New figures from NPD covering U.S. video game console and software sales during February 2010 paint a gloomy picture for the industry: overall, the gaming industry saw a 15 percent drop in sales compared to February 2009, pulling in some $1.26 billion in revenue. But the big winners of the month were BioShock 2 (which managed to sell some 563,000 units on the Xbox 360, making it the best-selling game title of the month) and the Xbox 360, which managed to outsell the Nintendo Wii, moving 422,000 units compared to 397,000 for the Wii.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 hasn’t been the top-selling game console in a month since the release of Halo 3 back in September 2007. Otherwise, consoles sales have been dominated by the Nintendo Wii. However, overall sales figures for the Wii have been dropping off, suggesting the Wii market has reached saturation. Although it’s work remembering that for well over a year Nintendo couldn’t make enough Wiis to keep retailers stocked. February also saw substantial improvement for Sony’s PlayStation 3, which moved 360,000 units, a 30 percent improvement compared to February of 2009. Sony also managed to sell 102,000 PlayStation 2s.
Amongst portable systems, Nintendo continues to dominate, with the Nintendo DS line moving 612,000 units during February, compared to 133,000 PlayStation Portables. However, both numbers represent a drop in sales: the Nintendo DS is off 4 percent compared to a year ago, while the PSP is off a whopping 33 percent year-on-year.
BioShock 2 for the Xbox 360 was the top game for the month with 563,00 copies sold, followed closely by New Super Mario Bros. for Wii with 556,000 copies. Modern Warfare 2 moved 275,00 copies on the Xbox 360 and another 247,000 copies on the PS3, while Dante’s Inferno pushed 225,000 copies on the PlayStation 3 and another 219,000 copies on the Xbox 360.
So far in 2010, the overall downturn in the sheer number of console and game units sold hasn’t been paralleled by an identical downturn in industry revenue, because while prices for game consoles are dropping, the price of games and accessories is, on average, higher than it was a year ago. Even though fewer units are being sold, those higher prices are helping the industry’s bottom line look less saggy.
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