NPD March 2008

NPD sales data for March is as follows:

Hardware Sales:

Wii: 721k
NDS: 698k
PSP: 297k
360: 262k
PS3: 257k
PS2: 216k

Software Sales:

1. Super Smash Bros. (Wii) 2.7M
2. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (360) 752.3K
3. Army of Two (360) 606.1K
4. Wii Play (Wii) 409.8K
5. God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP) 340.5K
6. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP) 301.6K
7. Guitar Hero III (Wii) 264.1K
8. MLB 2K8 (360) 237.1K
9. Call of Duty 4 (360) 237K
10. Army of Two (PS3) 224.9K

Analysis

Nintendo wasn’t lying when they said that Wii shipments would be increased for the launch of Smash Bros. Brawl (which sold extremely well). The console sold like hotcakes in March (and was still supply constrained, even with the bump in stock), and DS also clocked in with another fantastic month, with just shy of 700k units sold. But while Nintendo’s success is noteworthy, it’s ultimately unsurprising (at this point), and the battle between 360 and PS3 is more interesting, especially with the impending April launch of Grand Theft Auto 4.

After finishing behind PS3 in January and February, 360 regained its lead in March. While I’m sure that Microsoft is happy to have slowed Sony’s momentum (mindshare-wise, anyway), I doubt that their paltry advantage (5k) will have any calming effect on their collective blood pressure. They are no doubt looking forward to the critical April period. The comparative success of GTA4 on 360 and PS3 will be very telling in regards to how the industry will look at the end of the generation.

The success of GTA4 (as in, the game itself) is guaranteed – it will sell extremely well and might even break a record or two. But whereas GTA3, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas all debuted on a single platform (PS2), the latest iteration will simultaneously launch on 360 and PS3, and there are a number of variables that make this a particularly interesting scenario.

  1. The massive userbase advantage that 360 has over PS3 will no doubt ensure that GTA4 will sell the most units on Microsoft’s box (in April, at least). 360 owners love them some software.
  2. Despite 360’s sizeable userbase lead, there is something to be said for the fact that GTA has been historically a PlayStation franchise. Some analysts have predicted that GTA4 will sell the most copies on 360, but will sell the most PS3s. It’s an interesting thought, but the concept of games ‘selling’ hardware is tough to nail down finitely. Still, I think it’s safe to say that the difference between 360 and PS3 sales for GTA4 will be closer than the userbase would imply (much like Devil May Cry 4 sold relatively (copies/userbase) better on PS3 than 360, while the recent Rainbow Six Vegas 2 sold relatively much better on 360).
  3. Perhaps the most definable difference between the PS3 and 360 version of GTA4 is the fact that Microsoft has secured the rights to exclusive Downloadable Content. Set to be released later in the year, rumors indicate that there will be a substantial amount of content available (although hard facts on that issue aren’t readily available). Knowing Microsoft, I’m sure that they will be heavily marketing their content advantage, but it’s tough to say whether DLC is enough value added for the average consumer.

March was interesting, but April and May will be truly indicative of trends heading into the summer months. I had thought that Microsoft might drop the price of 360 in anticipation of GTA4, but it looks like they are content to let things ride at the current prices (at least in the States – they dropped the price in Europe). Sony has been working hard to get the PS3 to a place where it can really benefit from the familiarity of the GTA brand name (it will be one of the first “PlayStation” franchises to hit the console), and by-and-large, they have done a good job. I can’t wait for the results.

Don’t forget about Nintendo, though. They will sell a lot of hardware (though the weak dollar might compel Nintendo to send excess stock to other places), and Mario Kart Wii will shock some people with its strong sales. And then watch out for WiiFit in May – it will send Wii’s popularity to new heights (scary, no?).

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3 Responses to “NPD March 2008”


  1. 1 Dave April 18, 2008 at 9:24 am

    nice roundup of the NPD data. Greatly appreciated.

  2. 3 Dave May 6, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Hey..you should keep posting.


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