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Exclusive: NPD Reveals 2010 U.S. New Game Charts Per Platform
Exclusive: NPD Reveals 2010 U.S. New Game Charts Per Platform
February 7, 2011 | By Matt Matthews

February 7, 2011 | By Matt Matthews
More: Console/PC

[Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews has obtained NPD's U.S. video game retail charts for titles that were newly released in 2010, divided up per platform, and analyzes the surprising results in-depth here.]

Last month the NPD Group released its annual 2010 U.S. retail video game sales estimates, including a best-selling top 10 console/handheld game list for the full year.

Among those ten titles were three games released in 2009: New Super Mario Bros Wii, Wii Fit Plus, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Moreover, the list was composed of combined version sales so the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Red Dead Redemption together placed that title at 5th on the list.

Using exclusive charts provided by the NPD Group, Gamasutra can now reveal the top 10 titles that debuted in 2010 in the U.S. for each three consoles (the Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3) and two handhelds (Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable).

Specifically, the charts are limited to games released for the first time in 2010, and arranged per-platform, so they provide a distinctly different perspective than previously released charts.

For a sense of scale in the larger market, the sales represented on the five individual platform charts below represent about one quarter of all console and handheld software units sold new at retail in 2010.

Third Parties Dominate Wii, Not So DS

Our chosen view of sales excludes Nintendo's evergreen titles like Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit Plus, and the remaining chart is dominated by third-party titles from publishers like Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard. In fact, the leading title is Just Dance 2, the follow-up to last year's hit Wii title.

Even so, three Nintendo titles still made the chart: Super Mario Galaxy 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Wii Party. The last of these sold just over half a million units for the year, while the top five were million- and multi-million sellers.


The Wii chart is notably weighted toward the back half of the year. Only three games were released before July 2010, and five titles were released in November. We also note that both Nintendo platforms (the Wii here, and the Nintendo DS below) have the most platform exclusives in these top 10 new release charts.

Half of the titles on the Nintendo DS chart were released by Nintendo. These include Pokemon SoulSilver and Pokemon HeartGold, which claimed the first and second spots, respectively.

Collectively these two games have moved over 3 million units since launching in March. Moreover, they are the only two titles on the Nintendo DS list to reach individual sales of over 1 million units.


Kingdom Hearts Leads PSP Chart, PS3 Sees Sony Stalwarts

Sony has recently shifted attention away from its flagging PlayStation Portable system and onto its successor, the NGP, but for the time being we have only sales of the PSP and its software to consider.

As we have discussed in our monthly review of NPD Group figures, retail sales of PSP software have declined continuously over the past couple of years. While the handheld segment is down in general, the PSP in particular has suffered.

Regardless, the system received some significant releases in 2010, including Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, from Square-Enix. That title led the new release sales chart for the PSP in 2010, although its sales were still weak.


In fact, Birth by Sleep was the only new PSP title to break above 300,000 units in 2010, with all others falling well below 200,000.

Sony's PSP strategy has split sales between retail stores and its own online PlayStation Store. Of the ten titles above, only Birth by Sleep and Toy Story 3 are not available from the PS Store.

For the other eight games, there is no reliable third-party means for verifying sales made through the PS Store and Sony is not releasing sales figures. However, for the record, consumer who have purchased a game through the PS Store are permitted to assign a rating to their purchase (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars).

The most ratings that any of the eight other games has gotten is 463 for God of War: Ghost of Sparta. Most of these games have fewer than 100 ratings.

We note, however, that several of these titles also got game-specific bundles in the U.S. in 2010. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Madden NFL 11, MLB 10: The Show, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta all were packaged with PSP-3000 systems (most with custom styling) during 2010, and none of those sales are reflected in the chart above.

Sony's other platform, the PlayStation 3, had a strong year for new releases. The ten PS3 titles shown below had unit sales in excess of the total for the top 10 new releases on the Wii shown previously.


There are several titles on the list from franchises commonly associated with Sony's systems: God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, and Gran Turismo 5. Since we last looked at sales of Final Fantasy XIII back in May, it appears to have passed the 1 million unit mark.

At least one new and notable Sony-exclusive title, Heavy Rain, did not make this top 10.

Xbox 360 Has Shooter Fever?

