Game Consoles – January 2011 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

I know I promised the 2010 year in review post, weeks ago, but rest assured, it’s still coming. I had hoped I would get around to it before the January NPD figures came out, but it looks like I waited too long! In any case, let’s get the January 2011 NPD done before worrying about 2010. Once again, there were enough leaks to present us with enough data to get January’s NPD analysis up. For those that are new to this, this analysis looks at US video games sales figures compiled by NPD.

The figures for US sales in January 2011 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (January 2010 figures also shown, including percentage change):

  • Xbox 360: 381,000 (Total: 25.8 million; January 2010: 332,800 – up 14.4%)
  • Wii: 319,000  (Total: 34.5 million; January 2010: 465,800 – down 31.5%)
  • PS3: 267,000 (Total: 15.7 million; January 2010: 276,900 – down 3.6%)
NPD January 2011 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD January 2011 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of January 2011)

NPD Game Console Total US Sales Figures (as of January 2011)

My prediction from last month was:

I loathe to make a prediction for next month, but I think the Xbox 360 will probably gain back the number one spot, and a very familiar top 10 for software as well.

And gained it back it did. In fact, the Xbox 360 even outsold the DS this month, making it the best selling video games console of any kind. It was also the only console to receive a year-on-year sales increase. The software chart does have a few new entries though, and we’ll discuss this later on as per usual.

Obviously, Microsoft are very pleased with the sales result for the first month of 2011, and it bodes well for the console for the rest of the year. With a 14.5% year-on-year increase, it shows that the console is more than just “the one with the least number of lost sales”, and that the Xbox 360′s market share is actually growing. And this has to be largely thanks to Kinect, as there are simply no other explanations for it (the sales bump from the “Slim” should have dissipated by now, and there hasn’t been any recent price cuts either). Of course, Black Ops may be responsible for some of the sales, but Modern Warfare 2 would have been equally responsible for sales this time last year, and so it can be ruled out as a factor for the sales increase. And with strong software sales (combine revenue on the Xbox 360 makes it the top selling platform once again, in the US).

The Wii continues its 30%+ year-on-year decline, which is alarming because the sales decrease does not seem to have slowed compared to the same time last year (January 2010 was down 31% as well compared to January 2009). The rapid and steady decline should encourage Nintendo to consider bringing out the Wii 2 sooner than what they had planned before. It’s still doing relatively okay in terms of software sales, with Just Dance 2 doing enough to actually earn 2nd place in the combined-platforms top 10 (which is difficult to achieve for a single-platform release like Just Dance 2). But even this is slightly alarming, in that for dancing games, the Kinect will most likely offer the better experience in the future (the Michael Jackson Kinect Experience game should tell us whether this theory is true or not). The Wii is a Xbox 360/Kinect price cut away from being totally wiped out, in my opinion, as price is really the only reason why it continues to outsell at least the PS3.

Speaking of the PS3, the recent PS3 hacking issue could be a distraction Sony can do without, because once again, its flagship console came last place in the home console charts (not counting the PS2, which it appears, nobody is counting any more, certainly not the NPD). But on the software front, there are at least a couple of bright spots, Little Big Planet 2 and the console exclusive DC Universe Online.  But instead of bridging the gap between it and the Xbox 360, the gap is actually getting wider, although Sony is definitely doing better in worldwide sales numbers (but the Xbox 360 is showing signs of improvement there as well). It doesn’t exactly help that the PS3 is still the most expensive console around, and even though some of the extra price is justified due to the Blu-ray playback functionality, which has just recently been upgraded for Blu-ray 3D, the ever decreasing cost of standalone players means that it’s becoming harder and harder to justify the PS3′s price premium. At the very least, Sony should be looking for price parity between its console and the Xbox 360.

In software, the top 10 does have a few titles from last month, but there are also a couple of new entries, the most notable being Dead Space 2, Little Big Planet 2, Dance Central and DC Universe Online. Three of these titles were platform exclusive (for consoles anyway), with two of them belong to the PS3. Which is why Sony can’t be too unhappy with the results. The other platform exclusive was Dance Central, a Kinect title, and this is the first Kinect title I think to make it into the top 10 “all-platforms” chart, which is hard for a platform exclusive, and Dance Central is more than just a platform exclusive, since it also requires an optional add-on accessory (if 20% of Xbox 360 owners have Kinect, and the Xbox 360 accounts for 34% of the console market, then it means only 7% of gamers could actually play Dance Central, and that’s not even including PC and portable console gamers). The leaks have also resulted in some actual numbers for software sales, with Black Ops selling 750,000 copies, Dead Space 2 selling 441,000, and Zumba Fitness selling “over 300,000″ units. Anyway, here’s the full software sales chart for January:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS)
  2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft, Wii)
  3. Dead Space 2 (EA, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  4. Little Big Planet 2 (Sony, PS3)
  5. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3)
  6. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP,PC)
  7. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft, Xbox 360, PS3)
  8. Dance Central (MTV, Xbox 360)
  9. Michael Jackson: The Experience (Ubisoft, Wii, DS, PSP)
  10. DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony, PS3, PC)

So, prediction time. My brain tells me the hardware ordering will be the same, but my heart tells me there could be some surprises. A resurgence for the Wii? Xbox 360 suffering a sales slump after the holidays? PS3 sales up thanks to Killzone 3? Speaking of Killzone 3, it is one of *the* titles for February, while Bulletstorm seems to be selling well right now, along with Marvel vs Capcom 3. And the recent hits will be in the top 10 too.

As for the 2010 review, I will aim to get it up during the week, but again, it’s a busy week for me so I can’t guarantee anything. Actually, I’ve already got all the graphs done and the conclusion is already pretty clear, so it may just be a very short analysis since there’s not a lot of data to play with, especially during the last few months of 2010.

See you soon.

 


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