February 12, 2010

US Videogame Sales Down In January

After ending 2009 with an eight percent drop in video game sales, the US videogame market saw another 12 percent drop in sales in January, when compared to figures from the same month a year earlier, according to market-tracker group NPD.

Videogame sales in January totaled nearly $598 million in the US, compared to $683 million last year at the same time. Videogame hardware sales also plunged from $447 million last January, to $354 million this year.

Analysts are being optimistic that as the economy improves, so will the momentum in sales as anticipated new arrivals hit the market. "Mass-Effect 2", sequel to the widely-popular original, was released in late January and can hopefully bring up sales. The sequel to "BioShock" and the anticipated "Dante's Inferno" were released this week, and the latest entry in the "God of War" franchise is due out in March.

The top selling game in January was "New Super Mario Brothers" for the Nintendo Wii. "Mass Effect 2" was second in sales. Wii was the best-selling console with 465,800 units sold. The X-box 360, by Microsoft sold 332,800 units, and Sony sold 276,900 PlayStation 3 consoles.

Nintendo was also the big seller in the handheld market, with 422,200 of its DS systems being sold, while Sony sold just over 100,000 PSP devices.

Even with sales down, videogame companies are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told The Associated Press the company's biggest challenge on the Wii side continues to be meeting demand.

Peter Dille, senior vice president at Sony, said demand for its PlayStation 3 was expected to be tight "for another month or two." A spokesman for Xbox said their company is seeing no supply-demand issues.

Despite the decline, industry analyst Michael Pachter said he thinks "the hardcore gamer will carry 2010 to solid growth" when it comes to game software."


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