The video game industry finally ended its sales slump. But there's a catch.
According to data from the NPD Group, physical video game sales totaled $834.7 million in January, up 9% compared to the same time period last year.
However, that haul carries an important caveat. The NPD Group follows the National Retail Federation's calendar, which adds a "Leap Week" every few years when reporting sales. As a result, results are based on a five-week period instead of four weeks.
"Retail video game sales ... would be down 13 percent, instead of up 9 percent, if sales were normalized to account for the 5-week January," says NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan in a statement.
The Xbox 360 marked its 25th straight month as the top-selling home console, selling 281,000 during January. Neither Nintendo nor Sony released monthly numbers. Last week, Nintendo announced sales of its Wii U console sold 3 million worldwide.
Overall, hardware sales were up 4%, but when adjusted to factor the five-week period, they actually finished down 17%.
As for software, Activision's first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the best-selling game last month, followed by Ubisoft shooter Far Cry 3 and music title Just Dance 4. The complete top 10 (publisher in parentheses):
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Activision)
2. Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
3. Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft)
4. NBA 2K13 (Take-Two Interactive)
5. Madden NFL 13 (Electronic Arts)
6. DMC: Devil May Cry (Capcom)
7. Halo 4 (Microsoft)
8. Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft)
9. Skylanders Giants (Activision)
10. FIFA Soccer 13 (Electronic Arts)
Callahan says an additional $141 million was spend on used and rented video games, while $382 million went toward sales of digital video game content such as mobile games and downloadable content.
- Brett Molina, USA TODAY