NPD Totals USA Video Game Sales for February 2010

by Jacob Mazel, posted on 11 March 2010 / 3,821 Views

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.


Feb-09 Feb-10     
Change
Wii  753,000 397,900 -47%
X360 391,000 422,000 8%
PS3 276,000 360,100 30%
DS 588,000 613,200 4%
PSP 199,000 133,400 -33%
PS2 131,000 101,900 -22%

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.

Performance in Consecutive 12 Month Periods

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.

Contact Vgchartz at jmazel@vgchartz.com


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36 Comments

4k1x3r (on 13 March 2010)

@TheSource -> oh ok, thanks for the explanation, didn't see it this way, sorry.


OoSnap (on 12 March 2010)

Wow, Vgchartz totally overtracked the Wii for feb. in America. Vgchartz has it around 600,000. NPD has it at near 400,000


abcdario (on 12 March 2010)

Nice to see the competition is still alive, i just hope they keep fighting the Nintendomination so we, as gamers, can enjoy the best of them.


TheSource (on 12 March 2010)

4k1x3r - Our figures are meant to be for all of the Americas. So, USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and everything else. The issue is there is no "North + South America" flag like there is for the European Union. Beyond that, VGC data is also through week one of March while the NPD data above is through Feb 27. Our figures scaled for the USA are also a bit different than NPD, because you know, we aren't NPD.


Kai Master (on 12 March 2010)

nice chart, the most amazing curve is the 360 one, it hasn't yet peaked!


4k1x3r (on 12 March 2010)

X360 - 19.38m (52 months) PS3 - 11.76m (40 Months) If those are the lifetime figures ftm, then where are the figures on the main pages of VGChartz for X360 and PS3 in USA coming from?


Siko1989 (on 12 March 2010)

kingofwale says: Why do people automatically go for the "Wii shortage" excuse? because there is? sorry theirs no excuse lol... even the ps3 is having shortages


TheSource (on 12 March 2010)

King, the best evidence is the platforms that didn't have any big games, like PS2, PSP, and DS - all went up in February...but Wii didn't. A rising tide lifts all boats - but Wii didn't go up. In Jan to Feb 2009, everything was up - even Wii.


blunty51 (on 12 March 2010)

Don't they have FFXIII bundles to thank for this?


Kenology (on 12 March 2010)

@ kingofwale: Because it was confirmed that Wii has supply constraints. I know this is a disappointment for you, but here's the link: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/27641/NPD_February_Down_15_Percent_On_Lagging_Unit_Sales_Constrained_Wii.php


XanderZane (on 12 March 2010)

Apollian says: Xbox 360 still, and will always be the number one HD console. the quality of games is so high, and the hits keep on coming. ************************************************ I think the XBox 360 still has the most high quality HD games on the market, but the PS3 is catching up. We can't deny great games like Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, Infamous and MLB 10: The Show. I still think Microsoft needs to either open or acquire a few more 1st party studios to make exclusives for the XBox 360. They did a better job at this with the original XBox. As for the NPD sales, it's good to see the increases, even though the economy is still is poor shape. It'll be interesting to see what Nintendo does to fix their shortages and increase their Wii sales again. Microsoft is already working on a new XBox of some kind, but will they announce something at the E3, or will this piece of hardware be for next year?


GamesNbaseball (on 12 March 2010)

There definitely is no shortage of great games coming out for the Wii. From March 1st to July 1st there are a ton of high quality games to release. Mega Man 10, Monster Hunter Tri, Fragile, Red Steel 2 (which should be greatly improved over the first), Trauma Team, Sin and Punishment 2. Then on top of that there are two blockbuster titles. Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M. I just wish i had money for all of them.


kingofwale (on 12 March 2010)

Why do people automatically go for the "Wii shortage" excuse? How about "no game since last year"??? The same problem already caught up with PSP, why not Wii?


heruamon (on 12 March 2010)

There are some 360 shortages in my area...


Arm (on 12 March 2010)

the wii shortage in My city is a serious issue. Can't even find Just danse. normally the wii has the same if not higher numbers than the DS and it's been reported by many tracking firm that there is a shortage issue. I know Nintendo commented on the shortage but is there any action to be taken. I know a lot of people that are waiting for MH3 to buy the system also, can they find one when the game hits!!!


XiaoMay (on 12 March 2010)

Apollian : lol


Apollian (on 12 March 2010)

Xbox 360 still, and will always be the number one HD console. the quality of games is so high, and the hits keep on coming.


papflesje (on 12 March 2010)

@ kowen: I've seen you doubt those supply constraints basically every time they come up. Any basis for it, or just guessing?


DEATH775 (on 12 March 2010)

PS3 could be third in March.


haxxiy (on 12 March 2010)

Wii could be third in March for the first time ever.


kowenicki (on 12 March 2010)

We shall see in March/April..... but I doubt the reported level of supply constraints would have made a huge difference.... Its not like it was in early 2008 for instance. Or is it?


