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January 2008 NPD Monthly Videogame Sales Figures
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January 2008 NPD Monthly Videogame Sales Figures

The first sales estimates of the new year bring with them plenty of surprises across the board.

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2007 was quite a year, wasn’t it? All three game industry contenders putting their various portable and home-based consoles in the Players Coliseum to fight to the death, lions and all. Microsoft vs. Nintendo vs. Sony. Who would be the victor and who would be the victim? Twelve months of brutality that saw its zenith in December, the apex of the ‘pennies from heaven’ occasion known as the Holiday Season. Now at the start of a new year begins a renewed battle for supremacy in the midst of the Holiday Hangover.

And WOW what a shock we got with the hierarchy in January! The usually luck-lacking PlayStation 3 surged near the top of the charts in that bitter winter’s month!! Beating the PlayStation 2 for the first time ever, even!! And oddly the usually middle-grounding XBox 360 found itself in the PS3’s usual spot! DS was not right up under its console partner the Wii and the PlayStation Portable was within striking distance of its handheld competition! It was a weird (and healthily competitive) opening for the start of an Olympic and presidential election year. Time to shovel through the snowy details. Mr. Plow presents to you The National Purchase Diary Group’s estimates for the month of January.

Nintendo’s Wii dropped the Times Square ball on all the rest with 274,000 ices with blue fires sold in January. In December, the special package from the Japanese men in smart cars sold 1,350,000 snow whites showing both the predictable post-holiday decline and ongoing supply constraints which limit its numbers. Still despite the interesting showings from the competition, Wii still holds its own at the top of the heap. The months to come should be noteworthy with those upcoming monster releases.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 had a dream today that 269,000 black-n-blu-rays rung freedom from every store to every customer in the month of the Epiphany. Back in Christmas Central, the 3rd iteration of the PlayStation sold 797,600 hi-deffers showing the usual after-holiday drop and a promising performance being its highest ranking yet since launch! Whatever happened at the end of last year must have sustained itself for January. With HD DVD defeated as the high resolution format of choice, the question is can the PS3 hold up this momentum in the months to follow?

Sony’s PlayStation 2 got more gifts from Los Reyes Magos when they sold 264,000 shocking duals in the first month of the year. In the twelfth month of last year, the PS2 sold 1,100,000 prized presents showing strong staying power after the post-December slump. This March will make it 8 years since the PS2 was introduced to the market (from Japan in March 2000). It’s going to be amazing to see if this old console can make it into another holiday season and still keep on selling.

Nintendo’s DS built a Frosty the Snowman with 251,000 creative compacts sold in the month of Janus. For the ‘brrr’ of December, DS sold 2,470,000 flip-toppers showing a post-December decline to a tenth of the amount it sold in the holidays! Not at the top of the charts this time. The DS hasn’t been ranked like this since last January! Seems the Holiday Hangover hits the DS a little harder than the others but I’m pretty sure it’ll bounce back soon enough.

Sony’s PlayStation Portable got pelted with snowballs as it sold 230,000 lite and slims in the thick of winter. In winter’s beginning, the PSP sold 1,060,000 stylish systems telling of a steady course in the aftermath of the holidays. Bundling up is good sense for the winter cold and the PSP’s selling strategy. Daxter and Star Wars combos can keep moving PSP’s off those breezy shelves and into the warm homes of loving buyers.

Microsoft’s XBox 360 froze solid in the icy winter chill, with 230,000 red light-green lights sold in blizzard bringing January. In the forlorn frost of December, the money minded machine sold 1,260,000 X-tra boxes displaying an after-December drop to its usual levels. While it approximately tied the PSP in number, it’s a little shocking to see it ranked like this on the tail end of the charts. It hasn’t ranked low like this since December 2005 when it suffered shortages from the holiday rush. Microsoft says this is the reason for the low turnout here as well. Maybe Wii and DS have a partner in this type of dilemma now. 2008 will tell either way.

All put together, the U.S. videogame industry amassed $1.18 billion in total sales for January, a 6% dip from last January. It should be pointed out that this January had a tracking period of 4 weeks compared to last January’s 5 weeks (partial weeks bleed over into next month to complete a 7-day period). So taking that into account, comparative total sales were up 18% in a week by week point of view which would have been displayed if this January was equal in tracking time to last January’s. That said, of this billion-plus figure, total hardware sales shifted down 25% to $377.8 million and total software sales lifted up 11% to $610.6 million despite the one week disparity. Total accessory sales slid down 4% to $191 million with Wii’s Nunchuk as the best-selling accessory with 375,000 sold that month.

NPD was a little stingy on the intimate details this month so no analytic breakdowns of the hardware and software segments. Oh and all percentages in the paragraph above refer to year-to-year comparisons between 2008 and 2007, just so you know.

As for the games people played this January the usual suspects made their rounds. More Guitar Heroes; more soldiers on their Call of Duty; more Marios soaring galaxies, having parties, and playing Olympic games; more people fulfilling the pledge of ‘Wii would like to play’. But this time there were a couple of new twists. Instead of just playing air guitar some started up a whole garage band. And some lived in their own paradise burning out the tires on their top-class cars. Gotta keep it interesting, you know? Certainly a valid mode of thought for this shocking month!


NPD’s Top Hardware Sales in January

Nintendo Wii – 274,000
Sony PlayStation 3 – 269,000
Sony PlayStation 2 – 264,000
Nintendo DS – 251,000
Sony PlayStation Portable – 230,000
Microsoft XBox 360 – 230,000


NPD’s Top Ten Software Sales in January

1.   Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (X360) – 330,900
2.   Wii Play (Wii) – 298,100
3.   Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) – 239,600
4.   Rock Band (X360) – 183,800
5.   Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (X360) – 182,700
6.   Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – 172,000
7.   Burnout Paradise (X360) – 144,100
8.   Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) – 140,000
9.   Mario Party DS (DS) – 138,500
10. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii) – 133,000

About the Author: John Lucas