The past four generational cycles are covered corresponding to this year
Reminder: 2016 = 2009, 2004, 1999, 1994, (and 1989?).
I will work to make this OP more legible with edits, proofreading, bolding etc. Appreciate everyone's support by making posts. I may break up the images instead of combining all months. We've just been in the dark too long guys especially with data from the '90s.
More commentary to be added soon, some of which I'm using is old and just covers Nintendo consoles but I expect to continue to expand that to give more detail/info of all the major players.
The Wii has just come off of a record setting Christmas (Nov+Dec) selling 4.2m consoles, NoA’s greatest holiday season ever and all that with shortages! This month we see it sell almost 700k in this first month post-season, incredible, we’ve never seen something like this before in the videogame market. Anywhere. Ever. To make matters more mind blowing the DS handheld sold 4.6m units over the holiday season, outdoing last Holiday DS record of 4.0m. By comparison the best holiday season the GBA ever achieved was 3.4m in ’03 (and 3.1m for the GBC in ’00). As per Iwata’s dream the DS and Wii have truly propelled Nintendo to Heaven.
The X360 this month is also coming off of its best holiday yet, having sold 2.3m over Nov+Dec. The system continues to perform like a beast following last fall’s price drops on all three models (Arcade, Pro, Elite). Gears of War 2 was the big exclusive reaching 2.4m as of the end of January however Call of Duty: World at War was the holiday winner overall and sold the most by far on the X360 with just under 3m as of January, again that's just the X360 version. CoD: World at War has sold 4.2m between the two HD consoles. Activison has also risen to Heaven thanks to the insane and never slowing popularity of the annual Call of Duty iteration.
For third-place-Sony and its PS3 this Christmas, sales were down from last with 1.1m PS3s selling versus 1.3m last year. In Nov Sony released a new 160GB model at $499, this came after price to drops to $399 last Sept of previous models plus the discontinuing of the 40GB model. It lookt like a price increase for PS3 lol. Still the PS3 largely remains out of the price range of gamers in comparison to the other consoles making the X360 the choice amongst gamers this generation. The PS3 did see a large sales boost this past year with MGS: Guns of the Patriots released in June but since no titles of a similar tier or hype have seen a release keeping the system in the third place slot. The highest selling title was CoD: World at War at about 1.2m sold by Jan. Over Nov+Dec the second best seller was Sony’s own creative venture, LittleBigPlanet, selling 610,000 by the end of the year.
The PSP moved 1.4m units, down from 1.6m last Nov+Dec.
PS2 lead the holiday period selling 2.8m systems down from the 4.0m record setting season before. The system saw a load of new million sellers over the holiday breaking 1m or soon to reach it: Need For Speed Underground (#1 holiday seller), True Crime, Madden 04, SOCOM II, Final Fantasy X-2, NBA Live 04, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun.
The XB had a strong Jan after a strong holiday no doubt helped by that 2 freebie game bundle Microsoft releases every winter. This year it was an XBOX Live Holiday Bundle, that M$ uses to steel Christmas (from Gamecube) every year, however the XB actually was the third placemen this holiday, thanks to a GC comeback this year. XB sold 1.5m systems over Nov+Dec essentially unchanged from last holiday. The highest XB seller over X’mas was the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack selling 800,000.
GC was in comeback mode, the price drop to $99 (from $149) last fall boosted sales of the system to 1.9m over the holiday, nearly double last holiday which only saw 1m GCs sell. The system boosted by the price drop was also helped by the limited edition Zelda Collectors bundle released in Nov and sold out (for good) in Dec. Can Nintendo keep the momentum? It doesn’t look it with Jan #s as the Zelda bundle has run dry. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was the #1 holiday seller on the system with 1.26m sold over the season.
The GBA had its best holiday ever and was a record setter for handhelds in general (as mentioned above) with more than 3.4m GBAs sold in Nov+Dec when combining the GBA and SP models.
Despite much talk of an anticipated N64 comeback against its competition with Zelda: Ocarina of Time (a la DKC for SNES) and other releases, we’re not seeing that pan out this time around. Much laud needs to be given to Sony for instead pulling off an all-time record breaking Christmas. Sony sold an astounding 3.6m PSX units in Nov+Dec ousting last year’s record 3.1m! Not only fending off Nintendo but soundly solidifying its PSX console as the winner this generation. What seemed to be a neck-and-neck SNES vs GEN-esque console war in ’96 and ’97 has been replaced by an increasingly clear cut victor for Sony. The most profound sign of a who won Christmas are the post-holiday sales and PSX DOUBLED N64 sales this January. Sony holds a 4-5m LTD sales lead over N64 now. How did Sony do it with all the hype and with record breaking Zelda: OoT?