Microsoft has positioned the Xbox 360 as the platform of choice for console shooters, and in fact Call of Duty: Black Ops and Microsoft's own Halo: Reach were the top two new releases on the system in 2010. Together those two titles on just the one platform accounted for nearly 5% of all software unit sales for the year.

While Madden NFL 11 from Electronic Arts appeared in the number two position on the PS3 list above, it actually sold approximately 17% more units on the Xbox 360 in 2010.


[Thanks as always to the NPD Group for its cooperation with this article.]

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E Zachary Knight
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Nice to see 7 of 10 Wii games being 3rd party offerings. I still need to buy Epic Mickey.

Its also nice to see a "hardcore" title on the top ten list. I think that shows that there is still a market for those games on the Wii. Of course, without numbers, it is hard to tell just how big that market is.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Using VGChartz numbers...

#4 is stalling under 2M units and the "hardcore title" is at 750k... thats not much compared to the install base. Only the top 3 have made good numbers, but those are *really* good numbers. Hit industry...

Robert Boyd
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VGChartz isn't a reliable source for sales data. When they don't have a reliable number (from sources like NPD), VGChartz just guesses. Unfortunately, they never indicate when they're guessing and when they have factual data to back up their data.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Which is why I mentionned the source, but their numbers are better than nothing. Actually, I see them correlate better and better with NPD, as they get more data sources and as they regress their data with NPD's. Not as accurate as the real data but after a few weeks they usually give you a pretty darn good estimate.

In our case is doesnt really matters. We've seen the sales of most of the games in this top10 through NPD, the unsufficient sales of Epic Mickey have been talked about when the developper got layoffs and my comment that only the top 3 of that top 10 actually made really good sales stand.

Justin Halliday
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Not entirely correct; the author removed Mario Kart, Wii Fit Plus and New Super Mario Bros Wii from the sales charts because they're 'evergreen' (released before 2010).

So, it's probably more like 5 of the top 10 being 3rd party games.

Alex Covic
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The only news I get from this is that NPD shares some data with Gama?

As long as I don't see 'how many copies are sold per title, per platform, per chain (retail - divided in stores, regions, 3rd-party digital download, direct publisher downloads etc etc ...) this isn't that much interesting?

Meanwhile, the phone/web-based games generate millions and millions of dollars on a daily bases - unmonitored by any reliable 3rd party stats?

Seems like the 'old' style industry stats game is equally overrun by the 'new' market. Cozy 'title-ranking' with narrow parameters won't do?

Carlo Delallana
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Check out While it doesn't show unit sales it gives you a good idea of how long an iOS game has been in the charts.

Simon Carless
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Alex, everyone is frustrated about not getting access to digital charts, but we also run top Facebook and iPhone game charts which are similar on Gamasutra. So our charts - as everyone's - are equal opportunity in terms of what's missing.

And in the cases where the data is proprietary, it's nice to get some new cuts. (I think there's some interesting stuff here in relation to DS and Wii titles, as well as PSP, and we'll do breakout stories on that later.)

Alex Covic
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Fair enough.

Wouldn't it be great though, if some internal publisher numbers and Walmart balance sheets would end up on Wikileaks?

Lo Pan
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It would be interesting if RDR was brought in a Civil War element!? Outlaw Josey Wales...

Russell Carroll
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Interesting to see how similar the PSP/PS3/X360 (and especially the PS3/X360) charts are to each other. The charts really illustrate how different the audiences are between Wii/DS and PSP/PS3/X360.

It's a circular logic, but the difference in audiences explains why games like Monster Hunter, Red Steel 2, Sin & Punishment, and even Goldeneye weren't top sellers on the Wii last year.

As a gamer it's nice to see such variety being viable in the marketplace. It means that different people can find a console that fits their gaming tastes, and developers can target systems based on audiences.

Hayden Dawson
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Color me a bit surprised none of the still successful RPGs made it onto the PSP list. Things will change a little this year, but last year, if you were looking for JRPGs, you were playing it on a handheld. I know VC2 topped system sales a week or two around its release, and others got very nice box sets already hard to track down.

Matt Cratty
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The worst thing about this list, aside from the games that are currently leading the sales charts, is that they didn't list the PC Games chart. Of course, they still haven't figured out how to account for MMOs realistically so that's to be expected.