Retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories in the US declined 25% in March 2012, compared to the same month a year ago, according to market researcher NPD Group.
Videogame industry sales at brick-and-mortar retail stores in the country totalled $1.1bn year-over-year in March, showing the downward sales trend started a few months back.
The decline in video game sales marked the fourth month of decrease as electronics manufacturer Sony’s new PS Vita handheld failed to spark a turnaround in the industry.
Electronic Arts’s ‘Mass Effect 3’ emerged as the top-selling game for the month, marking the first month this year where a new title took the top spot.
In February, Activision Blizzard’s ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’ war-simulation shooter was the top game, which had been released late last year.
Capcom USA’s thriller shooter ‘Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City,’ was the second-best-selling game, followed by Sony’s ‘MLB 12: The Show’ baseball game.
Microsoft‘s Xbox 360 was the top-selling console again in March, continuing a trend that is expected to persist with the April release of Star Wars-branded Xbox to go along with its ‘Star Wars Kinect’ arm-swinging, lightsaber dueling game.
Subscription cards and accessory toys for Activision’s ‘Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure’ came at seven of the top ten accessories sold, but sales of accessories, such as gift cards were down by 8% to $222.5m.
Sales of used and mobile games, rentals, subscriptions, additional content and money made from social networking games accounted between $2.5 bn to $2.7bn in uncounted revenue from across the UK, Germany, France and the US, in the first quarter.
In total, game sales decreased a quarter to $553.1, while sales of consoles and other devices declined 35% to $323.5m.
The research firm said retail sales, however, were particularly hard hit by declining video game hardware sales.
NPD analyst Anita Frazier said while it was a disappointing month and first quarter for new physical retail sales of video games hardware, software and accessories, it was not entirely unexpected given guidance the firm has seen from several sources.