The launch of the Nintendo DSi appears to have been the sole saving grace of the video game industry in the U.S. during April, according to NPD Group sales data.
The new Nintendo handheld helped the DS platform move more than a million units in April, almost double what the Nintendo DS sold during March. The million-plus figure is also an improvement over the platform's performance from April 2007, when the DS sold a comparatively paltry 414,800 units in the United States.
Also showing signs of improvement was the $US99 PlayStation 2, which sold 172,000 units last month.
And that's the good news.
The bad news is that every other platform was down. Sales of the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were down. Both on a month-to-month and year-over-year sense.
- Nintendo DS - 1,040,000
- Wii - 340,000
- Xbox 360 - 175,000
- PlayStation 2 - 172,000
- PlayStation 3 - 127,000
- PSP - 116,000
"The big story for the month is the performance of portable game hardware sales as propelled by the release of Nintendo's DSi. The NDS platform accounted for 31 percent of total industry unit sales this month across all categories."
"Also notable is the performance of the PS2 which is now at the budget-friendly price point of $US99. Compared to March 2009, the PS2 sales rate almost doubled when comparing the two months on a same-week basis. This is a testament to the impact a price reduction can have on hardware acquisition, with price being only second to compelling new content as a catalyst for hardware sales."
"Overall weakness in hardware sales other than the DS and PS2 platforms is likely to capture a lot of attention this month, particularly year-over-year decline of Wii sales. It is important to remember that last April, Wii hardware sales were fuelled by two huge new titles: Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart. Taking that into account, Wii unit sales are still very strong and only followed the DS this month in terms dollar and unit sales contribution to total industry sales."