"When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in March such as used and rentals at $190 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including micro-transactions, subscriptions, mobile apps, and the consumer spend on social network games at $670 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in March to be just under $1.9 billion," NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement.
It's important to note that NPD Group's data doesn't reflect a dime's worth of digital sales, such as those from Steam, Xbox Live Marketplace, Origin, and other digital distribution platforms.
On the hardware side, NPD Group said the tally came to $221.6 million, representing a 32 percent decline in spending, and possibly a reflection that gamers are waiting for next generation console launches. Portable platforms were hit especially hard in March, except for Nintendo's 3DS handheld, sales of which grew percent year-over-year. Once again, Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the top selling console, adding another 261,000 unit sales last month in the U.S.
Non-PC software sales were flat at $554.8 million (-1 percent). Here's a look at the most popular titles:
- BioShock Infinite (X360, PS3, PC)
- Tomb Raider (X360, PS3)
- Gears of War: Judgment (X360)
- God of War: Ascension (PS3)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II (X360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
- MLB13: The Show (PS3, PS Vita)
- NBA 2K13 (X360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
- The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (X360, PS3, Wii U)
- Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (X360, PS3)
"March 2013 launches generated close to 70 percent more dollar sales per SKU than last year," Callahan added. "The performance of new launches was a major driver of the overall software growth for this month, with games launching in March 2013 selling over 40 percent more units than new launches in March 2012. There were positive trends for new launches that were seen across consoles, portables, and PC."
Be sure to read our reviews and analysis of the top two selling games, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider.