March NPD Numbers Are In – Winners And Losers

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So the numbers for March are in and before you even take a look at them I am sure that you can imagine that Nintendo absolutely obliterated the competition in hardware sales once again.

The Xbox 360 had a great month compared to the PS3 and is actually the only console to actually have higher sales than March 2008. As for the PSP, it isn’t hard to see why Sony is launching into a full blown campaign to revive the little handheld as the DS is still putting every console except the Wii to absolute shame.

As for individual titles, there are a few surprises in there as well as some not-so-surprising regulars.

Check out the numbers and an analysis after the jump.

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Data care of NPD Group

Hardware

PlayStation 2 112K
PlayStation 3 218K
PSP 168K
Xbox 360 330K
Wii 601K
Nintendo DS 563K

Software

RESIDENT EVIL 5* (360) 938K
POKEMON PLATINUM VERSION (NDS) 805K
HALO WARS* (360) 639K
RESIDENT EVIL 5* (PS3) 585K
WII FIT W/BALANCE BOARD (WII) 541K
MLB ’09: THE SHOW (PS3) 305K
KILLZONE 2 (PS3) 296K
WII PLAY W/REMOTE (WII) 281K
MARIO KART W/WHEEL (WII) 278K
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K9 (360) 205K

(*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

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To top it all off,we have an Analysis from NPD’s Anita Frazier who had the following to say about this month’s numbers:

While it might be tempting to jump to the conclusion that the sky is starting to fall on the video games industry given this months results, it’s important to remember that two very big things are different this year than last. First, Easter fell in March last year whereas it fell in April this year, and last March included the release of Super Smash Bros.: Brawl, which went on to become the fourth best-selling game in 2008.

You might not think that Easter is that big of a gift-giving holiday, but our consumer data shows that 8% of industry unit sales were purchased for the Easter occasion in March 2008, accounting for $121M of that months’ sales. We expect that most of Easter sales this year fell into the April reporting period and we’ll see that reflected in next month’s data.

This is very much like September of last year, which did not compare favorably to September of 2007 as the result of a huge game launch, Halo 3. Besides March 2008, this month’s sales are 31% higher than the previous highest March which was March of 2007, so it was a pretty healthy month for sales, overall.

If there was one area that surprised me this month, it was hardware sales. While it’s not unusual for March hardware sales to be lower than February, I thought we’d see higher unit sales on most platforms. The Xbox 360 was the only platform to achieve a year-over-year unit sales increase.

The PS2 price decrease occurred on April 1, so this month included only 4 days of sales as the new retail price. We would expect to see an increase in PS2 hardware sell-through in the April data.

Wii and NDS hardware sales remained brisk, taking the top two spots for the month in hardware unit sales. It’s important to keep in mind that the Super Smash Bros. Brawl effect from last year impacted hardware sales as well, so while the year-over-year comps are down for the Wii, the sales are still impressive.

Core gamers had something to cheer about last month with the release of Resident Evil 5. The title sold over 1.5 million units across all SKU’s which is a record-breaking launch for that property.

The top-ten software list includes three games for each of the new platforms as well as Pokemon Platinum for the DS. I think this shows that there doesn’t have to be one winner of the console battle – in fact software for all the platforms can enjoy retail success.

Source: NeoGaf Forums

Last Updated: April 17, 2009

Read  Xbox One X gets off to a strong sales start in the UK

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since ’08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

  • ManesanZA

    What the hell happened to Killzone 2, it got trampled by Halo Wars

  • RSA-Ace

    mindless halo fanboys happended.

    halo wars was pretty average for a strategy game. killzone 2 is pretty amazing though.

  • I’m more surprised that MLB The Show beat it out as well…

  • janrik

    America all ready have halo and COD for their shooting fix.

    Maybe no room for KZ there?

    MLB did really well…500k across 2 platforms.

  • UK_John

    There is always something that makes the numbers not bad. Different Easter last year, a big game release, and yet it is easy to see video game sales are levelling off. Add to this the continuing decline in PC game releases/sales and it’s easy to see that the dropping of many genres and amalgamation of others into generic games for everyone that fewer like/buy because of that very genericness! The use of third party engines to make conversions easy is making all games the same, and this is turning off gamers. One sign of this is the huge growth in retro gaming interest.

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