Video game sales slump with Wii U failing to make impact

February was another tough month for the video game industry as sales for hardware, software, and accessories continued to decline year-over-year, according to the NPD Group.

On the hardware front, "new platforms like the Wii U and PS Vita demonstrated some momentum from the typical January hardware lull with increases of over 40 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively," NPD industry analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement.

Still, that puts Wii U sales at about 64,000 for the month, lower than any numbers for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, according to Gamasutra.

The Xbox 360 continued its reign on top, marking the nineteenth straight month the platform has led hardware sales. Microsoft is expected to unveil a new Xbox at E3 in June, while Sony has the PS4 on tap for the holiday season.

On the software side, new games launched during the month collectively performed worse than those released in February 2012, with unit sales down 30 per cent. Dead Space 3 was the top-selling title in February, followed by Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Crysis 3, NBA 2K13, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Rounding out the top 10 were Aliens: Colonial Marines, Just Dance 4, Far Cry 3, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, and Madden NFL 13.

Total video game sales fell 25 per cent from $1.09 billion (£720 million) in February 2012 to $810 million (£537 million) last month, the research firm said in a new report. New hardware sales saw the steepest declines, falling 36 per cent from $382.9 million (£253 million) to $244.2 million (£162 million), while software sales fell 27 per cent, from $484 million (£320 million) to $352 million (£233 million). Adding PC games into the mix, total video game software sales decreased from $508.8 million (£337 million) a year ago to $369.9 million (£245 million) last month.

Video game accessories fared a little better, decreasing just three per cent from $219.7 million (£146 million) in February 2012 to $213.9 million (£142 million) last month.

These figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software, and accessories, which account for about 50 per cent of total consumer spend on games. The firm estimates that other physical format sales, such as used and rentals, totaled $90 million (£60 million), while digital format sales, including full-game and add-on content downloads of mobile apps and social network games, totalled $319 million (£211 million). This brings total consumer spend on games in February to just under $1.2 billion (£800 million), Callahan said.