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April charts: Video game sales jump 20 percent

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After many disappointing months, NPD reports that total U.S. sales of video game products reached $961.2 million in April, up 20 percent from $802.4 million a year ago. Software performed stronger still, with sales climbing 26 percent thanks to strong showings by Mortal Kombat and Portal 2. This is the first month since November, says NPD analyst Anita Frazier, that video game software saw increases in both dollars and number of units sold.

Top 10 games for April

  1. Mortal Kombat 2011 – Warner Bros. Interactive -PS3, 360
  2. Portal 2 – Electronic Arts – 360, PS3, PC
  3. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – LucasArts – Wii, NDS, 360, 3DS, PS3, PC
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops – Activision Blizzard – 360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC
  5. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters – Electronic Arts – 360, PS3, Wii
  6. Crysis 2 – Electronic Arts – 360, PS3, PC
  7. Just Dance 2 – Ubisoft – Wii
  8. Michael Jackson The Experience – Ubisoft – 360, Wii, PS3, NDS, PSP
  9. Pokemon White Version – Nintendo – NDS
  10. NBA 2K11 – Warner Bros. Interactive – PS3, 360

Five of the top 10 games sold more than 250,000 units, up from only 2 games last year. Mortal Kombat (review) posted sales between 900,000 and 1 million units. Though it beat Portal 2 (review), sales on Valve’s Steam online store are not counted by NPD. We would guess that a great deal of its sales came from that channel. We also encourage you Pokemon fans to start buying Pokemon Black Version too. For some reason, the white version is selling more. Don’t be racist.

Hardware sales

  • Xbox 360 – 297,000 units
  • Nintendo DS – (unknown, but higher than PS3)
  • PlayStation 3 – 204,000 units
  • Nintendo 3DS – 194,000 units
  • Nintendo Wii – 172,000 units

These numbers come via MarketWatch. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 continues to dominate sales thanks to the success of Kinect and the Xbox Live platform. Sony’s April sales don’t appear to have been affected by the massive PS3 network outage that is still ongoing, but we imagine that May’s sales could see a dip.

We don’t yet know the exact number of Nintendo DS systems sold, but it was the number two system and posted higher numbers than the 3DS. While it seems bad, this may actually be a good sign for Nintendo. It proves that interest in its DS line is still extremely high with about 400,000 combined unit sales. If it can release some decent games for 3DS and better explain the benefits of the system it could see a rebound as the year progresses. However, as it stands, 3DS sales dropped by 50 percent from March, during which it was only available for three days. Wii continues to underwhelm, likely due to a lack of strong and exciting software for the platform.