PS3 Shows Year-on-Year Sales Drop

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Market research firm NPD has released its video games sales figures for January 2009…and, despite the recession, the news for the industry was quite good, with January 2009’s sales representing a 13 percent increase over the same time last year. Apparently, even when times are tough, Americans are still willing to spend money on video games…potentially because they’re seen as a less-expensive form of entertainment than going out to movies, concerts, and other events.

Unsurprisingly, the Nintendo Wii remained the dominant player among game consoles, selling some 679,000 units during the month; the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system also moved 510,000 units. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 also saw strong numbers, moving 309,000 units.

It might not be much of a surprise that Sony’s PlayStation 2 showed fewer sales in January 2009 than January 2008, but the real surprise is that Sony’s PlayStation 3 saw a year-on-year drop in sales of 25 percent during January, moving just 203,000 units during the month, compared to 269,000 during January 2008. Possible factors in the PS3’s weak performance include high prices and a lack of compelling, exclusive titles for the console.

Game sales were also up 10 percent over January 2008—but, interestingly, only two of the ten top-selling games in January 2009 were new released: the rest have all been in the market a while. The top three slots all went to Wii titles—Wii Fit,Wii Play, and Mario Kart—with Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty: World at War for the Xbox 360 taking the fourth- and fifth-place slots.