March Video Game Sales Off 8 Pct

New numbers from the NPD Group indicate U.S. video game sales dropped by eight percent during March 2006, to a total of $499 million, amid an overal industry revenue drop of 16 percent for the month.

March would mark the seventh straight month that game sales in the United States have declined, even though the introduction of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (and titles for that console) are estimated to account for $96 million, nearly a quarter of all video game revenue for the month.

Sales of video game accessories also dropped 11 percent to $100 million, and monthly sales of video game hardware plummetted 31 percent to $220 million. (Amid this market, it’s no wonder Sony’s just cut prices on its outgoing Playstation 2 console!)

NPD analyst Anita Frazier attributed the year-to-year decline partly to an upswing in sales a year ago following the release of Sony’s PSP, as well as the success of several game titles in early 2005.

For the most part, however, the decline seems to stem from gamers putting off purchases of new games and systems as they wait for Sony’s Playstation 3 (currently due to reach market in November 2006) and the Nintendo Revolution, expected later this year.