Xbox continues to reign amidst weak video game market

Microsoft's video console is still one of the only bright spots in a market where sales keep sinking, according to NPD Group.

Microsoft

The Xbox 360 scored its 15th month in a row as the top-selling gaming console, NPD reported yesterday.

With a 42 percent chunk of all console sales, Microsoft sold 371,000 Xbox 360 units last month. Total spending on Xbox hardware, software, and accessories hit $430 million, more than was spent on Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii combined.

Among the top 10 games last month, five of them were Xbox titles: Mass Effect 3, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, NBA 2K12, SSX, and Major League Baseball 2K12.

As usual, the rest of the video game industry was down in the dumps. Sales of consoles and other hardware touched $323.5 million, a 35 percent drop from March 2011.

"Hardware really slowed down this month and all systems saw a unit sales decline versus last March, and on an average sales per week basis, versus February 2012," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. "That said, the high definition console systems fared better than many other hardware platforms."

Sales of gaming software fell by 25 percent to $553.1 million year over year, though one title proved especially popular. As the top seller last month, newly released Mass Effect 3 sold twice as many copies as did Mass Effect 2 during its debut month in January 2010.

Video game accessory sales declined by 8 percent to $222.5 million year over year. The industry actually sold more physical accessories than a year ago, but sales were down as a result of a drop in the average selling price.

Total gaming sales (hardware, software, and accessories) dived by 25 percent to $1.1 billion from $1.47 billion in March 2011. But the weak results didn't surprise NPD.

"While it was a disappointing month, and first quarter, for new physical retail sales of video games hardware, software and accessories, it wasn't entirely unexpected given guidance we've seen from several sources," Frazier noted.

 

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