Despite launching later in the month, BioShock Infinite was the best-selling game in the US in March.
Update: BioShock Infinite sold 878,000 units on console in the US during the month of March; the game was released on March 26.
The NPD Group only tracks traditional retail sales data for its monthly reports, so as always, bear in mind that digital distribution and online retail - not to mention rentals, used games sales, DLC, mobile, social and micro-transactions - are an increasingly important slice of the industry's total revenue.
That said, the firm did once more note an overall decline in total industry spend in the US for March 2013. Total sales came in at $992.5 million, a 10% year-on-year decrease. It does represent a month-on-month improvement on February's $810 million, but given that's a shorter month and March includes five weeks' worth of data, it's probably not much cause for retailers to be celebrating.
Happily, the NPD estimates used and rental sales reached $190 million; digital format sales hit $670 million; and that total consumer spend on games during the month was "just under $1.9 billion".
Sector by sector, accessories were largely flat in terms of dollar sales - $216 million - but noted a 15% unit sales growth. Hardware sales fell 32% year-on-year to $221.6 million. Portables were hit harder than home consoles, but sales of the 3DS actually increased by 9%.
Interestingly, software actually demonstrated growth, climbing 2% year-on-year to $602.4 million. It's the first time software sales have shown growth since November 2011.
Last month's big new releases - Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Aliens: Colonial Marines - all vanished form the charts completely.
The NPD's Liam Callahan said new releases sold 40% more year-on-year across consoles, portables, and PC.
"There were actually fewer new launches - about 20 percent less new games - than last March, but March 2013 launches generated close to 70 percent more dollar sales per SKU than last year," he said.
BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider both had the biggest first-month sales of any game in their respective franchises to date - and in Tomb Raider's case, these figures didn't include PC, apparently.
One notable release did not chart - StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. The last PC exclusive Activision Blizzard fronted, Diablo 3, most definitely did chart at launch - but it's worth noting that as an expansion of sorts, Heart of the Swarm's sales would have been mostly digital.
Activision Blizzard, Sony and Take-Two all had two entries each in the charts, with all other charting publishers managing just one entry each. EA did not chart, despite releasing Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel and expected hangover sales of SimCity.
Off the back of claiming soaring 3DS sales earlier today, Nintendo managed to chart with the 3DS exclusive Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. The platform holder said the sequel managed almost 365,000 physical sales in March, with over 415,00 physical and digital sales life to date.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon sold more than 145,000 in both formats in March, and Fire Emblem: Awakening managed over 64,000, reaching 240,000 life to date.
The company said total physical 3DS software sales have crossed over 20 million units sold in the US.
Here's the full software top ten:
- BioShock Infinite (PC, PS3, X360) (878,000 per Gamespot)
- Tomb Raider (PS3, X360) (640,000)
- Gears of War: Judgment (X360) (620,000)
- God of War: Ascension (PS3) (570,000)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PC, PS3, Wii U, X360)
- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) (360,000)
- MLB 13: the Show (PS3, Vita)
- NBA 2K13 (PC, PS3, PSP, Wii, Wii U X360)
- The Walking Dead: Survival instinct (PS3, Wii U, X360)
- Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (PS3, X360)
Microsoft said 261,000 Xbox 360 consoles were sold over the course of the month, making it the best-selling console for the 27th consecutive month. It also attracted the highest total platform spend at $402 million.
While Nintendo and Sony opted out of sending out hardware figures to the mainstream press, a poster on NeoGAF gleaned some figures off of 2channel, although we're not sure how legitimate the numbers are, the figures provide will give you a base idea of how well Wii U and Vita sold in March.
According to the post, total hardware sales for March were 990,000 units with Wii U moving 67,000 units, Wii moving 91,000 and 3DS pushing 230,000 units out the door (thanks, CyberMarco).
Sony systems, according to the post, move 211,033 units total: Vita with 33,000 units and PS3 with approximately 211,000 units - putting it 50,000 or so shy of Xbox 360 figures combined.