Gamers were spoilt for choice when it came to the selection of high profile titles released just last month and despite their relative volume, nearly all enjoyed very strong launches. The NPD Group reports that software sales were boosted signifigantly, helping contribute to year-on-year growth for the industry as a whole during March. The console giants themselves have naturally been hoping to see the industry pick itself back up in 2010 after being hit by nearly a year of annual sales decline.
March 2010 US Games Industry Summary
Total Sales - $1.52 billion USD ( 6%)
Hardware Sales - $440.5 million USD (-4%)
Software Sales - $875.3 million USD ( 10%)
Accessory Sales - $206.8 million USD ( 11%)
While console hardware continued to underperform, Nintendo still took solace seeing its systems account for 59 percent of the total hardware sold last month. The Wii reclaimed second place from the Xbox 360 in its "best non-holiday sales month since March 2009", according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier. Though the PS3 still lagged behind both the Wii and 360, NPD notes that Sony's console is enjoying its eighth consecutive month of year-on-year sales growth.
|3.||Microsoft Xbox 360||338,400||1,093,200||19,924,190|
|4.||Sony PlayStation 3||313,900||950,900||12,079,200|
|5.||Sony PlayStation Portable||119,900||353,400||16,190,000|
|6.||Sony PlayStation 2||118,300||261,800|
March was good to software as a whole, and the majority of NPD's top ten chart was occupied by new releases compared to the months before. Combined unit sales for EA's Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for example hit over one million, with the 360 version alone accounting for over 800,000 copies. The PS3 would otherwise stake its claim for much of the software sales chart. God of War III for the PS3 took on all comers to achieve sales mastery for March in big way, selling over a million copies. It wasn't the only title to sell over a million units on its own, however; Kratos sees a pretender to the throne come close in a small package labelled Pokemon SoulSilver.
Gold medal talk was all the rage last month here in our home town of Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Games, but in the world of Pokemon, it's the color silver that ended up getting the love. Pokemon HeartGold certainly sold its fair share of copies, but it didn't even come close to the million copies which SoulSilver managed last month. Combining the unit sales for both versions meanwhile only serves to underline the sheer appeal which the Pokemon franchises continues to enjoy even after so many versions.
We certainly can't forget about the other big title which rounds out last month's terrible trio: Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix's latest entry in its long-running JRPG series was hailed as the fastest-selling ever, and it shows on the NPD software sales report. The combined units sales for FFXIII couldn't top those for Pokemon, but the title still sold over a million copies across the PS3 and 360 platforms. As you may have expected, FFXIII ended up selling much better on the PS3, but its 360 sales were no slouch at over 490,000 units. It certainly vindicates Square Enix's decision to go multiplatform for their much-hyped title.
|1.||God of War III||Sony||PS3||03/2010||1,100,000|
|2.||Pokémon SoulSilver Version||Nintendo||DS||03/2010||1,020,000|
|3.||Final Fantasy XIII||Square Enix||PS3||03/2010||828,200|
|4.||Battlefield: Bad Company 2||Electronic Arts||360||03/2010||825,500|
|5.||Pokémon HeartGold Version||Nintendo||DS||03/2010||761,200|
|6.||Final Fantasy XIII||Square Enix||360||03/2010||493,900|
|7.||New Super Mario Bros. Wii||Nintendo||Wii||11/2009||457,400|
|8.||Battlefield: Bad Company 2||Electronic Arts||PS3||03/2010||451,200|
|9.||Wii Fit Plus||Nintendo||Wii||10/2009||429,600|
|10.||MLB 10: The Show||Sony||PS3||03/2010||349,200|
April will have to work extra hard if it wants to top all the million sellers that March saw, but that's not to say the fourth calendar month suffers from a lack of high profile titles. It will be interesting to see just how well Super Street Fighter IV stacks up to the original launch numbers for "vanilla" SFIV. Meanwhile, will Nintendo's backing of Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii lead to results?