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US sales down 4% despite handheld launches

Software slumps but hardware and accessories up year-on-year

Physical retail sales in the US stumbled again in March, dropping 4 per cent despite the launch of a new handheld from Nintendo and huge Pokemon sales.

The market took $1.53 billion in sales compared to $1.58 billion for the same period last year, with software down 16 per cent to $735.4 million.

Hardware was up 12 per cent to $494.5 million and accessories climbed to $241.3 million, or 13 per cent.

Because of the price differential, the 3DS generated greater revenues than did the DS in its launch month in November 2004

Anita Frazier, NPD

Nintendo revealed that the 3DS sold 400,000 in the month from its March 27 debut, outsold by the DS which moved 460,000 units. The Wii moved 290,000 units.

Microsoft had the highest-selling home console with 433,000 units, marking 15 months of growth. PlayStation 3 sales were not available, although NPD confirmed that PS3 and PSP units were up over last March. Sony has this morning announced the PlayStation 3 has topped 50 million units worldwide.

NPDs Anita Frazier said that sales of the 3DS "compared favourably" to the launch of the DS in 2004.

"While the 3DS sold about 100,000 units less than the DS did in its launch month, we must consider that the DS launched in November and had holiday seasonality and a price differential of about $100.

"Because of the price differential, the 3DS generated greater revenues than did the DS in its launch month in November 2004. In addition, the 3DS was launched in an environment where there are more devices that can support the portable gaming experience such as tablets and smartphones."

Although physical channels are down 1 per cent for the first quarter, NPD predicts that digital content will help lift the overall market.

"The trends we've measured with regard to growth in digital formats like full game and add-on downloads, microtransactions, mobile apps and social network gaming will likely result in net industry growth when we release our full measure of the first quarter consumer spend on games in June," said analyst Anita Frazier.

In software, Pokemon Black and White dominated the top ten with 2.5 million units sold combined, but it was also a strong month for EA with Dragon Age II and Crysis 2, as well as THQ's Homefront.

  • 01 Pokemon White Version (DS)
  • 02 Pokemon Black Version (DS)
  • 03 Home front (360, PS3, PC)
  • 04 Dragon Age II (360, PC, PS3)
  • 05 Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3, PC, 360, Wii, DS)
  • 06 LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, DS, 3DS, PC, PSP, 360, PS3)
  • 07 Crysis 2 (360, PC, PS3)
  • 08 NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC)
  • 09 MLB 11: The Show (PS3, PSP, PS2)
  • 10 Fight Night Champion (360, PS3)

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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