PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS Sales Declines Drag Down Gaming - InformationWeek

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PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS Sales Declines Drag Down Gaming

Decreased demand for portable hardware and software and an early Easter holiday this year combined to make April the fourth largest year-over-year decline for the video game industry.

The video-game industry in April suffered its fourth largest year-over-year decline ever, as the market for portable hardware and software fell sharply, a market research firm says. Sales in U.S. retail stores, excluding online, fell nearly 25% in April to $1.6 billion from $2.1 billion the same month a year ago, The NPD Group reported late Thursday. The drop was the worst since July 2009, and the fourth largest ever. Worst months also included September 2000 and June 2009.

Contributing to the decrease was the fact that the Easter holiday fell in March this year, instead of in April, as it did last year, the NPD said. Easter is a popular buying time for the video-game industry.

However, the portable side of the industry contributed "more than its share" of the industry's sales drop, NPD analyst Anita Frazier said.

"The portable business across hardware, software and accessories accounted for 25% of total industry dollar sales in April, but declines in portable sales compared to April '09 accounted for 61% of the total industry decrease," Frazier said in an e-mailed statement.

The major portable hardware platforms include the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS product line.

Across hardware, software and accessories, only Sony's PlayStation 3 platform saw an increase in sales in April year-to-year, while sales across Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii platforms declined, NPD said. Sales of just video-game hardware, including portable devices, fell 37% year over year to $249.3 million.

Video-game sales fell 26% to $766.2 million, software sales fell 22% to $512 million and accessories dropped 9% to $118.4 million.

The top-selling video game was Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction for the Xbox 360. Publisher Ubisoft released the game in April, and retailers sold more than 486,000 units.

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