NPD: Xbox sales jump amid hardware downturn

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 managed to buck trends in March by becoming the only console to enjoy a year-on-year sales boost.

The Xbox 360 sold 330,000 units across North America in March; a figure which Microsoft was pleased to explain accounted for a 25 per cent year-on-year sales increase. The system’s peers, meanwhile, all saw negative growth.

Wii sales stood at 601,000 while combined DS systems took 563,000. Although both results show year-on-year declines, Nintendo’s home and handheld systems once again proved to be more popular than the competition.

Sony’s systems struggled to keep up with the pack, with around 218,000 PS3 units and 168,000 PSPs sold through March. The PS2, meanwhile, had a very small window of time to make an impression from its recent discount to $99, and is the fifth console to take a year-on-year loss for the month.

If there was one area that surprised me this month, it was hardware sales,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. While it’s not unusual for March hardware sales to be lower than February, I thought we’d see higher unit sales on most platforms. The Xbox 360 was the only platform to achieve a year-over-year unit sales increase."

It’s important to keep in mind that the Super Smash Bros. Brawl effect from last year impacted hardware sales as well,” she added, so while the year-over-year comps are down for the Wii, the sales are still impressive."

Full NPD hardware figures for March 2009:

Wii – 601,000
DS – 563,000
Xbox 360 – 330,000
PS3 – 218,000
PSP – 168,000
PS2 – 112,000

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