Firstly, cheap games, and lots of them. Ever since Fall ’97 Sony has been re-releasing its hits at just $20 while Nintendo won’t think about selling its “Player’s Choice” titles for less than $40. To be honest Nintendo’s own SW sales still sell bundles more than Sony’s at twice the price! Secondly, getting sequels out to their best hits in time for Christmas: Crash 3, Tomb Raider III, Twisted Metal III, Cool Borders 3, and GameDay ‘99. Plus the usual hit 3rd party hits: Madden, NBA Live, Nascar, plus kids stuff like A Bug’s Life, Rugrats, and the usual WWF title (War Zone was big this year). Thirdly, momentum from hits earlier in the year namely: Resident Evil 2, Tekken 3, Gran Turismo, RE: Director’s Cut, and Parasite Eve. Lastly, the increasingly critically-acclaimed masterpiece almost-on-par-with-Zelda: Meal Gear Solid. MGS while not selling boatloads like Zelda: OoT looks like it could come close as it performed very well in the January chart (at #5) after finishing the just shy of 1m last year. The title is showing legs.
The N64, as everyone probably knows now, Zelda: Ocarina of Time sold 2.1m last year. The uber-anticipated (and often delayed) masterpiece debuted with 640,000 in its opening week (Thanksgiving week), a record. The other much-anticipated title, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron performed exceptionally well, and remain at the top of the chart this month. The late-Dec release, South Park, continues to perform strongly on the N64 despite its mature audience. The same for Dec's Turok 2 release.
Nearer to the bottom, Castlevania 64, debuts in its first week with 39,000 sold; expect it to do well next month. Better than 1997’s Symphony of the Night, heh. And at the bottom, Banjo-Kazooie, released last June has broken 1.3m, nice. Go Rare go, not to mention GoldenEye’s unstoppable performance month after month, Rare just keeps churning out the hits. Never leave Nintendo, Rare, you two are the greatest couple gaming has ever seen :)
(I’m using a my old Dec 1993 write-up here)
This is the notorious Mortal Kombat and Genesis model 2 Christmas, Sega won it and pretty big. SNES had been ahead up to this point but after Christmas the two were now neck-and-neck, with a slight advantage Sega.
NPD data seems to suggest 1.2m SNES to 1.6m GEN sold in December. News reports from the time mention a 63%-37% gap between the two in Nov and Dec, that's based on the original raw data (65% of market, without Wal-mart) but actuals show the gap was not quite as wide but still a loser for Nintendo. It's time to stop pimping Mario and get us some killer apps, NoA! Literally ones that have killing :P.
About 1.6 - 1.7m SNES sold over Nov+Dec, in 1992 that number was 2.1m...down significantly given that 1993 was a record breaking year for gaming overall.
SNES was ahead much of the year until Sega expanded its distribution with outlet K-Mart (who had not sold Sega products up to this point) and just in time for the rollout of the Genesis 2 model in August. ONE MILLION Genesis 2 units were shipped in September alone! Sega announced in a PR. Oh and then this: Mortal Kombat [which sold some 2.2m that month!] plus a plethora of other follow-up hits: Sonic Spinball, Joe Montana '94, Aladdin, Jurassic Park (Raptor mode!), Madden '94, Eternal Champions, NHL 94 and more. These titles topped the charts selling between 500k to 1 million each by Christmas. ToeJam & Earl 2 was also a release but less successful. Meanwhile NoA's offerings were not nearly as rad and bodacious: NHL Stanley Cup, Super Empire Strikes Back, Secret of Mana [limited release], and the non-stop pimping of Super Mario All-Stars in commericals “FREE with an SNES purchase” until January! “You get FIVE Marios in One!!” ...That's really all Nintendo had, exclusive-wise.
Nintendo estimated 1.5m "All-Star" promos sold by the end of the year, 3 million were initially projected.
All-in-all later NPD data for the year suggests that 3.6m SNES sold to 4.0m GEN. LTD the two console are essentially tied around 9.2- 9.3m each, wow! Can you get any closer?
No commentary this month
This is the month of Resident Evil 5's release (at #1 and #4) on the HD consoles and Pokemon Platinum (#2) on DS. Oh and Halo Wars.
Surprisingly there are no major releases for the typically heavy, big-name Nintendo month of March...but there's really no need is there? with dat momentum.
Wii Fit (at #5) sells another half a million (541,000), one of its slower months :P the megahit from last Spring now sits in 6.5m American homes (and retirement centers), after just under a year on the market! The next Wii titles Wii Play (#8) and Mario Kart Wii (#9) at over a quarter million each continue into unknown 10 million+ territory while Mario Kart speeds pass the 5.7m mark].
