April U.S. Console Sales Revealed: Splinter Cell Tops Software, Nintendo DS Leads Hardware

With April 2010 behind us and May 2010 in full swing, market research firm The NPD Group has issued its monthly breakdown of the past month's U.S. console sales. nope

This month marks a departure from most, as the company only listed the units sold for half of the top ten and no longer offers PlayStation 2 hardware sales numbers.

    Top Ten U.S. Console Games - April 4 through May 1, 2010
    1. Splinter Cell: Conviction* (Ubisoft Montreal, Xbox 360) - 486,100 units
    2. Pokemon SoulSilver (Game Freak, DS) - 242,900 units
    3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo, Wii) - 200,300 units
    4. Pokemon HeartGold (Game Freak, DS) - 192,600 units
    5. God of War III* (SCE Santa Monica, PlayStation 3) - 180,300 units
    6. Wii Sports Resort* (Nintendo, Wii)
    7. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (EA DICE, Xbox 360)
    8. Wii Fit Plus* (Nintendo, Wii)
    9. Just Dance (Ubisoft, Wii)
    10. Super Street Fighter IV (Capcom, PlayStation 3)
    (*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

    U.S. Hardware Sales - April 4 through May 1, 2010
    1. Nintendo DS - 440,800 units
    2. Wii - 277,200 units
    3. Xbox 360 - 185,400 units
    4. PlayStation 3 - 180,800 units
    5. PSP - 65,500 units

Overall, April 2010 saw U.S. video game industry sales down 26% over April 2009--from $1.03 billion to $766.2 million. On an accumulated year-to-date basis, the industry was down 11%, from $5.29 billion by April 2009 to $4.37 billion by April 2010.

"The industry experienced its worst year-over-year decline in April since July '09, and the fourth largest year-over-year percentage decline ever after September 2000, June '09 and July '09," explained NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "Some of the decline is explained by the shift of Easter timing. In April '09, consumers attributed $55 million of industry sales to Easter as a purchase occasion, which would account for about 21% of the decline from last year since Easter purchasing happened in March this year."

Frazier added that the Nintendo DS is encroaching upon the PlayStation 2's "best-selling hardware system of all time" title, and should "meet or exceed" that figure by October or November. Interestingly, the Nintendo DS also showed the worst decline over the past year, accounting for 71% of the decline in hardware sales over last year.

However, it wasn't all bad news as Frazier observed that "April software sales were more concentrated among the top-selling games than they were last year and April '10 new releases sold more units than did last April's new releases."

Also highlighted by Frazier was the fact that April 2010 marked the "second consecutive month that the Xbox Live 1600 point game card was the best-selling accessory item," pointing to "game content sold and revenue generated via digital distribution."