NPD: Game Industry Sales Total $1.18 Billion in January; PS3 Almost Ties Wii

The industry put up yet another solid performance in a typically slower month following the holidays, and for the first time PS3 beat Xbox 360, almost matching Wii sales.

Posted by James Brightman on Thursday, February 14, 2008

NPD: Game Industry Sales Total $1.18 Billion in January; PS3 Almost Ties Wii

We've just received the latest NPD video game sales data covering the month of January. On a strictly year-over-year basis total industry sales were down six percent to $1.18 billion. However, it's important to note that this year's January reporting period for NPD covered four weeks (as opposed to five last Jan.), so purely on a weekly basis sales were actually up 18 percent – and that likely would have been reflected had there been a fifth week.

That said, even with the one-week discrepancy, software sales actually rose 11 percent to $610.6 million. NPD's Anita Frazier commented, "Pricing again plays into the great performance of software. The average retail price of games is up 19% from last January and much of that can be attributed to Rock Band and Guitar Hero. In fact, 360 Rock Band was the top-selling game in dollar terms, bringing in $30 million in sales for the month."

Hardware sales were down 25 percent to $377.8 million and accessory sales were down four percent to $191 million. NPD said the best-selling single accessory for the month was the Wii Nunchuk Controller, which sold 375K units.

Interestingly, on the hardware front all the talk lately of the PS3 coming on strong seems to be true. The console sold 269K units for the month, just slightly behind the Wii which was the best selling system with 274K units. The PS2 also continues to do remarkably well, selling 264K units. As for Microsoft, the Xbox 360 sold 230K units, perhaps slightly hurt by the shortage problem the company has made everyone aware of. In terms of portables, Nintendo's DS sold 251K units compared to 230K for the PSP.

"Based on this month's results, software sales are off to a fantastic start [in '08]. Accessories are also very hot, so the industry looks to be pretty healthy out the gate. "

The software chart was dominated by the usual suspects. Activision's Call of Duty 4, which won Game of the Year at D.I.C.E. and took the top spot on NPD's top 10 in both November and December, has for the third consecutive month earned a first place finish with 330.9K units. Wii Play, which has probably become an automatic purchase with every new Wii, took second place with 298.1K units. It's also worth noting that after going toe-to-toe, vying for the top spot with Call of Duty in November and December, Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy has fallen to sixth place with 172K units.

Here are the top 10 games for January (ranked by units):

1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare—Activision—Xbox 360—330.9K*
2. Wii Play w/ remote—Nintendo—Wii—298.1K
3. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock w/ guitar—Activision—Wii—239.6K
4. Rock Band special edition bundle—MTV/EA—Xbox 360—183.8K*
5. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock w/ guitar—Activision—Xbox 360—182.7K*
6. Super Mario Galaxy—Nintendo—Wii—172K
7. Burnout Paradise—EA—Xbox 360—144.1K
8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare—Activision—PS3—140K
9. Mario Party—Nintendo—NDS—138.5K
10. Mario and Sonic: Olympic Games—Sega—NDS—133K

* denotes unbundled versions, bundled versions, and any special editions (e.g. collector's editions)

Page two: exclusive commentary from NPD analyst Anita Frazier


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