Game Sales Took a Nosedive in April, NPD Group Says

Old Man Winter made an early exit this year in may parts of the country, and perhaps the unexpected sunshine led to gamers discovering things to do outside the house. Whatever the reason, by the time April rolled around, videogame sales were on a sharp decline, dropping a whopping 32 percent to $630.4 million in the U.S., according to NPD Group's data.

Breaking it down by category, software sales plummeted 42 percent to $307.2 million, a figure that includes PC and console games, and related hardware dropped 32 percent to $189.7 million. If not Old Man Winter, go ahead and blame the Easter Bunny.

"This year, Easter fell very early in April, which means most Easter-related purchases may have fallen into March this year, whereas last year, Easter fell late in April causing most sales to fall in that month," NPD analyst Anita Frazier surmises, according to "We usually find that Easter-related purchases generate an extra 10 percent in revenue in the month they occur, so some of the softness compared to last April could be attributed to the shift in Easter timing."

Even though April was a rough month for the games industry, Microsoft found reason to celebrate with its Xbox 360 console taking pole position as the best-selling console in the U.S. for the 16th consecutive month.

Microsoft took the news in stride, reminding folks that the "Xbox 360 continues to hold the number one spot in the U.S., selling more units in April than any other console; marking the 16th consecutive month as the best-selling console" in the country. According to NPD Group's data, Microsoft sold 236,000 Xbox 360 consoles in April, while Kinect Star Wars was the No. 1 title for the month.