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NPD April: Injustice tops charts, total spend down 25%

NetherRealm's first non-Mortal Kombat game performed well at retail in the US during April, topping the charts as the best-selling title in an otherwise lacklustre month.

As ever, we begin with a disclaimer: the NPD Group only tracks traditional retail sales data for these monthly reports, ignoring digital distribution, online retail, rentals, used games sales, DLC, mobile, social and micro-transactions.

That said, total retail spend in the US in April was $495.2 million, a 25% year-on-year decrease on April 2012.

Software came in at $267.8 million, down 17% year-on-year, while hardware fell 42% to $109.5 million - a fairly typical slump in the face of upcoming next-generation hardware. Accessories failed to grow, despite ongoing strong sales of Skylanders Giants, brining in $131.4 million - a 19% decrease.

The NPD said that the fact that Easter fell in March this year may explain the severity of the year-on-year dip; the holiday weekend apparently grants about a 10% sales boost to the month in which it occurs.

"When taking into account our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in April such as used and rentals at $76 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $267 million, the total consumer spend in April is $802 million," NPD analyst Liam Callahan.


Injustice: Gods Among Us is the first fighter to top the charts since NetherRealm's last game - Mortal Kombat - in April 2010.

Other new releases did reasonably well - Dead Island: Riptide came in second, and transmedia MMO Defiance made it to fifth.

Although software sales were down overall, the biggest sellers out-performed those of the year before, Callahan said.

“Despite overall declines, April title launches in 2013 fared better than games that launched in April 2012, up 118% in unit sales and 130% in dollar sales. This increase was driven by games like Injustice: Gods Among Us, Dead Island: Riptide, and Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins,” he said.

The analyst said overall declines in software sales may be related to the decrease in sales of earlier releases; games released in March haven't had as long a sales tail as usual.

"When looking at video games launching in March 2012, month 2 sales represented 25 percent of the total first two months of sales, which contracted to 17 percent for March 2013 launches. One reason for this might be the decrease in the number of new titles, which can cause sales of a title to be 'front loaded' with a greater amount of sales happening in the first month of its release," Callahan suggested.

Nintendo, Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive each managed two entries in the charts, will the remaining four entries coming from different publishers. Interestingly, the 3DS managed two exclusive chart entries, which is not to be sneezed at.

Nintendo said Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins sold almost 94,000 - combined digital and retail - during April despite its late release, and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon made 140,000 sales. New Super Mario Bros U has now totted up almost 770,000 units life to date.

    April 2013 Top Ten Games (all platforms)
  1. Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, Wii U, X360)
  2. Dead Island: Riptide (PC, PS3, X360)
  3. BioShock Infinite (PC, PS3, X360)
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PC, PS3, Wii U, X360)
  5. Defiance (PC, PS3, X360)
  6. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
  7. NBA 2K13 (PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  8. Skylanders Giants (3DS, PS3, Wii, Wii U, X360)
  9. Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins (3DS)
  10. MLB 13: The Show (PS3, Vita)

By Platform

Always the first cab off the rank with a response to the report, Microsoft reported selling 130,000 Xbox 360 consoles in April. It held a 42% market share.

As ever, it achieved the greatest total platform spend, with $208 million. The Xbox 360 has managed to outsell its competitors in the US for 28 consecutive months.

Nintendo didn't reveal any hardware sales figures, but did send word that the platform is performing better thius year than last in terms of software.

"In 2012, it took 30 weeks for Nintendo 3DS to sell 2 million units of first-party software. In 2013, the platform accomplished that same feat in 18 weeks," Nintendo said.

We're awaiting a responses from Sony.

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