NPD March: Mass Effect 3 tops despite overall sink in sales

Thursday, 12th April 2012 23:21 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

NPD has released its report for March 2012 retail sales in the US, and the news was rather grim as all sectors noted a decline in sales.

March at a Glance

Total spend declined 25% year-over-year.

All sectors declined year-on-year.

Mass Effect 3 was tops, with debut monthly sales twice that of Mass Effect 2′s 2010 effort.

Xbox 360 was the top seller for the 15th straight month, moving 371,000 units.

Total industry sales fell 25% year-over-year to $1.1 billion. Software across PC, handhelds and consoles fell 26% year-over-year to $585.1 million, while hardware sales declined 35% year-over-year to $323.5 million.

“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,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

“Outside of new physical retail sales, we find that the consumer spend on content on used games, rentals, subscriptions, mobile games, social network games, digital full game downloads and add-on content accounted for an additional $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion across the US, UK France and Germany in Q1 2012.”


“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, added Frazier. “That said, the high definition console systems fared better than many other hardware platforms.”

Microsoft came out the clear hardware winner with Xbox 360 topping the chart for the 15th consecutive month in a row moving 371,000 units. The console’s current-generation share in the market was 42% and for the 13th consecutive month Xbox 360 held over 40% of console market share.

Total US retail spend on the platform in March reached $430 million, more than the spend on PS3 and Wii combined, according to the firm.

Sony used the NPD report as an opportunity to reflect on how the PS Vita “ecosystem continues to grow with impressive hardware, software, and peripherals sales among big-box retailers, smaller retail shops and digital,” two moths after its release.

Nintendo has yet to issue a response as of press time.


High definition platform unit sales of software came in flat compared to last year, and according to NPD, Mass Effect 3 sold more than twice as much as Mass Effect 2 did “during its introductory month in January 2010.”

The BioWare title was the top seller for the month, followed by Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, and MLB: The Show.

NPD noted Nintendo’s Kid Icarus: Uprising sold rather well despite its omission from the top 10. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure landed at number 15 on the top 20, and its three character pack SKU’s were among the top 10 accessory items for the month of March, helping drive sale of accessories which were “up in unit sales for the month, but down in dollars due to a decline in average retail price.”

“In a list of the top 10 SKUs for the month, as opposed to top titles as listed, 3DS Kids Icarus: Uprising would have been among the top selling individual SKUs for the month of March,” noted Frazier who also told Joystiq the title moved 140,000 copies and that Resident Evil: Revelations sold around 122,000 units.

During the month of March, Xbox 360 held five of the top 10 US console game titles including: Mass Effect 3, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, NBA 2K12, SSX and Major League Baseball 2K12.

SCEA’s new Sr. Director of Corporate Communications who took over for Patrick Seybold, Dan Race, stated that the firm is “seeing strong digital downloads across the board, including full digital-only purchases and extremely high conversion rates for digital demos to full game purchases with titles such as Unit 13, which showcases PS Vita’s unique 3G and shooter capabilities.”

“We look forward to furthering the PS Vita momentum with upcoming blockbuster titles like Mortal Kombat and Resistance: Burning Skies, and apps including Skype,” he added.

The tracking period for this month was February 26 to March 31, a five-week span.

  1. Mass Effect 3 – PC, PS3, 360 – EA
  2. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – PS3, 360 – Capcom
  3. MLB: The Show – PS3, Vita – Sony
  4. NBA 2K12 – PC, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 PS2 – Take 2
  5. SSX 2012 – PS3, 360 -EA
  6. Street Fighter X Tekken – PS3, 360 – Capcom
  7. Mario Party 9 – Wii – Nintendo
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – PC, PS3, Wii, 360 – Activision
  9. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm – PS3, 360 – Namco Bandai
  10. MLB 2K12 NDS, PC, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, 360 – Take 2




  1. LOLshock94

    and well deserved, easy for developers to make games on, great graphics, critically acclaimed exclusive, a hack free service which provides top of the range and easy to use dashboard, supports indie developers who are trying to make it in the industry, allows people to try trials of arcade games to help people to make there decision weather or not to buy the game or not and last but not least has some of the best ports ever!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Razor

    “We look forward to furthering the PS Vita momentum”

    Sorry, I just fell off my chair in laughter.

    Seriously though, Vita is in some serious trouble.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. mistermogul

    #2 – lol!

    Anyone know what Vita sales actually were?

    #3 3 years ago
  4. The_Red

    Really? Resident Evil ORC didn’t bomb after those reviews? It iss the second with almost 500k sales? Thanks consumers. You’ve shown Capcom how to destroy their games and still make a ton of money.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Razor

    An apparent reliable source over at GAF has said that Vita was above 200k, but below 3DS.

    So it’s still yet to reach half a mil, and with no compelling software and/or price cut imminent, I guess we just have to wait until E3 to see if Sony sort it out.

    It’s pretty surprising that Sony haven’t engaged full panic mode yet. Although maybe internally they have.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Gadzooks!


    If firing 10,000 employees isnt panicking then I dont know what is. That is like the point during a descent in an aircraft with failing engines when you start throwing chairs, provisions and fat people out of the plane to gain a few feet of lift.

    #6 3 years ago

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