Wii sells another incredible 600,000 this month, this may be the final month of shortages. We will see sales drop to a more "normal" pace after this month. Supply is able to reach the insane demand now three years after launch.
Pokemon Platinum performs similarly to Pokemon Emerald four years earlier which debuted with 890,000. The DSi model is about to launch next month.
This month sees the XBOX’s first #1 title, with Ninja Gaiden. The highest previous XB title debut was Madden 2004 last summer at #2.
GBA sales continue to be just mind blowing, last month the Platinum and Onyx SP colors were added and no doubt helping boost the system this month to nearly 500k. Last October’s release, Super Mario Advance 4 (SMB3), breaches 1m this month and last month’s release, Metroid: Zero Mission (which debuted at #3) closes in on 240,000. Can it reach 500k? By comparison Metroid Fusion has sold 870,000 at this point.
GameCube is coming off of the price drop to $99 last fall which gave the system a powerful boost over the second place rival XBOX. XB outsold GC by a mere 13,000 this month. GC LTD sits at 7.2m to XB 8.0m (and PS2 23m).
Pokémon Coliseum was the big March release (at #2) with 343,000 sold, just under Ninja Gaiden. If GAF memory serves, the March NPD report mentioned sales for Coliseum were a disappointment. Its predecessor, Pokemon Stadium, moved a million in March alone four years ago.
The Metal Gear Solid next-gen "remaster" Twin Snakes debuted (#7) with 122,000. Is this a disappointment? ...Given how popular the series had become (just the the two installments up to this point) and given the level of acclaim the first had received is this to be expected?
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! the big Christmas hit at #19 this month passed the 1.5m mark by the end of March.
Harvest Moon: another world (#20) debuted nicely with 68,000. The previous two Harvest Moons debuted poorly and largely unnoticed. The original HM on SNES sold no greater than 20,000 total while its N64 sequel was able to sell 10x as much.
Square's long anticipated return to Nintendo last month with Crystal Chronicles, the #1 seller in February (selling a quarter million), fell to #25 in March to surpass 305,000 LTD. FF titles never sold so quickly on a Nintendo console during the glory days heh (of course most games in general didn’t sell like this).
The January release of Sonic Heroes has pushed some good numbers for a Sonic spinoff on the system, totaling at over 330,000. Sega continues to do well on GC, Sonic Adventure 2 (battle) broke a million. It was a good choice to put Sonic on Nintendo continuing the popularity of the series long after its peak in the 16-bit days.
On PS2, we finally get Final Fantasy XI, nearly two years after its Japanese debut as the PS2 HDD (Hard Disc Drive) Network Adaptor launched March 23rd. FFXI is sold with the HDD adaptor (required to play) as Resident Evil Outbreak also launches with the adaptor (online play available but not required). Both see moderate sales, FFXI has been available for two weeks while RE:O is in its first week of availability (as seen on chart).
Mario Party! After debuting #1 last month with 213,000, sees another strong month performance selling 245,000. A new multiplayer party genre is born! Zelda 64 remains STRONG at #15 with close to 120,000 for the month topping 2.6m. GoldenEye sees no end, just under Zelda with 110,000 with a 3.9m LTD. On down the chart, the other X'mas megahit, Rogue Squadron (#15), sells 80,000 to become a million seller.
January's Castlevania 64 sits under 180,000 total in its third month, now compare this to Symphony of the Night which in its third month had only sold 76,000 Maybe some franchises are still better sellers on Nintendo consoles.
The much press-curious, Beetle Adventure Racing debuts under 40,000 (#46), we'll see how it fairs next month...
The N64 HW itself sells about half of PSX. LTDs for the two stand at 11m and 16m respectively.
Silent Hill, an early Feb release, became a sudden hit this month moving from #35 last month to #3 this month. Frogger and Crash 2, discounted last Sept, continue to dominate the PSX charts (Frogger will go on to sell 3m!). Tomb Raider II was recently discounted and shot up the chart this month (to #10). Sony’s new JRPG Legend of Legaia debuts at #28. The previous Sony published JRPG was SaGa Frontier released Mar last year (before Square EA took over) and has sold 117,000 up to this point. Expect an RPG LTD update in June.
My favorite era ;) March '94 was EXPLOSIVE, Jam-packed explosive. NBA Jam broke records with 1 million sold this month alone between the GEN and SNES (670k GEN to 410k SNES).
This is currently Genesis domination season ignited by the release of the Genesis 2 and Mortal Kombat last fall. The GEN has outsold the SNES since the release of the GEN2 last August thru this month. My data estimated 3.6m sold during these past eight month, and the best months the GEN will see. SNES sold 2.8m during the same time frame, the weakest performance during the fall-christmas-spring period for the system and a disappointment for Nintendo.