Demotruk (on 12 March 2010)

Thanks for posting that chart I asked about. I'm surprised the possibility of NPD making corrections hasn't been raised, but fair enough if that's not appropriate for an article. There's more than just the Wii numbers being out of whack, PS2 and DS numbers are very strangely high. December related corrections could explain all these.


markers (on 12 March 2010)

PS3 did 360 numbers! lol I am funny /bow


CharmedontheWB (on 12 March 2010)

TheSource, I love your analysis. I may not agree completely with the figures--I think the DS may be viable beyond 2012. Your speculation is backed by actual sales evidence and trends which is quite refreshing to see. So sick of the constant fanboy b/s and pretend analysts.


heruamon (on 12 March 2010)

WHOA...did anybody expect this?


Tyrannical (on 12 March 2010)

"third parties are supporting Wii with good content through" That made me laugh :)


TheSource (on 11 March 2010)

All the systems will have long lifespans. Wii is heading for at least GBA numbers in the USA (40m+) and 45m-55m may be possible given how the thing is tracking, and GBA was still doing decent figures in 2007 even with nothing relevant released after 2004/2005. Nintendo and third parties are supporting Wii with good content through at least 2010, so it isn't drying up until after 2012, by which point the base will be over 40m, at least. NES had a handful of big projects through 1991, and its software market didn't really collapse until 1993 - and that is on a 35m base. Wii is going to be at 35m within a year. PS3 / X360 are heading to maybe 22m and 32m in the USA market - and those kind of software markets have historically lasted for five to seven years and six to eight years respectively. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Wii software was still releasing in 2014-2015, and X360/PS3 software was still releasing in 2012-2013. DS and PSP also look like they will have long lives. Relevant DS software will continue through at least 2010, and it has already had five full years of big releases. Should be a viable market from 2004-2012 which is pretty good. PSP has seen better days, but the software market is still fairly viable, so I'd call it 2005-2011 as a relevant market for software.


loves2splooge (on 11 March 2010)

I was about to say that this may be a sign of the Wii hitting saturation at the $200 price point. But if they had shortages, that would explain the drop. There's still strength in the Wii at $200. I do see Wii and 360 demand leveling off with PS3 demand surpassing them (week to week, all-time it will finish last in North America and likely 2nd worldwide unless NATAL turns out to be the game changer) seeing as how the first two are more saturated while the PS3 has been rejuvenated with the price cut and redesign. The average gamer from what I've seen through personal observation in real life, is starting to really warm up to the PS3. The perception is that the PS3 is more reliable (even if the newer 360 models are reliable, the RRoD-prone nature of the early models really hurt their reputation), more of a lifestyle product that fits better with your home entertainment system (which is fair enough. It's hard for a console with a 6 pound power brick to seem sleek. And the PS3 does look more like a lifestyle product that blends in well with a home entertainment system in my opinion) and it offers more value for money (you can watch Blu-Ray videos and you can play online for free). And the Blue Ocean is going to dry up for the Wii eventually. Obviously Nintendo is going to win the sales war no matter what happens from now but I think the PS3 will have more longevity in the market (blu-ray lovers who also like games and gamers who also like blu-ray will buy it now that it's at a more affordable price).


Danterandal19 (on 11 March 2010)

Wait, so Bioshock 2 for PS3 didn't make the top ten? It didn't even sell half as many copies as the 360 version? Wow, I'm shocked. Usually with simultaneous blockbuster releases like this, even if the lead platform is the 360, the PS3 would normally have comparable sales figures (with the exception of "Modern Warfare 2" of course).


elvisbin (on 11 March 2010)

I hope Wii will be beaten once Natal and PSMove come out. And VGC undertracked X360,PS3 while greatly overtracked Wii. Undertracked Heavy Rain also.


ph4nt (on 11 March 2010)

Wii shortages haven't been this bad since 2008.


TheSource (on 11 March 2010)

Well, Wii has been close to PS3 & X360 before - the thing is Nintendo has always been able to separate Wii from its rivals. If Wii was supply constrained, we're going to see at least one more month of Wii handily beating PS3/X360 as there will be a correction upwards in demand with more supply.


CChaos (on 11 March 2010)

I figure it was bound to happen. The Wii was eventually going to level out with the other two, while the 360 and PS3 continue to rise because of the sweet games coming out for both systems. Obviously it's still a contender, but the trio might be closer now on the weekly totals.


FreeTalkLive (on 11 March 2010)

Go Wii! Oh, wait, um, go DS!


atma998 (on 11 March 2010)

The Wii shortage was it this big?


NicholasCage (on 11 March 2010)

220k for Heavy Rain, very nice. What happend to the Wii damn... outsold by the 360.