April proves that Holiday sales aren’t everything

It was just a few short years ago that many, if not all of the gaming industry, were accustomed to the post-holiday game lull that would accompany the spring and summer seasons — during the months of January all the way through roughly July or August there were very few big name titles landing on store shelves. The powers that be decided that nobody was going to buy games in the spring or summer so there was simply no reason to push a title’s release date into that window. I mean, who wants to play games when the sun is out, right? Oh how naive we can be sometimes…

It would now appear that those feelings were completely unwarranted, and this past month of April may be looked back on for years to come as proof that if a game is marketed and anticipated already, there’s no reason why a title can’t do extremely, extremely well. Last month saw the release of Mario Kart Wii, as well as a little game called Grand Theft Auto IV for both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. These three titles accounted for over 4 million sales in just one month’s time. Check out the sales breakdown below:

  • 1. Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360) – 1,850,000
  • 2. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo Wii) – 1,120,000
  • 3. Grand Theft Auto IV (PlayStation 3) – 1,000,000
  • 4. Wii Play (Wii) – 360,000
  • 5. Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Wii) – 326,000
  • 6. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (PS3) – 224,000
  • 7. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Darkness (DS) – 202,000
  • 8. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Time (DS) – 202,000
  • 9. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) – 152,000
  • 10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360) – 141,000

Now, that’s not all, because if you really want to break down the numbers you’ll remember that GTA 4 was released on April 29th. That means the game had just two days in the month of April in which to muster the sales numbers that appear on this chart. That equates to 2.85 million copies of a $60+ title sold in just two days. Those are certainly some respectable sales numbers, especially given the fact that “nobody buys games in April”…

It looks like the NPD feels the same way, as their analyst Anita Frazier comments, “It’s unusual for three games to exceed the 1-million mark in a non-holiday month which just goes to prove that great content can succeed regardless of when it is launched.” How right you are Anita, how right you are.