March NPD: 3DS sells under 400k, misses top ten chart

By Patrick Garratt
15 April 2011 06:44 GMT

NPD has confirmed that 3DS’s US launch has failed to beat that of DS in 2004, selling around 100,000 units less in its launch month than its predecessor.

March 2011 Overall

Total retail: $1.58 billion – down 4 percent.

Hardware: $440.6 million – up 12 percent.

Total software: $875.7 million – down 16 percent.

Accessories: $214.3 million – up 13 percent.

Hardware up 12 percent in March, 3DS fails to set console record

3DS failed to best the release of DS in November 2004, but NDP said the numbers were affected by pricepoint and seasonality.

Nintendo of America has previously claimed that 3DS beat DS’s day one record in the US, but has never released figures.

DS sold 500,000 US units in its opening week, and NoA boss Reggie Fils-Aime has now confirmed that 3DS sold under 400,000 units in its first week on sale in the US.

Said NPD analyst Anita Frazier: “The 3DS launched in the U.S. on March 27, so seven days of retail sales are included in this months results. The 3DS launch compares quite favorably to that of the best-selling dedicated handheld gaming platform of all time, the Nintendo DS. While the 3DS sold about 100K units less than the DS did in its launch month, we must consider that the DS launched in November and had holiday seasonality and a price differential of about $100.

“Because of the price differential, the 3DS generated greater revenues than did the DS in its launch month in November 2004. In addition, the 3DS was launched in an environment where there are more devices that can support the portable gaming experience such as tablets and smartphones.”

It’s unlikely we’ll ever know how much 3DS sold in its US opening in an official capacity, as Nintendo is sure to not announce its latest hardware failed to create a sales record. NPD no longer releases hardware figures and has warned analysts to do the same.

DS was the best-selling US hardware last month. Hardware overall was up 12 percent year-on-year.

PSP, Xbox 360 and PS3 all saw unit sales increases over last March. Xbox 360 was the bestselling under-the TV console in the US last month, selling 433,000 units. Microsoft said that’s a 28 percent increase over last year.

“Microsoft expects this momentum to continue throughout 2011. In the coming months, Xbox 360 owners can look forward to the arrival of Kinect-enabled Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as a diverse catalog of new games,” said the firm.

Sony responded to the NPD release, but failed to give any solid numbers.

“According to the latest NPD report, PlayStation saw double digit growth across hardware and peripherals, signaling continued momentum for the PlayStation platform and consumer demand for immersive 3D and precision motion game play,” said SCEA comms boss Patrick Seybold.

“Led today by the PlayStation Move motion controller, Move accessories and the deep lineup of Move-compatible software titles, PlayStation peripherals have now achieved double-digit growth for 19 consecutive months, according to NPD. People are loving the gaming experience provided by true stereoscopic 3D and PlayStation Move, and we’ll up the ante next week with the release of SOCOM 4: US Navy Seals.”

Retail software down 16 percent, 3DS fails to break top ten

While NPD drags its feet about included digital US sales in its figures, disc retail fell compared to last March, down 16 percent.

Frazier admitted that the continuing plunge in retail sales is being supported by the rise in downloaded games.

“We recently completed our estimate of the total consumer spend on the games industry in the US for 2010 including both physical and digital format sales. We found that increases in some digital forms of content distribution offset the declines in new physical retail sales of software,” she said.

“Last year saw a consumer spend on games content of $15.9 billion, which was essentially flat (down less than 0.5 percentage point) to 2009.”

Pokemon White and Black were the best-selling games for the month, while 3DS failed to break the software chart. Note that NPD has now changed its software reporting to single games, as opposed to single SKUs. Here’s the top ten:

  1. Pokemon White Version (NDS)
  2. Pokemon Black Version (NDS)
  3. Homefront (360, PS3, PC)
  4. Dragon Age II (360, PS3, PC)
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)
  6. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)
  7. Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC)
  8. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, PC)
  9. MLB 11: The Show (PS3, PSP, PS2)
  10. Fight Night Champion (360, PS3)

The best-selling 3DS game was Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition from Capcom.

Despite selling fewer hardware units in its debut month as compared to the DS, more units of 3DS software sold through retail this month than did DS software in November 2004.

The March software figures faced tough comps against the releases of Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and God of War 3 a year ago. All sold over 1 million units in March 2010.

Oh. And: “The number one accessory SKU for March 2011 was the $20 PS3 Network Card, which is the second time since its introduction in June ’08 that it has ranked first. This is another indication of digital growth across consoles and how physical retailers are participating.”

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