Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 12, 2010

NPD February 2010: Today, Malstrom becomes Anita Fraizer

*dons a wig*

“Hello, everyone! I am Anita Fraizer. I am here to “analyze” the NPD numbers for Feb. 2010:

PlayStation 2 101.9K
PlayStation 3 360.1K
PSP 133.4K
Xbox 360 422.0K
Wii 397.9K
Nintendo DS 613.2K

BIOSHOCK 2* 360 TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE Feb-10 562.9K
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. WII WII NINTENDO OF AMERICA Nov-09 555.6K
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2* 360 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Nov-09 314.3K
JUST DANCE WII UBISOFT Nov-09 275.4K
SPORTS RESORT W/ WII MOTION PLUS* WII NINTENDO OF AMERICA Jul-09 272.5K
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2* PS3 ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Nov-09 252.8K
MASS EFFECT 2 360 ELECTRONIC ARTS Jan-10 246.5K
DANTE’S INFERNO: DIVINE EDITION PS3 ELECTRONIC ARTS Feb-10 242.5K
DANTE’S INFERNO 360 ELECTRONIC ARTS Feb-10 224.7K
HEAVY RAIN PS3 SONY Feb-10 219.3K

(*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

Overall

“Oh no! The Industry is having decreased sales! How can I spin this? I know! I will say that unit sales declines are greater than the dollar sales. So, in other words, the Industry is not declining at all!

But gee, I thought the Industry would perform better this month. Nonetheless, strong new releases, and Easter gift-buying bodes well for Industry performance in March.”

Off stage in the audience, a viewer snarfing down popcorn turns to his friend. “Hey Billy Bob, since when has video games become gifts for Easter? I have heard of chocolate bunnies, colored eggs and chickens, but video games?”

Billy Bob just looked at the stage in disbelief. “Well, John John, I am attending this performance because I knew it would be a freakshow. Anita Fraizer doesn’t disappoint in suggesting that video game sales will surge because of Easter gift buying. Shh, let us listen to how the freak show concludes…”

Hardware

“Remember everyone, my analysis is only concerned with comparing this month’s of numbers compared to the same month one year ago in a very two dimensional way. Please do not tell anyone that this job could be completely performed by the most basic Pentium computer or even a TI-83 calculator. Just subtracting this month’s numbers to another group of numbers twelve months ago is deep analysis.

“What we must not do is mention the hardware shortages for the Wii that started in January and lingered throughout February. Whatever you do, fellow analysts, do NOT mention the Wii hardware shortage. Do NOT mention that the Wii pipeline for Christmas got completely obliterated in December causing the Wii to have the highest console sales of any month ever in NPD history. (And notice how I am trying to not mention this factoid. I intend to ignore it and just keep highlighting the software records for Modern Warfare 2.)

“However, if I point out that the Wii sales are down, I would be duty bound to mention the severe shortages. So I will just ignore the Wii altogether.

“Therefore, I will mention Xbox 360 and PS3. My God! Xbox 360 is doing so awesome! With a major release for it, it outsold the out-of-stock Wii by 25,000 units! This is amazing! This is incredible! I will note it in my calendar. It reminds me of the good old days when the Xbox 360 outsold the Wii with Halo 3 and the Industry had such hopes for the future.

“And let all us analysts keep praising how amazing the PlayStation 3’s sales are even though it is still in last place. It only loses every month. But when we analysts speak, we will say it wins every month. And PS3 sales are even more amazing with how supply restrained it is this month (even though it was never sold out online). Note how I will not mention Wii being supply restrained. You cannot be accused of distortion when you do not say what you do not want to say.”

And off stage, in the audience, Billy Bob says, “My goodness, John John. Do you think people are stupid enough to actually think the Xbox 360’s performance is actually good? It only barely peaks above a sold out system.”

And John John replies, “Well, Billy Bob, they keep thinking Playstation 3 is selling ‘fantastically’ even though it loses every month.”

“So what are they going to say when Wii gets back in stock and begins selling gigantic numbers again?”

“Oh Billy Bob! Haven’t you learned? After Wii broke all records in December 2009, analysts like Michael “Wii HD” Pachter tried to dismiss the highest console sales ever recorded in a single month to ‘Wal-Mart’s Special Deal’ even though the console sold out. And then he went around wildly trying to steer discussion as to ‘why third parties cannot sell on Wii’. If Wii is sold out, analysts praise the dismal performance of the HD Twins for outselling a sold out system in a snapshot of time. If Wii sells gangbusters, then analysts steer discussion that third parties cannot sell on the Wii. And when third parties sell big time on the Wii, analysts steer discussion that those games are ‘casuals’ and are not real games. The goalposts keep a’changing.”

“Shh, John John! There is more to the freakshow!”

Software

“Now it is time for software, everyone! I will ‘analyze’ the Top Ten list with the rigor of a five year. A five year has the capacity to count how many titles in the top ten list are for which platform. Oh, looky! There is three for one platform, three for another platform, and four for yet another platform. Oh boy, I am such an analyst!

“Let me talk about how best selling Modern Warfare 2 is. And watch how I do not mention Super Mario Brothers 5 at all even though Super Mario Brothers 5 outsold Modern Warfare 2 combined this month. Real analysts would think this is interesting how a 2d platformer could outsell a production quality stuffed high graphics bar first person shooter. But here in Game Industry Land, we ignore everything we do not want to talk about. It makes no sense for us to talk about Nintendo because everyone will just go to Malstrom for the answers anyway. Ho hum.

“Damn that ‘Let’s Dance!’ still being in the top ten. The longer it stays there, the harder it will be to say ‘Third party games don’t sell on Wii’ without the Internet laughing at us. Yes, I know the Internet is already laughing at us, but there is a line of absurdity of which there is no return. When Wii returns to selling gangbusters, what else could we possibly say?

“Note how I did not mention sales of Heavy Rain. Please do not look at those numbers. Please just look at Modern Warfare 2 and Bioshock 2’s numbers and repeat after me: The Game Industry is fine. The Game Industry is fine. The Game Industry is fine.”

The lights come on and the show concludes. Billy Bob and John John stand up and stretch their legs. “Damn, that was one freaky show! Nothing said made any sense! Talk about a trippy experience!”

“Same time next month?”

“Of course.”

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