January 2011 NPD report: We all just got served

I always considered sales to be the lowest possible form of gaming conversation, but with NPD eliminating numbers from their public reports, it’s more like a pure representation of what the popular trends are in gaming.

And that trend is dance. Four games in the software top ten for January were dance games: Just Dance 2 (#2), Zumba Fitness (#5), Dance Central (#8), and Michael Jackson: The Experience (#9). While peripheral rocking may be on the way out, the music genre as a whole is alive and well, in fact you could argue that the dance games of today are the new band games of yesteryear, grossing exorbitant revenue and achieving a massive base. However, it signals that our medium of interactive entertainment is being taken over by genres we would not traditionally call video games and titles that simply don’t appeal to us. As the Japanese say, “it can’t be helped,” and I guess it’s a good thing overall if cores games are still financially healthy.

And indeed they are. Dead Space 2 (#3), Little Big Planet 2 (#4), and DC Universe Online (#10) made their debut in the top ten the same month as launching. Michael Jordan’s tongue-lashing exploits in NBA 2K11 (#6) returned, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (#7) snuck around and Call of Duty: Black Ops claimed the top spot, nearly three months after launch. This figure is augmented as all platforms are combined into one figure, so I can’t comment on how much that Nintendo DS port contributed.

Also absent are console figures, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from their customary spin installment. While both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are performing better than this time last year, Microsoft revealed 381,000 units sold, proclaiming the 360 as “the leading game console in 2011,” a statement which is pretentious after only January, unsubstantiated without any regional qualifier, and probably wrong considering the Nintendo DS is very much a game console, regardless of what Aaron Greenberg wishes you believed.

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