March NPD: PS3 barely loses lead over Xbox 360, Nintendo continues to dominiate

It’s that time of the month again, when I plow through the NPD numbers and try to make sense of each of the big three’s press releases.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 continues to have a good run, though they just barely lost the lead they had over the Xbox 360 for the past two months. The March NPD shows sales of 257,000 PS3s vs 262,000 Xbox 360s. Sony attributes this continued success to strong software sales. In March, over 1.9 million units of software were sold, putting them up almost 140% over last year’s numbers. I’d guess this is only the start for them.

Likewise, the PSP continues to kick ass, outselling both the Xbox 360 and PS3 with about 297,000 units sold in March. Sony says that Crisis Core and God of War were the two best-selling portable games in March.

Microsoft’s only system reclaimed that number 2 spot from Sony, and they attribute that to improved stock supply. They say that they plan to have fully stocked stores before the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. In March, both Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and Army of Two rocked software sales chart, showing that Xbox 360 is the king of multiplayer action. I think gamers will keep that in mind when they pick up GTA IV.

Oh, Nintendo. Of all of the press releases, theirs is the shortest. It basically says “we won.” You won’t be surprised to hear that the Wii and DS were the number 1 and 2 selling systems in March, with numbers of about 720k and 700k respectively. You also won’t be surprised to hear that Super Smash Bros. Brawl was the best selling game of March. Moving on — nothing new to see here.

Prediction time: 

As for the near future, I don’t expect Nintendo to lose much of their lead. They still have Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit up their sleeves. Of course, Sony has Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and GTA IV coming up, and MGS 4 is also looming. And speaking of GTA IV, Microsoft is probably going to see near-record numbers when that is released. I think that both April and March are pretty open, but I don’t see Nintendo losing their lead any time soon either. Who are you giving it to in April? 

PS3 Sales Up Nearly 100% Year-Over-Year; PS3 Momentum Continues

Total PlayStation Hardware Unit Sales Top 770,794

PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) continued the strong momentum with 257,120 units sold in March. (according to NPD March 2008 sales data). This represents a year-over-year sales growth of over 98%. More than 1.9 million software units were sold for PS3 in March, representing a year-over-year growth of 139.2%.

  • The Season of Monster Titles Has Begun: The April releases of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and Grand Theft Auto IV kick off the waterfall of blockbusters coming to PS3 this year, including the exclusive titles Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2 and SOCOM: Confrontation to name a few. These mega hits combined with enthusiasm for Blu-ray promise to further drive PS3 sales throughout 2008.
  • PLAYSTATION®Network Continues to Thrive: In North America, there are over than 3.7 million registered PLAYSTATION Network accounts and more than 67 million pieces of content have been downloaded from PLAYSTATION Store to date.


PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) continued to boast strong sales with 297,011 PSP hardware units sold in March, up 22.1% over the previous month and representing a sales increase of 65% growth year-over-year. Sales were fueled by the of recent exclusive blockbuster releases of God of War: Chains of Olympus and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the two best-selling handheld games in the month of March.


PlayStation®2 (PS2) also had an excellent month in March with hardware unit sales reaching 216,485 units. The PLAYSTATION exclusive hit title MLB® 08 THE SHOW™ debuted as the top-selling title for PS2 in March.

PD Reports Nintendo Finished March with Top Game, Top Hardware

In March, Nintendo again defined industry momentum in both home and portable video games sales, according to the independent NPD Group, which monitors retail activity in the video game industry. More than 720,000 Wii systems sold in March, representing the highest monthly sales total outside of holiday months (November or December) to date, while Nintendo DS also sold through nearly 700,000 systems.

Nintendo also finished with the top-selling U.S. game of March. Super Smash Bros.® Brawl, which launched March 9, came in at No. 1 with 2.7 million units sold.

Nintendo systems represented 58 percent of all video game hardware sold in March in the United States, said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of Americas executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. We expect our momentum to continue with big upcoming game launches like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit.

Other March U.S. statistics, according to NPD, include:

  • Three Wii games finished in the top 10, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl at No. 1, Wii Play at No. 4, and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock at No. 7.
  • Nintendo DS has now sold more than 19 million units in the United States alone since it launched in November 2004.


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Dale North
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