3DS shines, software sales plunge in March

The good news is Nintendo has a hit with the 3DS. The bad news is … well, pretty much everything else. 3ds

Despite a strong launch for the handheld device, retail software sales were off 16 percent in March, according to The NPD Group, which gathers sales data for the industry. That’s a lot more than analysts were expecting to see. (The general consensus on Wall Street was a decline of between 8-10 percent.)

The 3DS sold 400,000 units – that’s about 100,000 units short of the mark set by the DS in its first week, but (thanks to a price tag that was $100 higher) still managed to surpass that system in revenue. Additionally, the attach rate for software was higher for the 3DS.

“Pokemon White” and “Pokemon Black” led the sale charts, knocking “Call of Duty: Black Ops” from the top spot after its four month run. Combined, the games set a franchise record, breaking the numbers of 2000’s Pokemon Silver and Gold. (The full list of top selling games can be found after the break.)

There was some good news for the industry, though, as NPD has finally completed its estimates of digital income from the industry in 2010 – and it appears it was enough to offset the initial estimate of a 6 percent decline compared to 2009.

“We recently completed our estimate of the total consumer spend on the games industry in the U.S. for 2010 including both physical and digital format sales,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “We found that increases in some digital forms of content distribution offset the declines in new physical retail sales of software.  2010 saw a consumer spend on games content of $15.9 billion, which was essentially flat (down less than 1/2 of 1 percentage point) to 2009.”

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