GamesBeat

March 2013 NPD: Industry slumps another 10 percent as BioShock Infinite tops the charts

Gamers spent $992.5 million dollars on consoles, peripherals, and new physical video games in March — a number that’s 10 percent less than a year ago mostly due to slowing console sales.

Financial tracking firm The NPD Group just released its report for the video game industry for March 2013. That $992.5 million is down 10 percent from $1.1 billion last year. As always, it’s important to note that these figures don’t include digital sales on Steam, Xbox Live Marketplace, or any other digital-distribution platform.

Hardware sales took the biggest hit. Gamers only spent $221.6 million on new consoles. That’s down 32 percent from $324.7 million in 2012. A saturated market and news about next-gen systems from Microsoft and Sony are both impacting sales.

We’ll take a look closer look at hardware in a second, but first, let’s look at the software chart:

Software

Here is a list of the best-selling games in March 2013:

  1. BioShock Infinite (360, PS3, PC)
  2. Tomb Raider (2013) (360, PS3)
  3. Gears of War: Judgment (360)
  4. God of War: Ascension (PS3)
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
  6. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS): 365,000 units (415,000 with eShop)
  7. MLB 13: The Show (PS3, Vita)
  8. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
  9. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (360, PS3, Wii U)
  10. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (360, PS3)

xx. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates To Infinity (3DS) – (145,000 retail + eShop)
xx. Fire Emblem (3DS) – (64,000 retail + eShop)

If you include home consoles, portable consoles, and PC, physical-game sales were actually up 2 percent from $592.2 million in 2012 to $602.4 million.

Those numbers were up despite approximately 20 percent fewer new games compared to March 2012.

“March 2013 launches generated close to 70 percent more dollar sales per SKU than last year,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “The performance of new launches was a major driver of the overall software growth for this month, with games launching in March 2013 selling over 40 percent more units than new launches in March 2012. There were positive trends for new launches that were seen across consoles, portables, and PC.”

In February, Sega’s big stinker, Aliens: Colonial Marines, cracked the top 10 list. In March, it’s Activision’s awful The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct making it all the way to No. 9. That’s not bad for a title that only scored a 55 out of 100 in its GamesBeat review.

As usual, this is an Xbox 360-dominated chart, with a few PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS games sprinkled in here and there. No Wii U or Vita exclusive made the top 10, as once again those systems didn’t really have any significant releases throughout the month.

The 3DS did have a very strong month, though.

“With solid performances of new games like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, 3DS software sales increased over 50 percent from last March,” said Callahan.

Finally, both BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider set new opening-month records for their respective franchises. Clearly, the positive reviews, marketing push, and anticipation was enough to pushy BioShock Infinite over the top. Meanwhile, Tomb Raider has competely a successful comeback. Now it’s up to publisher Square Enix to capitalize on that.

Hardware

The Xbox 360 sold 261,000 units last month. That’s down 29 percent from 371,000 in March 2012. This makes the Xbox 360 the best-selling home console for the 27th consecutive month.

As usual, Nintendo and Sony didn’t share any numbers telling us how their hardware performed. But estimates have put Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U, at sub-100,000 sales for the last two months. The release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate could help improve those numbers slightly, but that franchise isn’t a system seller like it is in Japan.

In total, gamers spent $402 million on Microsoft hardware, software, and accessories. That’s more than 40 percent of the total consumer spend in March. That’s going to leave Sony and Nintendo in a race for a distant second place.


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