God of War 3 Tops U.S. Console Sales in March

SCE Santa Monica's brutal PlayStation 3-exclusive sequel God of War III took top honors as the best-selling console game in the United States during March 2010, research firm NPD Group revealed today in its monthly update on hardware and software sales. nope

"For the first time since its launch in the US, the PS3 has four titles in the Top 10, and was also the leader in console software sales," noted NPD's Anita Frazier. Meanwhile, only two Xbox 360 titles--Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield: Bad Company 2--made the chart:

    Top Ten U.S. Console Games - February 28 through April 3, 2010
    1. God of War III* (SCE Santa Monica, PS3) - 1.10 million units
    2. Pokemon SoulSilver (Game Freak, DS) - 1.02 million units
    3. Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix, PS3) - 828,200 units
    4. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (EA DICE, Xbox 360) - 825,500 units
    5. Pokemon HeartGold (Game Freak, DS) - 761,200 units
    6. Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix, Xbox 360) - 493,900 units
    7. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo, Wii) - 457,400 units
    8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (EA DICE, PS3) - 451,200 units
    9. Wii Fit Plus w/ Balance Board* (Nintendo, Wii) - 429,600 units
    10. MLB 10: The Show (SCE San Diego, PS3) - 349,200 units
    (*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

    U.S. Hardware Sales - February 28 through April 3, 2010
    1. Nintendo DS - 700,800 units
    2. Wii - 557,500 units
    3. Xbox 360 - 338,400 units
    4. PlayStation 3 - 313,900 units
    5. PSP - 119,900 units
    6. PlayStation 2 - 118,300 units
"God of War III (GOW3) bested the introduction of God of War II (GOW2 - 3/07 PS2 launch) by 32 percent," added Frazier. Furthermore, the dual-platform release of Final Fantasy XIII helped make it "the best launch for any item in the franchise" and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is now the second-best-selling game of all time, after Wii Play."

The United States console market grew 6% over the same period last year ($1.44 billion in March 2009 to $1.52 billion in March 2010) though year-to-date figures reveal an overall shrinkage of 7% ($4.26 billion by March 2009 to $3.96 billion by March 2010).

However, March 2010 still ranks as one the best months in years. Said Frazier:

Excluding Sept '09, which was up close to 1 percent, March 2010 represents the first overall revenue increase for the industry outside of the holiday timeframe since Feb 2009. Drilling into the data, we see prices were down 16 percent for console hardware; flat for console software; and up for all other categories. Lower prices exacerbates decline in dollar sales for console hardware, so while unit sales down only 5 percent, dollar sales were down 12 percent due to declining average retail prices (ARP).

In terms of total revenue, March 2010 is the third best non-holiday month on record behind March 2008 and June 2008.