Video game sales at U.S. retail suffered a significant drop inApril, adding to the industry’s continuing declines at retail over the last several months. Software proved to be the biggest negative contributor to anoverall industry-wide decline to $630.4 million. The $307.2 millionin software sales for the month represents a 42 percent declinefrom April 2011, according to data from the NPD Group. These software numbers were well below PiperJaffray’s estimates of $375 million , and the NPD Group’s own Anita Frazier attributed this sharp dropto the lack of new releases for the month.
“I think what the new physical retail content sales reflect a verylight release schedule in terms of the amount of compelling newgames. Last April, the top seven titles outsold the top-sellingtitle this year, and, simply stated, there were notably fewer newmarket introductions,” Frazier said. One of the months few big releases, Activision’s multiplatform Prototype 2 led the software charts the month, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox360-exclusive Kinect Star Wars at number two. When looking at products by individual SKU, Kinect Star Wars was the number one title across any individual platform.
” Kid Icarus: Uprising on the 3DS ranked among the top 10 SKUs for the month, and wouldhave made the list if we were reporting on SKU rather than totaltitle level,” Frazier added. The top ten best-selling games at retail for the month were asfollows: 1. Prototype 2 (Xbox 360, PS3) 2. Kinect Star Wars (Xbox 360) 3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) 4. Black Metal Keyboard
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (Xbox 360 PS3) 5. NBA 2K12 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PC, PS2) 6. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition (Xbox 360,PC) 7. Mario Party 9 (Wii) 8. Outdoor Kiosks Manufacturer
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) 9. Just Dance 3 (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3) 10. MLB 12: The Show (PS3, Vita) Despite the steep decline for video game software, Frazier notedthat digital sales may have fared a bit better, as virtual currencyand pre-paid time cards saw a distinct rise in sales year overyear. “For some insight into digital purchasing of content, we can lookat the performance of points and subscription cards which was up 75percent in units over last April,” Frazier said. Black Metal Keyboard Manufacturer
Much like retail software, however, video game hardware also saw adip during the month, falling 32 percent to $189.7 million yearover year. The top selling console for the month was Microsoft’s Xbox 360,which Microsoft says sold 236,000 units. Of the three current homeconsoles, the Xbox 360 has been the number one seller for 16consecutive months. Shedding some extra light on the declining hardware sales, Frazierexplained that the average price of hardware increased from April2011, particularly since Microsoft debuted its $399 Kinect Star Wars console bundle. The NPD group also remains optimistic about ongoing sales forNintendo’s 3DS hardware: “One thing to keep in mind is that the 3DShas outsold the DS by about one million units in their respectivefirst 14 months in the market, and the DS went on to become thebest-selling gaming hardware system ever,” Frazier said.
Looking ahead to next month, analyst firm PipperJaffray estimates that video game retail sales should begin to pick up, as May willsee the launch of major titles like Blizzard’s Diablo III and Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 . Related news: NPD: 40% of freemium players pay for in-game upgrades Call of Duty sales slow down as casual buyers find entertainment elsewhere Mass Effect 3 breaks 1.3M units sold, Binary Domain sells mere 20K.