NPD data for the four weeks ending April 30 has arrived. It was a strong month for the industry overall, as hardware, software, and accessories all outperformed April 2010 pacing.
Hardware sales for the month are still coming in, but X360 sales grew 60% year over year to 297,000 units, and PS3 sales grew 13% to 204,000 units according to Microsoft and Sony press-releases. Each figure does represent a drop off on a weekly basis from March 2011 though, from 87,000 per week to 74,000 per week for X360, and from about 72,000 per week to 51,000 per week for Sony. According to CNBC's Chris Morris, 3DS sold less than 200,000 units in April, or under 50,000 units per week, after selling 398,000 units in a week during March. DS outsold 3DS for the month according to NPD. Wii figures also dropped off by about 15,000 units per week from March to April.
Update: Enough figures have come out from NPD's April report that we know what is going on pretty safely now.
The chart above reflects the hard Wii (note: the chart should read 172,000 for Wii, not 174,000) and 3DS numbers that have come in recently. Wii was not immune to the large weekly drop offs most hardware suffered - the system fell from 58,000 per week during March to 43,500 per week in April. Since Wii launched in 2006, this is the first time that the system has averaged sales below 50,000 per week over an entire month. Somewhat disturbingly, 3DS dropped 50,000 per week in its second month on the market. I've estimated PSP hardware at 100,000, which would be down at a comparable rate to other drops for the month. If DS is in the middle of the known range, hardware sales were down 1m units from last month, but up 30,000 units from last April.
As of April 2011, the DS base stands at 49m-49.1m units in the USA, with the PS2 at 45.9m -46.0m units. Wii is at 35.43m in the USA, X360 is at27.04m, PSP is at 18.90m, PS3 is at 16.69m, and 3DS is at 0.59m units. Based on my records, even with the 3DS launch in March, hardware sales in January to April 2011 are tracking below the comparable period in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 - so the year is off to a fairly lousy start for hardware, in much the same way that Japan has been to date. Figures should improve somewhat next month as the Wii will lift on its May 15th price cut.
Nintendo may be aiming to stabilize Wii at 6m or 6.5m units in the USA over a 12 month period, as the system has dropped below the X360 pace in the USA in recent weeks.
Even so, selling over 6m systems in the USA in a single year is still a pretty good pace. Given how long X360 and Wii have been on the market, the rate at which they continue to outpace PS2 over the comparable time frame is fairly astounding. PS3 continues to trend below the PS2 pace, but if Sony can keep demand fairly strong over the next two years PS3 will have a shot at outpacing the PS2 late in its life too. Overall, Wii is 20 months ahead of the PS2 pace in the USA to date, with X360 steadily catching up and PS2 continuing to fall further behind.
NPD reported that the following titles were the biggest hits of April 2011 in the USA market (including PC, but excluding digital). The platform listing does not indicate where titles sold the most units.
01. Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3, 360)** Warner Bros. Interactive - About 900,000 (over 1m with special editions)
02. Portal 2 (360, PS3, PC) Electronic Arts
03. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, NDS, 360, 3DS, PS3, PC) LucasArts
04. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC) Activision Blizzard
05. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters (360, PS3, Wii) Electronic Arts
06. Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC) Electronic Arts - 236,000
07. Just Dance 2 (Wii) Ubisoft - about 225,000
08. Michael Jackson The Experience (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, PSP) Ubisoft - about 215,000
09. Pokemon White Version (NDS) Nintendo - about 205,000
10. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC) Take 2 Interactive - 190,000
NPD's Anita Frazier also noted that "Games that would appear in the top ten ranking on a SKU basis for April include "NDS POKEMON BLACK VERSION," and SOCOM 4: U.S. NAVY SEALS." If sales of the SOCOM Move accessory bundle were combined with software sales, this game would have ranked in the top ten titles as well."
More information will be updated as it arrives.
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