Video Games retail / e-tail sales in U.S. March 2013
Analysis from NPD industry analyst, Liam Callahan
These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50 percent of the total consumer spend on games. When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in March such as used and rentals at $190 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $670 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in March to be just under $1.9 billion. Our final assessment of the consumer spend in these areas outside of new physical retail sales will be reported in May in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report.
Due to growth in software and accessory spending, overall retail video game trends category unit sales were up 1% in March 2013.
NPD Group's U.S. Games Industry Sales (New Physical Sales Channel*) - March 2013
5-week month; Reporting Period 3/3/13 through 4/6/13
March 2013 saw deep declines of 32% in dollar spending for dedicated video game hardware, with stronger declines for portable hardware than for consoles. However, sales for the Nintendo 3DS grew 9% over last March.
In March 2013, the Xbox 360 had the highest hardware unit sales for the 20th month in a row.
Software sales across consoles, portables, and the PC were up 2% in March 2013, which is the first month since November 2011 where retail spending on entertainment software experienced positive growth.
The performance of new launches was a major driver of the overall software growth for this month, with games launching in March 2013 selling over 40% more units than new launches in March 2012. There were positive trends for new launches that were seen across consoles, portables, and PC.
There were actually fewer new launches - about 20% less new games - than last March, but March 2013 launches generated close to 70% more dollar sales per SKU than last year.
High-definition (HD) consoles experienced a 12% growth in unit sales over March 2013.
With solid performances of new games like Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, 3DS software sales increased over 50% from last March.
Eight out of the top ten games were new launches, which was the first March where there were that many launches in the top 10.
Based on the launch of BioShock Infinite and continued strength of NBA 2K13, software sales for Take 2 Interactive were the highest for any March since The NPD Group began tracking retail sales (1995).
Two strong launches for the month included Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite, which were the highest first month sales for games in these franchises.
While accessory spending was flat in dollar sales, continued strength of Skylanders, point cards, and headsets/ headphones resulted in a 15% growth in unit sales for March 2013 over March 2012.