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Games Industry Plummets in March, 3DS shows strength

by William Schwartz on April 18, 2013

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Despite launching what will likely go down as one of the best games to grace consoles this generation, the games industry tanked once again in March.  Year over year, total industry sales fell 10%, with hardware having a precipitous drop of 32%.

While hardware was down big, likely because of the next-gen buzz, software rose if ever so slightly.  A two percent increase marked the first time since November 2011 where software has experienced growth.  Comments from NPD suggest that a strong lineup of games which included Bioshock Infinite, Luigi’s Mansion, Gears of War: Judgment, God of War: Ascension, and Tomb Raider were the drivers of this software expansion, with Irrational Games’ Bioshock Infinite taking the sales crown.

There were positive trends seen across consoles, portables, and PC…

“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 percent more units than new launches in March 2012. There were positive trends for new launches that were seen across consoles, portables, and PC,” the analyst explained.

While Sony has kept quiet once again, Microsoft and Nintendo have both issued statements for March.

Microsoft revealed that they sold 261,000 Xbox 360 units, marking the 27th consecutive month as the best-selling console in the U.S.  They also revealed that across hardware, software and accessories, the Xbox 360 sold the most for any console.  The Xbox 360 also played home to six of the top 10 console games:  Bioshock Infinite, NBA 2K13, Gears of War: Judgment, Tomb Raider, The Walking Dead Survival Instinct, and Black Ops II.

Nintendo also issued statements about their business in March, but didn’t quite come clean with their Wii U numbers.  Instead, the company focused on what they are excelling with, and that’s the Nintendo 3DS handheld.

The company revealed that the Nintendo 3DS has now crossed 20 million software units sold, so it appears that games are doing quite well on the device.  Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has gotten off to a strong start, selling 415,000 copies of both the physical and digital forms.

It looks like early analyst reports were spot on.  The games industry is in dire need of a boost.  It appears that people are buying software in droves, and are patiently pinching their pennies until the next-gen consoles arrive.  Earlier today, a Stern Agee analyst suggested that the declining sales will continue through September, when GTA V gives the gaming industry a booster shot.

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