The NPD Group has announced its tracking results for new U.S. retail video game sales in February, showing overall revenues across the industry increasing 3 percent compared to the same month last year on strong hardware and accessory growth.
Total new retail sales of hardware, software and accessories across consoles, portables and the PC were up to $1.36 billion for the month. Excluding PC sales, the industry number was up 4 percent to $1.33 billion.
The gains were not evenly distributed, however -- spending on console hardware, software and accessories was up 12 percent year-over-year, compared to a 27 percent drop for portables.
"We are looking for the portable segment of the market to rebound beginning later this month when the highly anticipated 3DS launches in the U.S. on March 27th," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.
Despite the overall gains for new retail sales, software sales for the month were down 8 percent from February 2010 to $637.4 million, an even larger annual drop than that seen in January. Sales for console games were up 2 percent year-over-year, however, and total sales for the top ten sellers in February were 6 percent higher in 2011 than in 2010.
"There were fewer new releases in February 2011 vs. February 2010, but those new releases were more productive, selling more on average than the new releases did last year," Frazier said.
Hardware sales, on the other hand, were up 10 percent year-over-year to $466.9 million, a turnaround from January's 8 percent yearly drop.
Nintendo also revealed that the Wii sold 454,000 units in the month, up over 14 percent from the year before. The new sales put the system above 35 million unit mark in the U.S. faster than any other console in history.
NPD also revealed that all three consoles saw some hardware sales increase since last February.
[UPDATE: An analyst's note from Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter revealed the PS3 sold 403,000 units for the month, up 12 percent year over year]
Accessories were the largest-gaining segment in the NPD report, up 22 percent to $256.9 million for the month, continuing a streak of strong accessory performance.
"This is the 18th consecutive month of double-digit increases in both dollars and units for PS3 accessory sales, and the sixth consecutive month of double-digit increases in both dollars and units for the 360," Frazier said.
The Xbox 360 points card was the top-selling product in the category, with point cards as a whole up 55 percent compared to last February to represent 22 percent of the accessory market as a whole.
Software Sales Rankings
Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops topped sales of new retail software for the fourth month in a row in February, becoming the best-selling game in history, according to NPD. The first-person shooter beat out newcomer Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which finished in second.
[UPDATE: IndustryGamers received word from NPD that Black Ops sold 13.7 million units in the U.S. through February.]
Other newcomers on the monthly top ten list in February include EA's Xbox 360, PS3 and PC shooter Bulletstorm in seventh place, edging out PS3 exclusive Killzone 3 in eighth place. Nintendo-published newcomer Mario Sports Mix also snuck in to the list at tenth place.
Dance titles generally maintained their strong showing from January, with Ubisoft's Just Dance 2 finishing in third place for the month. Nintendo revealed the title was the month's number one seller when single-system software sales are separated out, with 554,000 units sold during the month.
Majesco's Zumba Fitness and Ubisoft's Michael Jackson: The Experience rounded out the dance game performance with sixth and ninth place appearances, respectively, while Kinect-powered Dance Central dropped off the top ten from last month's eighth place position.
The top selling new retail games in the U.S. for February 2011, as reported by NPD, are as follows:
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard) - Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC
2. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (Capcom) - Xbox 360, PS3
3. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft) - Wii - 554,000
4. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two) - Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC
5. Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts) - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
6. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) - Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
7. Bulletstorm (Electronic Arts) - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
8. Killzone 3 (Sony) - PS3
9. Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft) - Wii, DS, PSP
10. Mario Sports Mix (Nintendo) - Wii
[UPDATE: Capcom's Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Facebook page notes that the game was #1 in a NPD Top 5 list for February, but Gamasutra believes this list excludes Call Of Duty: Black Ops's PC SKUs - making Capcom's game top for console-specific sales.