The NPD numbers for February are out, and while overall software sales across the industry continued to fall, a handful of big hits managed to perform quite well.
EA and Visceral Games’ Dead Space 3 doesn’t seem to have been hurt by its mixed critical reception and fan backlash over its use of microtransactions: the game was the best-selling title in February, finally edging out Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 for the top spot. There were rumors going around earlier this month that Dead Space 3 was selling poorly, rumors which EA flat-out denied; seems like EA was telling the truth, and from the looks of it, the Dead Space franchise is as strong as it ever was, microtransactions or not. Fellow EA published FPS Crysis 3 managed to round out the top 3.
Konami and Platinum Games’ Metal Gear Rising managed a very strong debut in fifth place, just behind NBA 2K13, which continues to sell well despite being five months old.
Strangely, Sega and Gearbox’s much hated Aliens: Colonial Marines still managed to sell enough copies to come in sixth this month, despite being lambasted by critics and fans alike. While the game was criticized for having dumb AI, terrible level designs, and boring multiplayer, it seems that those criticisms fell on deaf ears, as a lot of people seem to have bought the game based on their love of the Aliens franchise and Gearbox’s pedigree. While it’s disappointing to hear that such a bad game managed to sell so well, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the copies of Colonial Marines that were sold this month end up getting traded back in and become permanent fixtures on Gamestop’s used game shelves before Summer rolls around.
While Nintendo hasn’t had the greatest financial luck lately, the company did score some minor victories in February: Wii U console sales were up forty percent over the system’s abysmal January performance, and the latest Fire Emblem for 3DS is now the fastest-selling title in the series’ history. While the strategy RPG didn’t move enough copies to crack the NPD’s Top 10, Nintendo is boasting that Fire Emblem: Awakening managed to sell 180,000 copies in the US in February, in addition to the 1.2 million copies that the game sold in Japan since it’s release there. About 60,000 of the units Fire Emblem sold were distributed digitally via the Nintendo 3DS e-shop, which the NPD doesn’t count in their sales rankings.
The full top 10 list for February is as follows:
- Dead Space 3
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
- Crysis 3
- NBA 2K13
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- Aliens: Colonial Marines
- Just Dance 4
- Far Cry 3
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
- Madden NFL 13
Looking ahead to next month, March’s NPD chart is sure to be filled with big hits: while March used to be a dead period for the industry, this year it’s home to some of the year’s biggest titles, such as Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, all of which are guaranteed to be big sellers. It’ll be interesting to see if SimCity’s negative reception ends up hurting its sales, or if it ends up repeating Aliens: Colonial Marines surprise success. There’s also some big handheld releases in March as well, including Capcom’s latest version of Monster Hunter, as well as Nintendo’s highly anticipated sequel to Luigi’s Mansion, which will hopefully keep up the hot streak that the 3DS has been on lately.