Revenues from US video games sales dropped more than expected in March, down 17% from a year ago, according to the NPD Group; the first real sign of the current economic climate affecting the resilient video game industry.
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Overall sales totaled $1.43 billion compared to $1.72 billion a year ago. For the entire first quarter, revenues remained flat at $4.25 billion.
While analysts were surprised by the drop, NPD’s Anita Frazier was quick to point out multiple circumstances contributed. "While it might be tempting to jump to the conclusion that the sky is starting to fall on the video games industry given this month's results, it's important to remember that two very big things are different this year than last. First, Easter fell in March last year whereas it fell in April this year, and last March included the release of Super Small Bros.: Brawl, which went on to become the fourth best-selling game in 2008."
Nintendo led the pack in hardware sales with the Wii and DS holding the top two spots, followed by the Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, and PS2 in that order.
Resident Evil 5 was the top selling game, moving approximately 1.5 million copies between the PS3 and Xbox 360.