Inside the Numbers – The January 2010 NPDs

February 13, 2010 | Posted by Chris Lansdell

It’s the middle of the month already (seriously, where is the year going?), and that means the NPD numbers have been released. What will the first sales numbers of a new decade bring to us? Is Nintendo still dominating? How much of a drop have we seen since Christmas? Has Spectral Force 3 cracked the top 10 at long last? Let’s have a look!


First, let’s look at what I predicted last month:

  1. Nintendo DS
  2. Nintendo Wii
  3. Xbox 360
  4. PlayStation 3
  5. PlayStation Portable
  6. PlayStation 2

    First off, all these numbers will be way down from December, I think that goes without saying. However I’ve seen some very good sales on DS Lite in the post-Christmas blowout sales, and that should be enough to push it past the Wii into top spot. The Wii itself will come back down to earth and although I expect it to beat out its home console rivals, the gap will be a lot smaller. Microsoft will get its revenge and pip PS3 for the third spot, probably by less than 100,000 units.

And the actual results…

  1. Wii 465.8K
  2. Nintendo DS 422.2K
  3. Xbox 360 332.8K
  4. PlayStation 3 276.9K
  5. PSP 100.1K
  6. PlayStation 2 41.6K

Not too many surprises here in the order or in the numbers. Although we all knew that sales would decrease, I for one was not expecting such a drastic drop, with nobody breaking half a million units. I was wrong about the DS passing the Wii, but it put on a very strong showing to hold on to the second spot. Microsoft and Sony will be very happy to see the gap close between themselves and Nintendo’s juggernaut, and that too is due to Christmas. With the Wii currently occupying the family-friendly niche, it was always going to be the more popular Christmas purchase for families. Also, younger kids tend to get presents from aunts, uncles and so forth, while older kids will often get gift cards. Before anyone asks, I’m basing that on my own observations and not any sort of scientific data. My theory is that these kids then buy what THEY want with the cards, and they want 360s and PS3s. As I expected, Microsoft’s console moved ahead of Sony’s in January, by 56,000 units. For comparison, here are last month’s numbers:

Wii — 3,810,000
Nintendo DS — 3,310,000
PlayStation 3 — 1,360,000
Xbox 360 — 1,310,000
PlayStation Portable — 654,700
PlayStation 2 — 333,200

Twitter Break!

Lansdell on Twitter, for great justice!


Predictions from last month:

  1. Mass Effect 2 (360)
  2. Bayonetta (360)
  3. New Super Mario Bros (Wii)
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360)
  5. Darksiders: Wrath of War (360)
  6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)
  7. Dark Void (360)
  8. Bayonetta (PS3)
  9. MAG (PS3)
  10. Wii Fit Plus (Wii)

    Mass Effect 2, despite being released in the last week of the month, should have no problem bagging the number one spot. It’s been hyped to the heavens and it has a sex scene in it, so it’s going to attract attention from the 360 faithful. Bayonetta and Darksiders seem to be getting duelling reviews across the net which may hurt sales of both somewhat. I can certainly see why some people are down on Bayonetta, though personally I am enjoying it. It is a bit contrived and the graphics, while beautifully rendered, are in a strange style. Not everyone’s cup of tea for sure. Darksiders is on my “to try” list and if I get to it before next month’s NPDs, I’ll have my thoughts in there. Dark Void so high in the list is a gamble on my part, because I feel it will either bomb spectacularly or succeed more than most are expecting. Even if the latter happens, I don’t think it will have the juice to surpass the games above it. MAG is an intriguing one, because if it had been hyped at all and if it had more than 5 days to sell before the end of the month it might have made waves. As it is I think it will be slow catching on, but might break the top 10 in February.

