It seems the video game market may not be resistant to the economic crisis after all, new research figures from NPD Group indicate sales of video games dropped 16.9 percent year-over-year to $1.03 billion in April 2009. However, NPD analyst Anita Frazier claims it's hard to draw conclusions from these figures because April 2008 was an exceptionally strong month, that realized nearly 50 percent growth over April 2007.
Frazier also noted that the industry's performance last month was its second-best April on record, and that unit sales across the board were down just 5 percent, with the rest of the revenue decline coming as a result of reduced "average selling prices."
Still, there's little doubt that the trend line is heading down, both broadly and rapidly. March's numbers were already down 2.7 percent from February's $1.47 billion, and in April, each of the three major video game consoles--Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii, and Sony's PlayStation 3--saw sizable sales drops. Xbox sales were off 47 percent, while the Wii and PS3 were down 43.4 percent and 41.7 percent, respectively.
The only bright spot, on the hardware side of things at least, was the newest generation of Nintendo's DS handheld gaming device, the DSi, which launched during the month. In April, Nintendo sold 1.04 million handhelds, up 84.7 percent for the month.