NPD Group reports 27 percent drop in hardware sales year-over-year

The NPD Group, a firm which tracks the sales of physical goods in the video games industry, reports hardware sales fell 27 percent year-over-year in 2012.

The annual 2012 dollar sales for video game hardware was $4.04 billion, which represents a 27 percent decline from the $5.57 billion brought in by hardware sales during 2011. In December alone, year-over-year hardware sales fell 20 percent, from $1.33 billion in Dec. 2011 to $1.05 billion during the same period of 2012.

The report also says that physical retail sales for software declined 23 percent during 2012, falling from $8.69 billion to $6.71 billion year-over-year. The NPD Group doesn't track digital software sales, however, making this a less ideal method of tracking the industry's relative health.

While the NPD Group did not release the annual sales figures for the consoles, data on the sales performance of hardware in December, 2012 was made available.

The annual 2012 dollar sales for video game hardware was $4.04 billion, which represents a 27 percent decline from the $5.57 billion brought in by hardware sales during 2011.

In Dec. 2012 in North America the Xbox 360 sold 1.4 million units, down 17.6 percent from the same time the previous year when the console sold 1.7 million units.

Sales of the Nintendo Wii also fell, with the Wii selling 475,000 units this past December (a 55.2 percent drop from 2011's 1.06 million units). Official figures for PlayStation 3 sales have not been released, but Microsoft said with the release of its Xbox 360 figures that the console sold "more than double the amount of the second place console in the U.S. in the month of December), which would suggest that the PS3 sold fewer than 700,000 units. This figure has not been confirmed by Sony and Polygon has reached to get an actual number.

Sales for the Nintendo 3DS and DS also fell, with the 3DS shipping 1.25 million units in December (a drop of 21.8 percent) and the DS selling 479,000 (down 25.4 percent).

The Wii U sold 460,000 units in its first December, which is 24 percent less than what the original Wii sold in its first December in 2006 (604,200). Despite the lower figure, Nintendo boasted that the Wii U made $30 million more than the Wii in its first December, but it is worth noting that the Wii released in the U.S. in 2006 priced at $249.99, while the Wii U's Basic model starts at $299.99, with the far more popular Deluxe model selling for $349.99.

We have reached out to the NPD Group for the annual console sales figures.

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