April 15, 2011

US Video Games Sales Experience Decline

Consumers spent 4 percent less, or only $1.47 billion on games, consoles, portable devices and accessories during March of this year, market researcher NPD Group reported this week. This compares with sales of $1.53 billion in March 2010.

Gaming hardware sales such as Nintendo's hand-held 3DS climbed 12 percent to $494.5 million from $440.6 million last year. The Nintendo DS was the top system, selling about 100,000 more units than the Nintendo 3DS, which was released stateside on March 27, according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

Sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 console and PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld gaming device and Microsoft's Xbox 360 console have increased each year, Frazier told the Associated Press. The PSP in particular enjoyed a $40 price drop at the start of the month which boosted sales numbers.

Sales of actual games fell 16 percent. Game downloads or online games are not counted by NPD in its monthly sales data, so the numbers can show a decline even if more people are playing these versions.

Nintendo's Pokemon White Version was the top-selling title in March, and Pokemon Black Version took the number two spot. Nintendo claims to have sold more than 2.5 million games total. In third place was Homefront from THQ.

Several popular new games such as Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and God of War 3, went on sale in March, and according to Frazier, more than a million units each were sold.

Gaming accessories rose 13 percent to $241.3 million. March's top-selling game accessory was the PS3 network card, costing $20, Frazier said. Such cards give gamers the ability to download games, movies or bonus game content.


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