The Easter Bunny loves video games, apparently.
Holiday sales contributed to a big rebound in video game sales during April, according to NPD’s closely watched sales report.
Sales of physical video games, hardware and accessories rose 20 percent in the month, to $961.2 million in the U.S., reversing a downward trend earlier in the year.
Maybe the bunny also likes to play Valve’s “Portal 2.” It went on sale April 19, but was still the month’s second-best selling game, after “Mortal Kombat 2011.” Altogether sales of game disks rose 26 percent, to $503.2 million. It was the first time since November that sales of games software rose by dollars and unit volume, NPD said in its release.
“Easter purchasing occurred in April this year as opposed to March last year,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in arelease. “The Easter timing shift could explain about $60 million of the growth, but even accounting for that shift, sales of new physical product realized a notable increase vs. last year.”
Sales of game hardware rose 3 percent by unit, but people bought more expensive gear, so total sales were up 12 percent. That’s probably because people were buying Xbox 360 bundles with Kinect and PlayStation 3 units, and fewer Nintendo Wiis, as rumors were circulating in April that a price cut and replacement model were coming.
Of the different platforms, the Xbox 360 generated the most physical game sales, with 3.5 million Xbox titles sold during the month.
Microsoft provided more details, noting that it sold 297,000 Xbox consoles in April, when sales were up 60 percent over the previous year. It said Kinect is driving momentum, and the company will triple the lineup of Kinect games by the end of the year. So far “Kinect Sports” has sold more than 3 million copies and “Dance Central” has sold more than 2.5 million.
Xbox spokesman David Dennis said Kinect sales still have momentum from the holidays. Sales are also continuing as people try the system at friends’ homes and then buy one for themselves, he said.
Sony’s statement noted that PS3 sales are up 13 percent and sales of games for the console rose 40 percent.
The top-selling accessory was the Xbox 1600 point game card, and the top new accessory was Sony’s “Socom 4: Full Deployment Bundle” for the PS3, which includes a Move controller and Sharpshooter rifle frame plus the Socom game from Redmond’s Zipper Interactive.
NPD noted that “Socom 4” would have made the top 10 games list if sales of the Deployment bundle were counted with game software sales.
Here are the top 10 games, in physical format, sold during April:
Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3, 360)
Portal 2 (360, PS3, PC)
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, NDS, 360, 3DS, PS3, PC)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters (360, PS3, Wii)
Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC)
Just Dance 2 (Wii)
Michael Jackson The Experience (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, PSP)
Pokemon White Version (NDS)
NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)