NPD Instant Analysis: Things You Should Note

If you are not careful, you will soon be cornered by some know-it-all who knows everything about U.S. video game sales in March 2010. Before walking away, drop some knowledge on them — might we suggest a few talking points?

Fact: Four PlayStation 3 games were in the March top 10. Sony software hasn't had the strongest showing in sales figures, but a flow of high-quality games early in 2010 has been accompanied with a strong software showing. God of War III in the #1 spot (as long as you're not adding Pokemon games together), Final Fantasy XIII in the #3 spot, Battlefield Bad Company 2 in the #8 and MLB 10: The Show in #10. That's two internally-developed games and two third-party titles.

Possible Analysis:
1) Exclusives matter, what with the #1 and #10 games, God of War III and MLB 10: The Show, both made by Sony and released in March, in the top 10. Rival platform Xbox 360 had no exclusives in the top 10, and, what do you know, it released no major disc-based exclusive games for the month.

2) Final Fantasy is more of a Sony kind of thing. More than 800,000 copies of Final Fantasy XIII sell on the PS3, to just under 500,000 on the Xbox 360. And while it's easy to jump to the conclusion that that proves Sony fans are more into the Square-Enix saga than Microsoft owners, we have no way of knowing whether a lot of these consumers were dual-console owners who preferred the version of the game that was released on fewer discs.

3) Sony games are just more fun than any other games.

Fact: Battlefield Bad Company 2 sold 300,000 copies more on the Xbox 360 than on the PS3.

Possible Analysis

1) But the exclusive multiplayer beta for this game was on the PS3! Therefore: Betas don't mean what they used to or never did or something. Really, we have so few console betas out there, let alone console-exclusive ones, that who can say?

2) Xbox 360 gamers are a more war-mongering lot.

3) A game with a multiplayer emphasis is going to perform better on the console that has the more active multiplayer community. You play on the machine that your friends play online with as well.

Fact: The PSP barely outsold the PS2, 120k to 118k.

Possible Analysis
1) The great PSP push of 2009 was a flop and not Rock Band, Assassin's Creed, LittleBigPlanet nor the PSPgo could raise this thing's fortunes. Time for PSP 3D or some other new PSP in 2010, because the current model is not cutting it.

2) The PSP is lying in wait, ready to explode when that next big PSP game is coming out... you know which one. (And would you please tell me what it is?)

3) Celebration! The PSP sold 100k in January. It's already back! (Oh, it sold 133k in February. Never mind.)

Fact: Silver is way more popular than Gold, at least in terms of March Pokemon releases, 1.02 million to 760,000.

Possible Analysis

1) Despite being more expensive, gold is tacky. Silver is classy. Gamers know this.

2) Gamers preferred the dragon thing on the front of the Pokemon SoulSilver box to the bird thing on the cover of the Pokemon HeartGold box. (Oh, I know the names of those Pokemon. I am just testing you.)

3) Nothing odd here at all. In April 2008, the last time paired Pokemon games launched in the U.S., Pokemon Diamond sold 1 million to Pokemon Pearl's 712,000. Hey, those numbers like kind of similar... as if this was planned.

Notable new releases that failed to make the overall software top 10 (With no console or handheld version selling more than 349,200 units in the U.S. by April 3: MLB 2K10 (March 2), Yakuza 3 (March 13), Just Cause 2 (March 23), Red Steel 2 (March 23), WarioWare D.I.Y. (March 28)