According to official NPD data for North American game software and hardware sales during March 2006, U.S. software sales were $499 million last month, down 8 percent from March 2005, when titles such as Gran Turismo 4
helped drive more significant game sales.
The total was, nonetheless, significantly better than Michael Pachter's predictions
made last week, in which the Wedbush Morgan analyst predicted a decrease of 18 percent in total game software sales for March 2006, down to $445 million, but were still disappointing, as the inter-generational hardware transition is still negatively affecting software sales.
In fact, hardware sales for March 2006 were even more adversely affected, with monthly sales down 31 percent to $220 million. However, this comparison was skewed somewhat by the launch of Sony's PSP handheld last March, an event which led to game hardware sales for that month being notable high.
Overall, the game industry's hardware, software, and accessory sales decreased 16 percent to $819 million, with Anita Frazier, NPD's game analyst, commenting to the Associate Press that "...things are likely to get worse before they get better. As we get closer to the release of PlayStation 3 and Revolution, more consumers will likely delay purchases in anticipation of a pricey hardware purchase."
However, the game software sale drop is marginally less bad
than in February, when game sales dropped to $340 million, down 13% on the previous year. Nonetheless, software sales are down around 8% for the whole of 2006 at $1.2 billion, compared to 2005.