May 15, 2009

Video Game Sales Drop 17% in April

U.S. video game sales fell dramatically in April, making it the second month in a row video game sales have declined.

Market researcher NPD group announced Thursday that sales of game software, hardware and accessories plummeted 17% in April. Software sales dropped 23%, a larger number than analysts had predicted.

Proving that the gaming industry has been hit hard by economic woes, the reason they were not affected in 2008 was the success of "Grand Theft Auto IV." The game made $500 million in one week. Nintendo's "Mario Kart Wii," made 2008 a very profitable year.

The Nintendo DS was April 2009's best selling system, boosted by the launch of the DSi, its newest version. 1 million DS systems were purchased in April. Nintendo noted that 800,000 were the new DSi.

Nintendo's Wii came in at second place, selling 340,000 units overall. The company has a 70% unit share of the U.S. gaming market.
Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 vended 175,000 units. To target the budget-aware customers, in April Sony reduced the cost of the PS2 to $99.99 from $129.99.

"This is a testament to the impact a price reduction can have on hardware acquisition, with price being only second to compelling new content as a catalyst for hardware sales," stated NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

PlayStation fans want Sony to reduce the price of the costly PlayStation 3. The system sold a mere 127,000 units in April. On Thursday, Sony reported its first yearly net loss in 14 years.

Nintendo also conquered April's software market. April's top-selling games were made by Nintendo, like the "Wii Fit," "Pok©mon Platinum Version" and "Mario Kart" for the Wii.


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