Computer Games Sales Still Sluggish


Nintendo leads a sluggish January for video game sales in the US, which are down 13 percent compared with the same period last year

Sales of video game hardware and software remained sluggish in the United States, as overall sales fell 13 percent in January to $1.17 billion (£747m), compared with the same period last year, reported the NPD Group.

Hardware sales took the largest hit, dropping 21 percent to $353.7 million (£225.7m), down from $446.8 million (£285.0m) in January 2009. Software sales slipped 12 percent, to $597.3 million (£381.1m). The lone bright spot in the report was a 2 percent increase in video game accessories, bringing in a total of $217 million (£138.4m).

The motion-sensitive Nintendo Wii console continued to be a top seller, leading the hardware competition with 465,800 units sold. Microsoft claimed second place for January sales with 332,800 units of its Xbox 360 console sold, and Sony’s PlayStation 3 console followed in third with 276,900 consoles sold. The Nintendo DS claimed the top spot for portable consoles (and second place in hardware sales overall) with 422,200 units sold. Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) sold 100,100 units in January. The company’s decade-old PS3 predecessor, the PlayStation 2, managed to move 41,600 units.

The top-selling title of the month was Nintendo’s “New Super Mario Bros.” for Wii, which sold 656,000 copies. Nintendo was responsible for four of the top 10 best-selling games in January, with other titles placing in third, fifth and sixth place. Publishing giant Electronic Arts placed two games on this list, including “Mass Effect 2” in second place, which sold 572,000 copies. Activision Blizzard found its “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” on the list twice, in fourth place in the Xbox 360 format and in seventh place on the PS3. Total sales of “Call of Duty” on both formats reached 585,000 copies in January.

The report suggests the industry faces a slow road back to recovery and follows an NPD report released last month that showed video game sales generated revenues of close to $19.66 billion (£12.54bn) in 2009, an 8 percent decline over the $21.4 billion (£13.7bn) generated in 2008.

Aside from portable hardware, which experienced a 6 percent increase in revenue in 2009, all video game categories experienced declines, with the largest decline coming from console hardware, which saw a 13 percent drop. Console software and portable software both experienced declines of 10 percent, while video game accessories experienced a 1 percent decline.

January sales figures also come as a disappointment following December—strong holiday season sales brought the industry its best sales month to date, besting sales in December 2008 by 4 percent.

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