Total Videogame Sales In U.S. Down 32% In April [Update]

By Ishaan . May 10, 2012 . 4:01pm

Total videogame sales fell 32% year-over-year this past April, according to a report by the NPD Group. Software sales fell by 42%, while hardware sales dropped by 32%. Total sales for the month were $630.4 million. Counting other channels of revenue, such as used game sales, rentals, subscriptions and social games, total consumer spend was $1 billion.


The NPD Group’s Anita Frazier chalks up the drop in sales partly to Easter falling very early in April, which means most Easter-related purchases—which typically add 10% in sales—took place in March. Also to blame was a lack of high-profile new releases as compared to April of last year.


The top ten best-selling games in April were as follows:


Rank Title System Publisher
01. Prototype 2 PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard
02. Kinect Star Wars 360 Lucasarts
03. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PS3, 360, Wii, PC Activision Blizzard
04. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 PS3, 360 Electronic Arts
05. NBA 2K12 PS3, 360, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2 Ubisoft
06. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings 360, PC Warner Bros.
07. Mario Party 9 Wii Nintendo
08. Mass Effect 3 PS3, 360, PC Electronic Arts
09. Just Dance 3 PS3, 360, Wii Ubisoft
10. MLB 12: The Show PS3, Vita Sony


Frazier also noted that, while it wasn’t present in the top-ten, Nintendo’s Kid Icarus: Uprising would have made the top-ten list, were it not for the fact that all console versions of individual games are now listed as a single, combined entry.


Update: In case you’re wondering how Xenoblade Chronicles did, it isn’t included in NPD’s report on account of being a retailer-exclusive game, only available through GameStop and Nintendo. Thanks to reader, kylehyde, for pointing this out!

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  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    This has to be awkward for that analyst that said xenoblade chronicles would be a top selling title. I kind of wish JRPGS would chart as we need more of them for increasing the diversity and richness of software here in the states. PSV software lacking is alarming.

    • Who in god’s name said that? O_o Xenoblade didn’t have a chance, hahahaha.

      • According to that analyst, Xenoblade made THIRD place, and Kinect Star Wars didn’t even make the list. Strange, I’ve heard of Xenoblade actually flying off shelves, but I honestly didn’t think that Star Wars would do THAT well…

        • It was shop exclusive, so it can’t be included in the NPD report.

        • I don’t know who in their right mind would ever have suggested Kinect Star Wars wouldn’t do at least reasonably well… I mean, yeah, it’s not selling a gazillion units, but the appeal, especially for kids, is obvious.

          Xenoblade is a much harder scenario to work out, though. And as @kylehyde:disqus linked to above, apparently it isn’t being included in the report on account of being a retail exclusive. Maybe it did OK. 

  • Ereek

    Small correction: The Witcher 2 isn’t on PS3 (yet).

    I’m surprised Kinect Star Wars did that well.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be.

    • Oops, my bad. Fixed, thanks!

  • Letiumtide

    I never got video games for Easter, it was always socks, family and an awesome dinner. Also chocolate, but not video games. Mind you, my birthday is in April, so it never mattered much to me that we never got games, not every Holiday needs to equal games.

  • TheCynicalReaper

    Hahaha~! Yes! Suck it, Bioware! Almost no one likes ME3 thanks to your crappy ending and your massive drop in sales proves it.

    However, I find something is very wrong when Witcher 2 is outsold by a golfing game and Prototype 2. Just me, I guess.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      u hate ME3 because of the ending… and Prototype 2 is a good game it earned that spot.

    • Sakurazaki

      ME3 was a really good game; it was only the ending that was weird.

      While the ending felt butchered, everything else – most of the story, the social interactions between squadmates, the multiplayer, the action, and the gameplay – were by no means horrible.

      I feel that basing the entire game on the last half-hour of it is a horrible thing to do. I will accept your type of response only if the ending was all someone was going for when he/she purchased the game; which, I highly doubt, was the reason.

      Plus, ME3 has been out since March, of course sales aren’t going to be as hype-high. o.o

  • MrKappa

    Ever since the rise of DLC and half assed games I’m not surprised. There have been few games worth buying this year at all.
    Developers need to shape up because most of them are more interested in releasing buggy games, games with locked out content and just all around the same thing.

  • James Beatty

    Xenoblade is not there. I hate all of you :angry face:
    But at least not all hope is lost, apparently this isn’t including Xenoblade’s numbers because it was a Gamestop exclusive. Hopefully that would explain some things or everyone whining on the internet got what they wanted but they didn’t support it 

    • malek86

      It was a console exclusive, a single-retailer exclusive, and a JRPG. Not exactly the best recipe for high sales.

      And I thought we already knew that people on the internet talk the talk but never walk the walk.

      • tesuji2

        In response to operation rainfall nintendo specifically told us the game wasn’t coming to North America. I gave up and imported it. I would have supported the game but I’m not going to now. I’m sure I am far from the only person in this situation.

        • Nintendo never said it wasn’t coming out in North America.  They just said that they had no plans at the time, which is usually code for ‘Its coming, we just need to settle the little details.”  

