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NPD Results, January 2011: Industry Down 5% As  Black Ops  Maintains Sales Lead
NPD Results, January 2011: Industry Down 5% As Black Ops Maintains Sales Lead
February 17, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

February 17, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
More: Console/PC

The NPD Group has announced its tracking results for new U.S. retail video game sales in January, showing overall revenues for the industry dropping 5 percent compared to the same month last year.

New retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories totaled $1.16 billion for the month. With PC sales excluded, the industry drew a total of $1.14 billion in revenue, down 4 percent from the year before.

Over half of that total came from software sales of $576 million, down 5 percent from January 2010. Overall video game hardware sales of $324 million were off 8 percent from the previous January.

Video game accessories were the only subsegment to see year-over-year revenue growth, increasing 6 percent to $235.1 million for the month. In previous months this sector of the industry has been driven by strong interest in the PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect camera-based controllers.

NPD no longer provides specific breakdowns for hardware or software or accessory unit sales to the press.

Software Sales Rankings

Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops was the best selling new retail title for the third month in a row in January, after selling over 12 million units across five separate platforms in 2010.

Wii hit Just Dance 2 maintained its 2nd place position from December, outranking the combined sales of three different versions of EA's Dead Space 2, which debuted towards the end of the month and finished 3rd.

Ubisoft had two other titles in the January top 10 -- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, which fell from 4th to 7th place in January, and Michael Jackson: The Experience, which fell from 8th to 9th.

Media Molecule's mid-January release LittleBigPlanet 2 finished in 4th place for the month, ahead of Majesco's 5th place exercise title Zumba Fitness: Join the Party. In early January, Majesco announced that title had shipped over 500,000 units to retail in just two months of availability.

Harmonix's Dance Central became the first Kinect-exclusive title to rank in NPD's monthly top ten with an 8th place finish, while Sony's PS3 and PC MMO DC Universe Online snuck on to the list with a premiere in 10th place.

New retail sales rankings from NPD for January 2010 were as follows:

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard) - Xbox 360, PS3, Wi, DS, PC
2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft) - Wii
3. Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts) - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
4. Little Big Planet 2 (Sony) - PS3
5. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) - Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
6. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive) - Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC
7. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) - Xbox 360, PS3
8. Dance Central (MTV Games) - Xbox 360
9. Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft) - Wii, DS, PSP
10. DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony) - PS3, PC

[UPDATE: Microsoft revealed sales of 381,000 Xbox 360 units in January, up 14.4 percent from the year before, making it the only console to show year-over-year growth for the month, according to the company. Consumers spent $551 million on Xbox 360 hardware, software and accessories in the month.

Further leaks from the results show both Wii and PS3 sales falling in January and Black Ops selling 750,000 units for the month, as well as other tidbits]

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Kevin Jones
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Hardware sales for January 2011:

Xbox 360 - 381,000 (+15%) [Only console platform to see year over year growth]

DS - 350,000 (-17%)

Wii - 319,000 (-32%)

PS3 - 267,000 (-3.6%)

PSP - 80,000 (-20%)

So yet again, the 360 emerges as the top selling console in the monthly NPD home console sales. The 360 even outsold the DS as well.

This makes it 7 months out of the last 8 months that the 360 has clobbered the Wii and PS3 in monthly sales, December being the sole exception.

Plus, total retail spend on Xbox 360 topped $551 million in January, making it the top selling console platform for the 10th month in a row. (Source: NPD Group, January 2011).

Tim Tavernier
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Let's try putting everything in some nuanced perspective here

1) revenue doesn't mean anything, numbers of customers does. Sure, MS always focuses on revenue in its quarter reports, but that's to hide clear structural weaknesses in their bussiness. Nintendo and Sony always also state (operational) profits, MS hardly talks about that.

2) The Xbox has enjoyed a well orchestrated series of marketing events, but each of those events will be short-term lived. Kinect is actually already failing. The Xbox barely out-sells the Wii, a console who's in the latter phase of it's product life-cycle which is natural and logic looking at videogame history, while being supported by a half a billion marketing push. Nintendo never payed that kind of money and they managed to be sold out for 3 years straight. The surplus boost Kinect is giving isn't even paying for that half a billion marketing push.

3) The US isn't the world. The Xbox brand is non-existent in Japan and only knows limited succes in Europe where it is outsold by the PS3 with near 2-to-1 numbers in countries like Spain and France (the Wii out-sells the PS3 in Europe). There's a reason why Sony fans are claiming the PS3 is beating the Xbox360...on a worldwide basis.

4) Why will Kinect fail? Well, what do we talk about when we talk about Kinect? Not the games, that's for sure. Talking about the Wii was also talking about WiiSports and WiiPlay and so forth. This is why Kinect will implode in time: it has no significant game to carry it, and there are none in the pipeline. And don't count on third parties to fix it. The Wii already proved they can't.