Anyone wondering just how popular Nintendo is these days needs only to read the numbers. According to videogame tracking firm the NPD Group, total sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories in the U.S. in April generated $838.6 million in sales. That’s up 20 percent over last April. Overall game sales year-to-date through April are up 20 percent to $4.2 billion.
Videogame hardware units increased 52 percent in April (versus a 10 percent decline last year). Total hardware sales for the month were $338.4 million split between console hardware ($239.4 million) and portable hardware ($99 million). Sales were driven by ongoing strength in Nintendo DS (up 241 percent year-over-year) and Wii (up 39 percent from March to April).
Nintendo DS topped all sales in April with 471,000 units sold, followed closely by Nintendo’s Wii with 360,000 units sold. Sony sold 194,000 PlayStation 2s (down 6 percent) and 183,000 PSPs (up 13 percent with the $30 price drop). Microsoft Xbox 360 sales were down 41 percent compared to last year with 174,000 units sold. Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance sales beat out PlayStation 3 with sales of 84,000 compared to just 82,385 PlayStation 3s despite well-stocked supplies. Nintendo sold 13,000 GameCubes, which are being phased out of production.
Nintendo is dominating both the console and portable markets. This is especially amazing with Wii, which has been sold out universally but was still purchased by twice as many consumers as competing consoles that are sitting on store shelves.
The current U.S. installed base of hardware through April is 5.4 million Xbox 360s, 2.5 million Wiis, and 1.3 million PlayStation 3s. On the portable from there are 10.9 million Nintendo DS systems and 7.4 million PSPs in homes. The sale of game accessories was up 37 percent over last year, raking in $110.4 million for April.
The sale of videogame software actually fell 1 percent in April (versus a 16 percent growth last April), generating $389.8 million compared to last year’s $395 million.
Console software sales were down 19 percent to $248.3 million for the month, while portable software was up 61 percent to $141.5 million. Year-to-date software sales are up 23 percent through April of this year.
Xbox 360 software fell 5 percent year-over-year and PS2 games sales were down 49 percent. Wii software sales were over $57.0 million for the month with PS3 sales reaching $23.9 million. PSP software fell 17 percent, and Game Boy Advance software dropped 57 percent.
Nintendo DS game sales grew 340 percent thanks to the sales of 1.045 million Pokemon Diamond and 712,000 Pokemon Pearl in just 14 days at retail. Other top game sales for April included: Super Paper Mario (Wii, 352,000), Wii Play with Remote (Wii, 249,000), Guitar Hero II with guitar (Xbox 360, 197,000), Guitar Hero II with guitar (PS2, 142,000), Spider-Man 3 (Xbox 360, 117,000), Spider-Man 3 (PS2, 105,000), God of War II (PS2, 101,000) and MLB ’07: The Show (PS2, 79,000).
“A strong release schedule from Nintendo was a dominant force in April software sales with releases of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl versions as well as Super Paper Mario, taking almost 20 percent of dollar share for the month,” said Ben Schachter, videogame analyst, UBS Investment Research. “Total Nintendo share of the software market was 32 percent and the company had the top three highest selling games.”
Schachter said it’s likely to be a good summer for movie games as Spider-Man 3 topped the April sales charts on two platforms despite only being available for a few days that month.
Activision’s acquisition of the Guitar Hero franchise is paying off for the company. Activision’s game sales were up 174 percent year-over-year thanks to brisk sales of both Xbox 360 and PS2 guitars and games. In addition to Spider-Man 3, strong sales of Call of Duty 3, Rapala Trophies, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and Tony Hawk Project 8 helped the company.
THQ sales were down 28 percent, which was about even with last April’s 29 percent decline. Because the company did not ship any new games in April, its top games were
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, Saints Row, Pays and Claws Pet Vet, Tetris Revolution, and Zoo Tycoon.
Industry giant Electronic Arts saw its sales drop 44 percent in April (versus an increase
of 44 percent last year). EA did not ship any new games in April, but had strong sales of Medal of Honor Vanguard, and Tiger Woods 07 for Wii. Sales of Def Jam Icon and NBA Street Homecourt dropped off significantly from March, down 89 percent and 72 percent,
respectively, but made a meaningful contribution to revenues while Fight Night Round 3 and FIFA 07 also continued to post solid sales.
Another company with no new games for April, Take-Two saw a 54 percent drop in sales (versus an increase of 36 percent last year). The March release of Major League Baseball 2K7 accounted for about 33 percent of sales in April across three platforms. The baseball title made the Top 10 list for the month and accounted for 1 percent of the overall industry share. Other games that drove revenue were: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, GTA: San Andreas, and NBA 2k7.