And now the actual numbers:

  1. New Super Mario Bros. (WII) – 656.7K
  2. Mass Effect 2 (360) – 572.1K
  3. Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board (WII) – 555.7K
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360) – 326.7K
  5. Mario Kart with wheel (WII) – 310.9K
  6. Wii Sports Resort (WII) – 297.6K
  7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) – 259.0K
  8. Army of Two: The 40th Day (360) – 246.5K
  9. Just Dance (WII) – 191.9K
  10. Darksiders (360) – 171.2k

Heh…oops. Bayonetta is nowhere to be seen, and Darksiders for 360 makes an appearance propping up the top 10. I mentioned that MAG and Dark Void were gambles and it turns out that they were bad ones, as neither made the list. However, I saved myself somewhat by saying that Dark Void would either be huge or terrible; every person I’ve heard talking about it has said it is the latter.

Quite a few things on this list surprised me. With NSMB having sold so well in December, I didn’t think it would have the legs to beat out Mass Effect 2. I wouldn’t even call that close of a race, with a gap of 84,000 between them. This may have been a different story had ME2 released a week earlier, and it will be interesting to see where they both place next month in the face of Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain and Dante’s Inferno. I should have taken the new year fitness push into account when ranking Wii Fit Plus, but even had I done so it would not have been third. Once again the power of the Wii as a casual gamer magnet and its cross-market appeal has trumped most traditional games. Nintendo is like the WWE of the gaming world, catering to the masses instead of the smaller hardcore market…and it’s working. Modern Warfare 2 continues to show tremendous longevity in strong sales, holding down two top 10 spots, including the lone PS3 entry in the top 10. Mario Kart and Wii Sports Resort have stayed strong, and that in all likelihood is some holdover from Christmas: new Wii owners picking up some of the best and “funnest” family games on their shiny new system. Wii Sports Resort is the new Wii Play: people are buying it to get the Motion Plus as much as the game itself. 8 and 9 surprise me immensely. I completely undervalued Army of Two, since it hadn’t been heavily promoted and wasn’t considered a major release. Almost a quarter of a million copies is nothing to sniff at. Just Dance is a major rarity: a successful third-party Wii game. My wife loves it, my son loves it, I won’t play it. And that is the Wii in a nutshell, really.

Here’s what last month looked like:

  1. New Super Mario Bros (Wii) — 2,820,000
  2. Wii Fit Plus (Wii) — 2,410,000
  3. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) — 1,790,000
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360) — 1,630,000
  5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) 1,120,000
  6. Wii Play (Wii) — 1,010,000
  7. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) — 936,100
  8. Assassin’s Creed 2 (360) — 783,100
  9. Left 4 Dead 2 (360) – 728,500
  10. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS) — 656,700

    January’s Winner: Tough to argue against Nintendo. The Big N still holds the top 2 hardware spots and 2 of the top 3 software spots, as well as half the top 10.

    January’s loser: Sony. One game in the top 10, dropping below Microsoft in the hardware stakes, and MAG is nowhere to be seen.

    Predictions for February


    1. Wii 410,000
    2. Nintendo DS 370,000
    3. PlayStation 3 305,000
    4. Xbox 360 290,000
    5. PSP 65,000
    6. PlayStation 2 35,000

    Although there are some big games this month, the only system that has what I’d consider a console-shifter is the PS3 with Heavy Rain. I’ve already seen people say that it’s enough to make them want to buy a PS3, and if you combine that with my expectation that most sales will drop for February, you end up with the PS3 passing the 360 again. Nintendo’s control of the top 2 spots is unlikely to change.


    1. New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)
    2. Bioshock 2 (360)
    3. Wii Fit Plus (Wii)
    4. Mass Effect 2 (360)
    5. Dante’s Inferno (360)
    6. Mario Kart (Wii)
    7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (360)
    8. Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
    9. Bioshock 2 (PS3)
    10. MAG (PS3)

    Oh hell no, you’re not catching me again. NSMB is a sales juggernaut and there’s no reason for it to slow down. There are a few “mid-major” releases this month that should crack the top 10, but I don’t see them selling enough to break NSMB’s stranglehold. MAG will catch on enough to make the chart…just.

    We’ll be back next month with an in-depth look at the February numbers. Disagree with my predictions? Want to make some of your own? Got a different take on the numbers? Drop it in the comments!

    Lansdellicious – Out.


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Chris Lansdell
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