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US video game sales, March 2008

I mentioned NPD's data for video game sales in Short Takes this morning, but I wanted to piece together something a little more comprehensive. This required me to scan a number of news story about the data, as none of them supplied all of it. Here's what I came up with.

The market
NPD's data covers the US market only.

The comparisons
As always, growth comparisons are year-over-year (i.e. with March 2007 in this case).

Total sales
The video game industry generated $1.7 billion in revenues, up 57 percent.

Hardware sales
Overall, hardware sales grew 46 percent, to $377.9 million, from $551.3 million. Note that game accessories accounted for $220 million, up 58 percent.

Top selling video game hardware
1. Nintendo Wii - 721,000 units (Biggest non-holiday Wii sales month yet)
2. Nintendo DS - 698,000 units
3. Sony PSP - 297,000 units
4. Microsoft Xbox 360 - 262,000 units
5. Sony PlayStation 3 - 257,000 units (Double the number from a year earlier)
6. Sony PlayStation 2 - 216,000 units

Top selling video game accessories
1. Xbox Live points and subscription cards
2. PlayStation 3 wireless controller

Software sales
Overall, video game software sales grew 63 percent to $945.6 million.

Top selling video game titles
1. Super Smash Bros: Brawl (Wii) - 2.7 million units
2. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (Xbox 360) - 752,300 units
3. Army of Two (Xbox 360) - 606,100 units
4. Wii Play (Wii) - 409,000 units
5. God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP) - 301,600 units
6. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) - 264,000 units
7. MLB 2K8 (Xbox 360) - 237,100 units
8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360) - 237,000 units
9. Army of Two (PS3) - 224,900 units

People who should know better
MarketWatch actually compared Wii sales in March to those in February, which is a no-no: Comparing month over month sales is pointless and confusing. (But they "surged" by more than 65 percent if you're curious.)

A few meaningful statistics
One meaningful statistic, however, is how well the Wii is doing: Its 721,000 in unit sales in March was more than the sales of the Xbox 360 and PS3 combined. Take that, Microsoft and Sony.

Nintendo controlled 58 percent of the game hardware market in March.

PS3 software sales are up 139 percent year over year. That said, only a single PS3 title made the top 10, so PS3 software sales were obviously pretty dire a year ago.

The Sony PlayStation 2 is no longer outselling its current-generation cousins.

The Xbox 360's software title attach rate was 7.5, the highest-ever for the industry.

The Nintendo DS has now sold over 19 million units in the US since its November 2004 launch.

Looking ahead
While I'm not sure any of the above numbers have any particular meaning, I would point out two events that should keep video game sales going strong for the next month or so. First, Grand Theft Auto is shipping for multiple platforms in late April and should be one of the best-selling games of the year. Also, PS3 users can look forward to Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and Metal Gear Solid 4.

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