Xbox 360 continued to dominate U.S. hardware sales in January 2013, while Wii U reportedly fell well short of expectations in its third month of availability.
Microsoft’s console was the top-selling gaming platform (home and handheld systems) in North America for the 18th consecutive month, while it led home console sales for a 25th straight month. According to NPD retail data released by Microsoft, Xbox 360 sold 281,000 units in January to command a 44 per cent share of "current-generation console sales".
Nintendo and Sony didn’t publicly release hardware sales data, but the outlook appears gloomy for Wii U. While analysts had forecast between 110,000 and 125,000 sales for the console last month, a Gamasutra source said to have access to NPD data claimed the console sold "well under" 100,000 units. Based on available data, the site estimated that Wii U moved between 45,000 and 59,000 units last month – “lower than any of the three previous-generation home consoles sold in their worst months, with the possible exception of a recent performance by the original Wii”.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was the best-selling game in the States in January, ahead of Far Cry 3 and Just Dance 4, while DMC: Devil May Cry debuted at No.6 and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch made its chart bow at No.11. NPD said that the PS3 exclusive ranked seventh on an individual SKU basis.
Total games industry sales at US retail last month came in at $834.7 million, up nine per cent from January 2012. However, as NPD analyst Liam Callahan explained: “As NPD and most retailers follow the National Retail Federation calendar, the January 2013 reporting period will include the required ‘Leap Week’ and is, therefore, a five week period. Overall retail video game sales (hardware, software, and accessories), would be down 13 per cent, instead of up 9 per cent, if sales were normalized to account for the 5-week January.”