Game sales plummeted 25% in March

Sales of new video game hardware and titles slowed in March 2012, plummeting 25% from the same month last year.

According to the NPD Group, sales at US brick-and-mortar retail shops dropped to $1.1 billion in March from nearly $1.5 billion – marking the fourth straight month that video game industry sales have declined. 

However, the above-mentioned statistics include only sales of physical games and consoles, meaning digital downloads for social and mobile video titles were excluded from the total.

“Hardware really slowed down this month and all systems saw a unit sales decline versus last March, and on an average sales per week basis, versus February 2012,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier confirmed in an industry note.

“That said, the high definition console systems fared better than many other hardware platforms… [And] while it was a disappointing month and first quarter for new physical retail sales of video games hardware, software and accessories, it wasn’t entirely unexpected given guidance we’ve seen from several sources.”

Although hardware sales slowed significantly, Microsoft managed to offload 371,000 Xbox 360 units in March, making it the “best-selling [home] console system for the last 15 [months], and the best-selling hardware platform overall for the past 8 months.”

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, EA’s long-awaited Mass Effect 3 was the month’s best-selling game, with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City clinching second place and MLB 12: The Show hitting third.

NBA 2K12 made fourth, SSX fifth, Street Fighter X Teken sixth, Mario Party 9 seventh, with Call of Duty (CoD) Modern Warfare 3 sinking to an inglorious eighth place.