NPD has reported that video game revenue for February 2010 dropped 15% from February 2009. Americans spent $1.26 billion on videogames in February 2010, down $220 million from February 2009. Much of the decline can be attributed to weakness in the hardware category compared to last year. Wii, PSP, and PS2 saw declines in unit sales (and pricing for Wii and PS2), while PS3 revenue was flattish as the year over year increase in volume was just about offset by the lower selling price of the device. X360 and DS, which sold more than last February at comparable or higher prices could not offset the decline.
It should be noted that of the six platforms, all systems saw weekly hardware sales improve over January, except for Wii. In 2009, all six systems jumped from January to February - adding legitimacy to Nintendo's claim that Wii is facing serious supply issues. This is the first time a rival console has beaten Wii since last September, when PS3 was available for $300 for five weeks, while Wii was still $250 for four of the five weeks. Before that, you have to go to September 2007, when Halo 3 pushed X360 slightly ahead of Wii. PS2 beat Wii in March 2007, when God of War 2 launched. Those are the only times after 2006 that Wii has been outsold by another console in the USA though (and DS beats it quite often).
In January 2010, X360 sold 332,800, while PS3 sold 276,900. DS had sold 422,200 in January, and PSP had sold 100,100 in January. Finally, PS2 had sold 41,600 in January. If you compare those numbers to February, the average increase is over 50,000 units for the non-Wii systems. Nonetheless, Wii dropped from 465,800 in January to 397,900 in February - rather than rising to ~500,000 to 550,000 as would be expected by looking at the other systems. It is tempting to say this is because there were bigger games for non-Wii platforms, but it isn't like DS, PSP, or PS2 had any huge games in February and yet those platforms still increased substantially, particularly DS, which is the most like Wii. It is also interesting to note that Wii and PS3 appear to have corrected to USA : Japan historical norms - with USA weekly sales now roughly three times larger than Japanese weekly sales (100k to 30k for Wii, 90k to 27k for PS3), as it "should be" based on population demographics until the next wave of regional hits arrive.
Software for February reflected the hardware trends of the month.
1. BioShock 2 (Take-Two, Xbox 360): 562.9K
2. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo, Wii) 555.6K
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision, Xbox 360) 314.3K
4. Just Dance (Ubisoft, Wii) 275.4K
5. Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo, Wii) 272.5K
6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision, PS3) 252.8K
7. Mass Effect 2 (EA, Xbox 360) 246.5K
8. Dante's Inferno: Divine Edition (EA, PS3) 242.5K
9. Dante's Inferno (EA, Xbox 360) 224.7K
10. Heavy Rain (Sony, PS3) 219.3K
Just Dance continues to look like it will be an enormous hit for Ubisoft. I actually think the game is contributing quite a bit to the Wii shortage as the female gamer market on or interested in Wii is actually rather underserved outside of the Fitness and Music genres. Bioshock 2 did very well as expected and should pass 1m units in the USA next month across X360 and PS3. EA had a good month with three of the top ten positions. New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remained enormous this month, with both games coming in at over 550,000 units. Wii Fit Plus sales, which have always appeared tied to people just purchasing a Wii, should rebound quite a bit when the Wii hardware supply normalizes. With Super Mario Galaxy 2 coming in May, you have to believe the situation will be rectified soon. The same is true for PS3 exclusives and key titles - Sony is going to want to have PS3s available when God of War 3 and Final Fantasy XIII launch.
A while ago, a Vgchartz user asked me to provide some perspective on how the systems are doing at comparable points in the USA. Here is one way to look at it - performance in twelve month consecutive periods from launch.
In Month 29-40, NPD figures have Wii at over 9.0m units sold in the USA - still higher than the twelve month PS2 peak in Month 20-31, which was 8.65m according to my research. The Wii spike in recent months is from the price cut + NSMB Wii induced huge December, and it has Wii selling 50% faster than PS2 in months 29-40 as PS2 sold 6.2m in months 29-40. With a well timed price cut, X360 may actually begin to outperform PS2 in the middle part of its life as the yellow line is very close to overtaking the light blue line. The PS3 also looks like it will have a shot overtaking X360 sales over a comparable period from launch with a well-timed price cut. One point to take away from the graphic above is that Wii has yet to fall below 5m in the USA in a 12 month period, while PS3/X360 have yet to top 5m in the USA in 12 month period.
Lifetime to date figures for the six machines stand at the following levels in the USA:
PS2 - 45.27m (it was at 22.3m in 40 months)
DS - 39.77m (64 months)
Wii - 27.98m (40 months)
X360 - 19.38m (52 months)
PSP - 17.05m (60 months)
PS3 - 11.76m (40 Months)
DS will top 40m next month for sure with the latest Pokemon title and the DSi XL if it sold 600,000+ in a "quiet month". PS3 will pass GC shipments to the Americas in a few months and X360 is going to pass N64 shipments to the Americas soon as well. PS2 looks like it will get to 46-47m in the USA before it stops selling completely.
Lastly, March should be a fascinating month as Final Fantasy XIII, God of War 3, Pokemon, DSi XL, and the Wii and PS3 shortages will likely impact consumer spending in strange ways.
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