Game Consoles – February 2011 NPD Sales Figure Analysis

It’s that time of the month again, and NPD has “released” US video game sales figures for February 2011. And I did manage to get the 2010 year in review up, which you can read here. 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 February 2011 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (February 2010 figures also shown, including percentage change):

  • Xbox 360: 535,000 (Total: 26.3 million; February 2010: 422,000 – up 26.8%)
  • Wii: 454,000  (Total: 35 million; February 2010: 397,900 – up 14.1%)
  • PS3: 403,000 (Total: 16.1 million; February 2010: 360,100 – up 11.9%)
NPD February 2011 Game Console US Sales Figures

NPD February 2011 Game Console US Sales Figures

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

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

My prediction from last month was:

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.

My brain was right, it looks like. The hardware ordering remained the same, which meant that the Xbox 360 managed to outsell the Wii yet again, with the PS3 placing last again amongst the home consoles. The battle between Bulletstorm and Killzone 3 was eventually won by Bulletstorm, although considering the former was a multi-platform release, and the latter a platform exclusive, Killzone 3 did well. And as predicted Marvel vs Capcom 3 was a new entry into the top 10, and actually the best selling new release of the month (the best selling title was actually Black Ops again).

So, looking at the stats above, February seems to have been a great month for the industry. But upon closer inspection, this doesn’t really hold true. The reason is that February 2010 was a four week reporting period, while February 2011 was a 5 week reporting period, and the extra week was mainly responsible for the “year-on-year” growth you see. Doing a bit of simple match (multiply by 4/5), the actual growth rate of the Xbox 360 becomes 1.4%, and Wii and PS3 sales actually fell 8.7% and 10.5% respectively.

But even so, the real winner again is the Xbox 360, and whichever way you look at it, it managed to have sales growth in a period when the other consoles have only managed declines. Just this past week, Microsoft touted Kinect’s performance, which has been recognized by The Guinness Book of Records as the fastest selling consumer electronic device in history, even beating the likes of the iPhone and iPad. While I’m not saying that Kinect sales are whole responsible for the Xbox 360 performance (over 10 million Kinect units have now been shipped to retailers), but there is a relationship, even if it just the indirect buzz that keeps the news positive around the console. The next round of Kinect games should be in stores soon, with the big one being that Michael Jackson game, and so Microsoft will hope the sales momentum continues.

Not doing as well is Sony’s PlayStation Move accessory, at least in comparison to Kinect. Sony are usually the quickest out of the block when it comes to releasing positive sales news, and we haven’t really hard anything in terms of sales figures since late November, so I’m assuming that it is in fact not selling anywhere as well as Kinect. And with a raft of other negative news surrounding the PS3 (jailbreak, broken firmware, LG lawsuit …), it’s not helping the console, even though it’s had the better of exclusive releases lately. And so PS3 sales lag behind both the Wii and the Xbox 360, and in fact had the biggest year-on-year drop of all the consoles, which is worrying considering Sony blamed stock shortages for last year’s numbers, and so the decline may be even bigger.

Nintendo also blamed stock issues for poor sales figures a year ago. The decline in sales actually lessened this February though, so maybe last year’s stock issues weren’t too far off the mark, because we should normally be seeing a 30%+ drop in sales, not the 8.7% drop when the figures are adjusted for the 4/5 week reporting period difference (albeit adjusted in a very simplistic and inaccurate manner). What is becoming clearer is that the Xbox 360 has taken the Wii’s crown as the best selling console in recent months, and I think it will stay this way until some kind of price drop action occurs.

Onto software news now, as mentioned earlier, Call of Duty: Black Ops managed to keep the top spot, which is another way of saying that no new game were good enough to topple the three month old game. But perhaps Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came close, I don’t know. For the console exclusives, Just Dance 2 is still selling well, which probably explains why Microsoft is so keen to promote the dance game aspect of Kinect, almost at the expense of any other type of Kinect game. Killzone 3 was the other platform exclusive that also sold well, coming in at 8th. The Wii’s Mario Sports Mix was also a platform exclusive, coming in at 10th. Here’s the full software sales chart for February:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC)
  2. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (Capcom, Xbox 360, PS3)
  3. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft, Wii)
  4. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC)
  5. Dead Space 2 (EA, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  6. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3)
  7. Bulletstorm (EA, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  8. Killzone 3 (Sony, PS3)
  9. Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft, Wii, DS, PSP)
  10. Mario Sports Mix (Nintendo, Wii)

So, prediction time. Same hardware ordering I think, with the big new releases being Pokemon Black/White, Dragon Age 2 and Homefront. Shortest prediction ever?

See you next month.


2 Responses to “Game Consoles – February 2011 NPD Sales Figure Analysis”

  1. Weekly News Roundup for the week ending 13 March 2011 | DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

    […] managed to do the whole week. This is one of those rare cases. The work in question is the monthly NPD US video game sales analysis for February 2011, which I posted yesterday. No big surprises, and the five week reporting period […]

  2. February 2012 NPD US Video Games Sales Analysis | DVDGuy’s Blog @ Digital Digest Says:

    […] so the figures for US sales in February 2012 are below, ranked in order of number of sales (February 2011 figures also shown, including percentage […]

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