March NPD 2009
While it might be tempting to jump to the conclusion that the sky is starting to fall on the video games industry given this months results, it's important to remember that two very big things are different this year than last. First, Easter fell in March last year whereas it fell in April this year, and last March included the release of Super Smash Bros.: Brawl, which went on to become the fourth best-selling game in 2008.
You might not think that Easter is that big of a gift-giving holiday, but our consumer data shows that 8% of industry unit sales were purchased for the Easter occasion in March 2008, accounting for $121M of that months' sales. We expect that most of Easter sales this year fell into the April reporting period and we'll see that reflected in next month's data.
This is very much like September of last year, which did not compare favorably to September of 2007 as the result of a huge game launch, Halo 3. Besides March 2008, this month's sales are 31% higher than the previous highest March which was March of 2007, so it was a pretty healthy month for sales, overall.
If there was one area that surprised me this month, it was hardware sales. While it's not unusual for March hardware sales to be lower than February, I thought we'd see higher unit sales on most platforms. The Xbox 360 was the only platform to achieve a year-over-year unit sales increase.
The PS2 price decrease occurred on April 1, so this month included only 4 days of sales as the new retail price. We would expect to see an increase in PS2 hardware sell-through in the April data.
Wii and NDS hardware sales remained brisk, taking the top two spots for the month in hardware unit sales. It's important to keep in mind that the Super Smash Bros. Brawl effect from last year impacted hardware sales as well, so while the year-over-year comps are down for the Wii, the sales are still impressive.
Core gamers had something to cheer about last month with the release of Resident Evil 5. The title sold over 1.5 million units across all SKU's which is a record-breaking launch for that property.
- Nintendo DSi
- Halo Wars (Xbox 360)
- Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- MadWorld (Wii)
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
- Pokemon Platinum (DS)
- Wii - 601K
- Nintendo DS - 563K
- Xbox 360 - 330K
- PlayStation 3 - 218K
- PSP - 168K
- PlayStation 2 - 112K
Top 20 software sales
- Resident Evil 5 (Capcom, Xbox 360) - 938K
- Pokemon Platinum (Nintendo, DS) - 805K
- Halo Wars (Microsoft, Xbox 360) - 639K
- Resident Evil 5 (Capcom, PS3) - 585K
- Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Nintendo, Wii) - 541K
- MLB '09: The Show (Sony, PS3) - 305K
- Killzone 2 - (Sony, PS3) - 296K
- Wii Play w/ Remote (Nintendo, Wii) - 281K
- Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Nintendo, Wii) - 278K
- MLB 2K9 (Take-Two, Xbox 360) - 205K
- Guitar Hero: Metallica (X360) 
- Call of Duty: World at War (X360)
- Street Fighter IV (X360)
- Mario Kart DS (NDS)
- Street Fighter IV (PS3)
- New Super Mario Bros. (NDS)
- Professor Layton: Curious Village (NDS)
- MLB '09: The Show (PS2)
- Halo 3 (X360)
- Lego Star Wars (Wii) - >100K
- Other sales
Video game revenues
- Total sales: $1.43B
- Hardware sales: $455.55M
- Software sales: $792.83M
- Accessories: $185.67M
|Prev: NPD February 2009||NPD sales figures||Next: NPD April 2009|