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Superheroes and zombies couldn't save U.S. game retail in April
Superheroes and zombies couldn't save U.S. game retail in April
May 16, 2013 | By Kris Graft

May 16, 2013 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Physical retail sales of video games in the U.S. showed a double-digit decline for the month of April, NPD Group reported Thursday.

Warner Bros.-published superhero fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us, developed by NertherRealm Studios, led unit sales for the month, followed by Deep Silver's Dead Island: Riptide.

Those two games were able to knock down Irrational Games-developed BioShock Infinite, which was the top-selling title at U.S. retail in March.

Overall new retail video game sales for the month brought in $495 million in revenue for April (not including PC retail sales), down 25 percent for the same month a year ago. That includes hardware, software and accessories.

“Easter typically accounts for a 10% boost in the month in which it occurs. Since Easter occurred in April last year vs. in March this year, it’s difficult to provide a comparison this year to last," said NPD Group's Liam Callahan.


Total hardware sales revenues were $109.5 million for the month, a decline of 42 percent.

Xbox 360 once again led unit sales, moving 130,000 units in April. Microsoft is holding an event next week to unveil the Xbox 360's successor.

Sony and Nintendo did not release hardware sales figures for their flagship home consoles, PlayStation 3 and Wii U, respectively.

NPD's Callahan added some context to the hardware revenue figure: “When looking at month-to-month hardware trends with weeks normalized for the 5 week March period compared to the 4 week April period, we have seen declines hover around 30 percent over the past few years, while March 2013 to April 2013 declines were slightly higher at 38 percent.”


Software sales, including consoles and portables, came to $254.3 million, down 17 percent. Including PC retail sales, software came to $267.8 million, which also ended up being about a 17 percent decline year-on-year.

Nintendo said in the first four months (18 weeks) of 2013, the company sold 2.1 million units of first-party software for its Nintendo 3DS, up 52 percent year-on-year. It took 3DS first-party software 30 weeks to hit the same milestone last year.

Nintendo said Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins sold almost 94,000 units, physical and digital, following its April 24 launch in the U.S. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon sold over 140,000 across physical and digital during the month, and over 530,000 units to date.

After six months on the market, New Super Mario Bros U for Wii U sold nearly 770,000 units to date across physical and digital channels.

Rankings for U.S. physical retail sales in April:

1. Injustice: Gods Among Us (360, PS3, NWU)** Warner Bros. Interactive
2. Dead Island: Riptide (360, PS3, PC)** Deep Silver
3. Bioshock Infinite (360, PS3, PC)** Take 2 Interactive
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, PC, NWU)** Activision Blizzard
5. Defiance (360, PS3, PC)** Trion Worlds
6. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) Nintendo
7. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, WII, NWU, PSP, PC)** Take 2 Interactive
8. Skylanders Giants (WII, 360, PS3, 3DS, NWU)** Activision Blizzard
9. Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins (3DS) Nintendo
10. MLB 13: The Show (PS3, Vita) Sony

**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

By the numbers

Percentage changes year-on-year

Video game hardware: $109.5 million (-42%)
Video game software (new console+portable sales): $254.3 million (-17%)
Video game software (console, handheld, PC): $267.8 million (-17%)
Video game accessories: (-19%)
Total video game industry sales: $495.2 million (-25%)

Estimated used game, rental and "other physical" sales: $76 million
Estimated digital sales: $267 million
Total estimated video game spend in the U.S.: $802 million

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Matt Ployhar
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A shame we can't get the Digital Sales figures included into this.
Also; is NPD including the sales of those plastic game cards or not?

Stuff like this (as you well know Kris) has been driving me bonkers for years as it doesn't often reflect the bottom line accurately.

Another thing I've been saying, & maybe I'll blog on this, is that with the shifts in the business models it's no longer just about units, but also users. As technically a game like League of Legends has sold (zero) units.

Granted... in coming back to the title of your article... retail continues to slide. I don't think nex Gen Consoles are going to be able to help this story out much in the long term bigger picture.