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February NPD Up 10% As Nintendo,  Wii Fit/Street Fighter IV  Dominate

February NPD Up 10% As Nintendo, Wii Fit/Street Fighter IV Dominate

March 20, 2009 | By Staff

March 20, 2009 | By Staff
More: Console/PC

NPD has published U.S. console and game sales for February 2009, revealing Nintendo's Wii and DS topping sales charts again, with Wii Fit and Street Fighter IV's two main SKUs taking the top three game chart spots.

Overall, the total U.S. game hardware, software and accessories retail market was up 10% over February 2008 to $1.47 billion -- an impressive result in a recession-wracked economy, although slightly slower than the 13% year-over-year growth seen last month.

February 2009: Overall Trends

As well as the above-mentioned $1.47 billion in total sales for February 2009, game hardware itself was up 11% year on year to $532.7 million, with software increasing 9% to $733.5 million - while accessories actually edged up the most in relative terms, up 13% to $207.1 million.

For the year to date, the U.S. game industry has managed $2.81 billion in sales, 11% more than 2008's $2.52 billion through the end of February.

February 2009: Hardware Sales

As for hardware sales, Nintendo's Wii once again surged out in front, beating even January 2009's 679,000 units with an impressive 753,000 units in February. The DS wasn't far behind, showing 588,000 units for the month.

Continuing down the list of top-sellers, the Xbox 360 managed 391,000 for the month, up notably from 309,000 in a somewhat slower January, but it was the PlayStation 3 that got the biggest relative boost.

Likely buoyed by both the release of the system-exclusive Killzone 2 and Street Fighter IV, the PS3 sold 276,000 units for the month. Finally, the PlayStation Portable sold a somewhat restrained 199,000 units, ahead of the 131,000 unit-selling PS2.

The full list of exact hardware U.S. sales numbers for February 2009 is as follows:

Wii - 753,000
Nintendo DS - 588,000
Xbox 360 - 391,000
PlayStation 3 - 276,000
PSP - 199,000
PlayStation 2 - 131,000

February 2009: Top Games

In terms of U.S. retail game, Nintendo's stalwarts continued to do excellently in the top ten, with Wii Fit again atop the charts, but it was Capcom's Street Fighter IV which made the big splash this month.

With a total of almost 850,000 units sold from February 17th to the end of the month over its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, SF IV would have topped the chart if SKUs were combined.

Further down the chart, perennial titles Wii Play, Mario Kart for Wii and DS and New Super Mario Bros were joined by new entry Killzone 2. The PS3 exclusive shooter managed 323,000 copies in February, even though it launched on the 27th, putting it fifth for the month.

The full countdown of top retail games in the U.S. for February 2009 is as follows:

1. Wii Fit w/ Balance Board (Nintendo, Wii) - 644,000
2. Street Fighter IV (Capcom, Xbox 360) - 446,000
3. Street Fighter IV (Capcom, PlayStation 3) - 403,000
4. Wii Play w/Remote (Nintendo, Wii) - 386,000
5. Killzone 2 (Sony, PlayStation 3) - 323,000
6. Mario Kart w/Wheel (Nintendo, Wii) - 263,000
7. Call Of Duty: World At War (Activision Blizzard, Xbox 360) - 193,000
8. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo, DS) - 145,000
9. New Super Mario Bros (Nintendo, DS) - 144,000
10. Guitar Hero World Tour (Activision Blizzard, Wii) - 136,000

As always, numbers for these games include special editions and instrument or peripheral bundles, but not hardware-bundled game sales.

NPD Analyst Comments

Responding to the results, NPD analyst Anita Frazier noted: "The U.S. video games industry continues to post strong year-over-year comps despite the tough economy. Unit sales increased even more than dollar sales did, reflecting a slightly lower average retail price for all categories as compared to last year."

In hardware, she pointed out: "The Xbox 360 realized its biggest non-holiday sales month, save for September 2007, when the Halo 3 release brought in a large group of new owners. Compared to last month, the PS3 realized the greatest month-over-month unit sales increase of all platforms."

As for software: "Consumers picked up nearly 20 million units of video game software in February, a 14% increase over February 2008. The average retail price for games is 4% lower than last year, which is why the dollar sales increase is not quite keeping in pace with the increase in unit sales."

Looking forward, Frazier concluded: "March should be another great month for software sales between Pokemon Platinum, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Halo Wars, the two MLB titles and of course, Resident Evil 5, just to name a few of the key drivers. The sheer quantity of great content coming to market early in the year should keep industry sales humming throughout 2009."

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