NPD January 09: Xbox 360 Sales Surge, PS3 Sales Slump

Roll out the barrel and raise a couple flags for January 2009's video game sales, which pulled off a 13 percent revenue increase over the same period a year prior.

"Even in these tough economic times...[the] increase in revenue...speaks to the continued strength of video games as one of the leading entertainment industries in the U.S.," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

Who's to blame for all that post-holiday revenue? "New consumers," suggests NPD.

"At this point in the console lifecycle, we would expect to see a greater percentage of total industry sales generated by software sales, but the continued strength in hardware sales is changing that scenario a bit," said Frazier, adding that the uptrend in hardware sales uptrend will have long term positive ramifications due to user base expansion.

It wasn't all celebratory bells and whistles, however. While the Xbox 360 (309k) raised its hardware profile by 33 percent over January 2008 (207k), both PlayStation 3 (203k) and PSP (172k) sales were down by 25 percent compared with January 2008's numbers (269k and 230k, respectively).

The PS2 unsurprisingly experienced the sharpest drop, falling nearly 62 points year-over-year to 101k units.

Hardware

679k - Wii511k - Nintendo DS309k - Xbox 360203k - PlayStation 3172k - PSP101k - PlayStation 2

Software sales rose an impressive 10 points over January 2008, says Frazier, "indicating that continued strong hardware sales are not occurring at the expense of software sales."

Frazier notes that only two of the top 10 games in January 2009 were new releases, reasoning that "the continued strength of games that have been in the market for some time clues us into just how many new consumers are coming into the industry.

Frazier concludes that "this broadening of the audience for gaming will help buoy the industry through these tough economic times, provided they have enough compelling content to keep them interested."

Software

777k - Wii Fit (Wii)415k - Wii Play (Wii)292k - Mario Kart (Wii)243k - Left 4 Dead (360)235k - Call of Duty: World at War (360)199k - Skate 2 (360)155k - Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii)135k - New Super Mario Bros (NDS)132k - Mario Kart (NDS)113k - Lord of the Rings: Conquest (360)

Matt Peckham can't find enough time to play all this stuff. You can remind him of all he's missing at twitter.com/game_on.

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