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Microsoft pulls off shocker in NPD Group report for February 2011

David Hughes's picture

The NPD Group report for video game hardware and software sales in February 2011 is just now emerging, but the first details are considerably different from what was expected, with the Xbox 360 as number one and casual titles like Zumba Fitness outperforming key AAA releases.

Many other details are revealed in the NPD Group's report for February 2011, but the big story is an absolute shocker from Microsoft: they shifted a whopping 535,000 units of the Xbox 360 in its various forms. According to Gamasutra this is the company's best month ever outside of the holiday period (October-December). This is considerably different from the picture HULIQ had predicted based on its data sources, which had shown the Xbox 360 declining from last month to 350,000 units. HULIQ is still very new at this and we are working to improve our data sources; that said, we have no interest in trying to hide our mistakes.

The hardware market as a whole was up 10 percent year over year to $466.9 million. Nintendo revealed that its Wii console sold 454,000 units, a 14 percent increase. Sony has not shared its numbers, but the NPD did say that they had seen a year-over-year increase as well.

Also worth taking a look at is the top 10 software chart, which also differs from our prediction. The software market as a whole saw an 8 percent decline, based on a fewer number of new releases - but those that did release did well. Sales on console games were up 2 percent, with most of the total decline coming from a difficult month for portable games (which will almost certainly change next month when the 3DS hits).

The NPD Group's report for February 2011 has the following chart:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  2. Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
  3. Just Dance 2
  4. NBA 2K11
  5. Dead Space 2
  6. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party
  7. Bulletstorm
  8. Killzone 3
  9. Michael Jackson: The Experience
  10. Mario Sports Mix

HULIQ's original prediction, for the record, was this:

  1. Killzone 3
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  3. Bulletstorm
  4. Zumba Fitness
  5. Just Dance 2
  6. Marvel vs Capcom 3
  7. Dead Space 2
  8. Michael Jackson: The Experience
  9. NBA 2K11
  10. Red Dead Redemption

Though some relational differences are to be expected, this is a rather different picture - particularly in the case of Killzone 3 and Bullestorm. Another surprise entry was Mario Sports Mix, which barely made a splash in HULIQ's data stream outside of a very few days just after its release. The major gap in our data currently is mass-market retail (e.g. Best Buy, Wal Mart, etc.) where such titles often do well. We are striving to offer value with our weekly tracking chart and hope that next month our data will more closely mirror the NPD Group's report. Meanwhile, it does no one any good to ignore where we made incorrect predictions.

Notable observations provided by Gamasutra include the fact that Call of Duty: Black Ops has become the best-selling game in history.

Surprises in the NPD charts? Surprised at some of our predictions, if you hadn't seen them when they first appeared? Share in the comments!

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