo 3 as released. PS3 enjoyed a 30 percent increase over last year, even while retail supply is reported to remain constrained," she said. "DS sales continue to remain quite strong, even leading up to the launch of the Dsi XL later this month on March 28, which will have 7 days of sales during our March reporting month."
Microsoft and Nintendo led console sales for the month with 422,000 Xbox 360s and 397,000 Wii consoles sold, respectively. Nintendo's portable player, the DS, led overall hardware sales with 613,000 units sold. Sony's PlayStation 3 moved 360,000 units, while the company's portable PSP console sold 133,000 units. The decade-old PlayStation 2 continued to hang around, selling just fewer than 102,000 units in February.
"The top 10 list this month is quite balanced between the three console platforms with three each for the PS3 and Wii platforms, and four for the 360," Frazier said. "Bioshock 2 was the best-selling game in February, selling over 750K units at retail across platforms. The 360 version was the top-selling SKU for the month. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has become the third-best-selling game of all-time, now at just under 10 million units life-to-date."