        • puchinri

          No, they never said it was not coming. Just that there were no plans for the moment; which implies that even if they were considering it (which I believe they were), they wouldn’t have a release date in mind, how they want to sell or advertise it or anything.

          That people assumed it was a no is more on them, not NoA.

          • tesuji2

             oh, come on. after waiting forever they actually promise us a reply and then a few days later say there are no plans to bring the game to the Americas at this time.  this  I’m not sure how patient you want me to be. should I wait years on the off chance that they are actually planning a release and declined to even say they hope to bring it over eventually after the huge fan campaign and even promising us a response.

          • puchinri

            And? That says nothing in contradiction to what I said. They’re not going to promise anything if they can’t deliver. If they said it was come, people would be begging for a date, and if they didn’t have a date worked out, it would just be more trouble for them.

            And really, we got the game two years after it was released. one to two years is not that bad of a time for a game to be released in. Especially one that is fairly text-heavy and has a lot that needs translating.

    • XYZ_JolteonZ980

      If Xenoblade was doing that greatly wouldnt Nintendo have commented this month on sales instead of declining to comment at all? 

      • puchinri

        Not really. They don’t always come out and say when their games do extremely well, unless it happens to come up in an interview or something.

        • malek86

          Apparently this month Nintendo even refused to comment on the NPD report at all. I get the feeling their stuff didn’t do well.

          Iwata was right, the 3DS needs to do a lot better in the west.

          • puchinri

            That actually doesn’t surprise me, just knowing them. But we were told Icarus didn’t do bad and got some number for it I thought? Pretty sure Xenoblade was the only thing we don’t know anything for.

            I won’t be surprised if they don’t release the info at all, but I expect Nintendo to release the info in their own form eventually. 

  • I’m more intrigued about how half of the list are composed of casual + sports games. 

    •  note that it’s sales. not what are the best games.
      so if you think about it there are a lot more people/consumers that would be included in the casual realm of gaming. thus leading to better sales in those areas.

  • kylehyde

    “Acclaimed Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles was a retailer exclusive, so is excluded from NPD’s monthly report”

    Permission for say, WTF?

    I hope that NOA or gamestop could give us some numbers

    • Not likely, but one can always hope!

    • malek86

      Which is weird. I mean, from what I know, NPD does track Gamestop.

      • kylehyde

        Well in words from Metatron from Neogaf:

        “The only logic I can see is that NPD charts estimated industry sales,
        based on a combination of actual sales figures and extrapolation. This
        is how they can get away with selling the information they do. The
        information can’t be broken down to see what retailer is selling what,
        and much of the “information” is based on their own analysis. Charting a
        retailer exclusive would, however, be tantamount to just flat out
        selling Gamestop’s financial data regarding that particular game, which
        might be considered privileged corporate information.

        That’s the only real explanation I can possibly think of, and even that seems a little suspect.”

        Yeah I know that I can’t trust at all in a post from a forum member however it makes sense his supposition

  • malek86

    No title this month sold more than 236k units, apparently.

    And then Minecraft XBLA sells more than 400.000 units in a single day. The month before, Trials Evolution also sells a whole lot.

    Digital games are starting to get more and more relevant.

  • don’t look at me an’ da boyz, we’z pre ordered our copy, wez got da art book ta prove it.

    Humie Translator Robot: The orks, whose grammar is atrocious by the way, said not to blame them, as they pre ordered the copy and even have the art book to prove it.

    Oi, did dat robot just insult us?

  • Yeah, looking at that lineup, it’s no surprise.
    The fact that Prototype 2 is #1 should tell you something by itself.

  • boundries_san

    Ohh so Kid Icarus is also still doing well too.^^ Hope that more people will buy this game which will add more player to play with in online play.

  • TheDarkEmpress

    That list makes me quiver in agony….not a single game on that list is even remotely interesting.

  • well, just look what was being sold this month

  • Seijien

    The reason is the lackluster releases in April. Oh how I’d love to play The Witcher 2, but I won’t buy a 360 just to play it. This month has Diablo III, Max Payne 3, Dragon’s Dogma, and Game of Thrones RPG (if you’re daring enough to pay 60 bucks for it), so sales should be fine this month. 

  • CirnoLakes

    Yuck. That’s an awful list.

    That’s just depressing. Who buys this crud? Seriously.

    Oh wait… that’s my… oh dear. ._.

  • ivanchu77

    Lol at mario party 9 being above mass effect 3, not even the most hyped game from one of the most succeful franchises of the actual generation is enough to beat one of the worst mario games ever

    It´s amazing that 30 years later Mario can still put perfomances like that despite the change of tastes and players, gotta love him 

  • I’m just going to put it out there, but is it possible sales were down in April for the US not just because of Easter but also because a lot of folks don’t have the funds to allocate towards games as much as they used to?

  • eilegz

    the industry its going down thanks to its bad ways in doing business, the online passes trends, locked content on disc to be made available as DLC, high expectations on acclaimed franchise that felt short on content.

    The value of the games its going down too since it seems that we are still in crisis and people its waiting for a better deal in most cases. Plus day 1 purchase have 0 incentive and more annoyance for what its worth it.

  • These charts typically depress me :(

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