Game Consoles – January 2010 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

The first figures from 2010 are out. December 2009 was a monster month for hardware sales, for the Nintendo consoles in particular. January usually means a considerable drop as the holiday sales period ends. But unlike most January’s, this one is harder to predict as we have the economy, the PS3 surge, the potential decline of the Xbox 360 and the usual stock shortage problems to contend with. The figures are from NPD, a marketing research firm that releases games console sale data every month.

The figures for US sales in January 2010 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (January 2009 figures also shown, including percentage change):

  • Wii: 465,800 (Total: 27.6 million; January 2009: 679,200 – down 31%)
  • DS: 422,200 (Total: 39.9 million; January 2009: 510,800 – down 17%)
  • Xbox 360: 332,800 (Total: 19 million; January 2009: 309,000 – up 8%)
  • PS3: 276,900 (Total: 11.4 million; January 2009: 203,000 – up 36%)
  • PSP: 100,100 (Total: 17 million; January 2009: 172,300 – down 42%)
  • PS2: 41,600 (Total: 45.3 million; January 2009: 101,200 – down 59%)
NPD January 2010 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD January 2010 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of January 2010)

NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of January 2010)

My prediction from last month was:

January should see huge sales drop across the board, but that’s just a seasonal thing. And as such, it’s very hard to predict the order of things, although I believe the hardware sales ordering will remain the same. On the software front, January will be largely quiet, Mass Effect 2 on the Xbox 360 should do well, and the rest of the top 10 should have a familiar look to December’s. There are some big releases coming in February and March, so consumers can take a breather in January (and save up).

January’s figures are a mixed bag really. While the ordering was largely the same, the only difference being the Xbox 360 and the PS3 swapping places, there were larger than expected drops for all the consoles. On the software front, Mass Effect 2 on the Xbox 360 did indeed do well, being a console exclusive, and the top 10 had a familiar look, although still room to add in a few new entries.

Compared to January a year ago, only the Xbox 360 and the PS3 managed sales growth. This the second January in a row that the Xbox 360 managed growth, and that’s probably largely thanks to Mass Effects 2. Last January, the PS3 actually recorded a sales drop compared to January 2008, but this January, the PS3 showed the most positive growth. But this has to be taken into context, as the PS3 was doing extremely poorly back in January a year go – take this into account, the PS3 only grew by a paltry 3% between the two January’s of 2008 and 2010 (and for the same comparison, Xbox 360 sales grew by 45%). Sony has said that stock issues were partly responsible, or will be in February at least. Whether that’s true, or it just signals the Slim/price cut led surge in sales is dissipating, we’ll have to wait until March and April’s stats come out to confirm. The Xbox 360 showed growth largely thanks to Mass Effect 2 one would guess, and sales are being kept above the PS3 thanks to strong software sales (including Modern Warfare 2) in two of the last three months.

Looking at the negatives, and there were a lot of them, the Wii continues on with its 30+% month to month drop in sales after taking a break in December. The DS also saw a drop of 17% compared to January 2009. While the PS3 managed growth, the other PlayStation consoles saw massive drops, with the PS2 dropping below 100,000 units sold for the first time since I’ve started recording figures (since September 2007). The PSP was only 100 units away from having this unwanted distinction as well. Both of these platforms are dying a slow death, the PS2 understandably (although Sony would have wanted more PS2 owners to upgrade straight to the PS3 than what is evident), but it’s the PSP that must be worrying for Sony, especially compared to the DS. And as mentioned in the 2009 year in review, the revenue increase from the PS3 doesn’t come anywhere near the revenue drop from these two consoles.

Lets move onto software. As expected, Mass Effect 2 did well, but not enough to unseat New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii, which held on to the top spot. All the usual Wii titles are in there, with only Wii Play missing out on a top 10 spot. Modern Warfare 2 is still selling relatively strong, both console versions are represented in the top 10, with the lower placed one the only PS3 title in the top 10 once again. The Xbox 360 had two more titles, making it a total of four – Army of Two: The 40th Day and Darksiders made the list at 8th and 10th. There was also a non Nintendo Wii title in the top 10 as well, with Ubisoft’s Just Dance sneaking in at 9th. The Wii needs more titles like this to be hitting the top 10 to remain viable in the long term.

Here’s the complete list of the top 10 software sales:

  1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii, Nintendo) – 656,700
  2. Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, EA) – 572,100
  3. Wii Fit Plus (Wii, Nintendo) – 555,700
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360, Activision) – 326,700
  5. Mario Kart w/ Wheel (Wii, Nintendo) – 310,900
  6. Wii Sports Resort (Wii, Nintendo) – 297,600
  7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3, Activision) – 259,000
  8. Army of Two: The 40th Day (Xbox 360, EA) – 246,500
  9. Just Dance (Wii, Ubisoft) – 191,900
  10. Darksiders (Xbox 360, THQ) – 171,200

Prediction time. There are some big titles being released in February, several that will help the PS3 more than the Xbox 360, including the platform exclusive Heavy Rain, and while it’s no longer exclusive, Final Fantasy XIII should have a bigger following on the PlayStation platform than on the 360. As a result, I expect the PS3 to outsell the Xbox 360 at the very least and maybe make a run on the Wii. BioShock 2 should do well on the Xbox 360, but the usual Nintendo Wii titles should also be in the top 10.

See you next month.


One Response to “Game Consoles – January 2010 NPD Sales Figure Analysis”

  1. Weekly News Roundup (21 February 2010) | DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

    […] was timely, since it allows me to pad this WNR with a few more words than otherwise about the analysis. With stats now available spanning a two year period, it was interesting to compared January of […]

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