However the hype for Sega may be beginning to slow as new SNES pack-ins are planned (five actually!) over the next few months in addition to some games we want! Next month is Metroid 3...
A first sign of a Nintendo comeback comes in the stronger debut of NoA's new Ken Griffey title: at #5 MLB featuring Ken Griffey Jr. wins out with 45,000 sold to Sega's renown, World Series Baseball title (#9), which debuted this month with 32,000 sold.
Now guys, Mega Man X has fallen to #20 it deserves better yeah? The January release has pushed just 70,000 by the end of March. Meanwhile last month's expected megahit, Sonic 3 (#3 this month) has breached 400,000. Secret of Mana (#36) did not became available nationwide until January, The Octover ’93 release was a limited one with only about 50,000 or so available last year. The title is the most beautiful video game we have ever seen truly showcasing that gaming can be an art form. I hope more will pick up and experience this masterpiece On down the chart Castlevania: Bloodlines made a soft debut (at #43). It’s questionable how well a once Nintendo-console franchise can fare with the competition.
GEN HW sold 270,000 to SNES's 180,000 this month. We're looking at an incredibly close LTD: 9.8m to 9.6m !!! Aaaaah
to expand on non-Nintendo soon
Note: I'm going to write @ for LTD out of convenience.
When referencing the rank (#1) it's out of a SW chart of 50 best sellers.
APRIL 2009 - Wii:
The Post-Easter slowdown. Wii sales almost cut in half from 600k to 340k MoM along with all next-gen systems. I have in my notes: "post-Easter slowdown worse this year due to the [Great] Recession". The US [and world] went into recession last year, the stock market had crashed the previous fall...is this a factor in the slowing sales?
Wii Fit was No. 1 for the month reclaiming that spot having maintained it since last November (only ousted last month) to sell 471,000 this month and @ 7 million total, Wii Fit officially available one year now. 7m in a year, probably a record. Mario Kart (#3) sold 210,000 @ 5.9m total, Wii Play (#4) with 170,000 @ 10.6m total.
APRIL 2004 - GC
GC slows a bit for Spring and sells just under 100k this month (@7.3m), XB has 'dat surprise Easter price drop' from $179>149 and becomes the winner this month. XB sells 275,000 almost 100k more than PS2! The price drop ignites this year to become XBOX's strongest selling year, and at times even giving PS2 a run for its money. And this may have sealed the fate of the 'cube as the THIRD PLACE console, the gap between the GC and XB stands now at 1 million and will only grow from here on. Sorry Gahiggidy...
Pokémon Coliseum in its second month falls to #5 with 156,000 @ 500k. Harvest Moon falls to #33 @ 105k. Debuting at #39 is WarioWare Inc. with 35,000 and January's Sonic Heroes (#49) bottoms out the chart @ 365,000 LTD.
APRIL 1999 - N64:
N64 sells 120,000 to PSX's 215,000 (@ 11.3m to 16.1m LTD, respectively). The comeback expected with Zelda 64 failed to narrow the gap between the two, we're still looking at Sony doubling N64 each month.
February's hit, Mario Party , remains the highest seller on the console (#4 for the month) @ 590,000 LTD. The Nintendo all-star scuffle: Super Smash Bros. (#5) debuts nicely selling 120,000, and that is its opening week! Expect SSB to be a hit if not a long seller, sales are already about a million in Japan! EA's Beetle Adventure Racing (#9) sells 60,000 @ 99,000.
Other notables: Acclaims' All-Star Baseball 2000 (#12) debuts with 56,000. Super Mario 64 (#20) breaks 4.5 million, Mario Kart 64 (#23) is nearing 3.5m. SM64 and MK64 are just staples in the charts staying within the top 30 throughout the life of the system.
APRIL 1994 - SNES:
Likely in response to Sega's boom since the release of the Genesis 2 with Mortal Kombat last fall NoA begins bundling its hit titles to keep the SNES from continuing to get marginalized. Last month it was a Super Mario Kart "Super Set" this month a "control set" with Zelda, and next month we'll see a Star Fox super set. All in all the SNES sold 120,000 this month, NoA may have more effectively warded off the post-Easter crash than Sega did: The Genesis sales actually cut in half MoM selling 130,000 (to last month's 270,000). Congrats NIntendo? Or is Sega just taking a breather from all those TV ads?
Ken Griffey Jr. (#4) in its second month sold 75,000 @ 120,000. Sega's World Series Baseball (#2) also in its second month ousted it with 93,000 @ 125,000...can you get any closer?? Last month's "Boomshakalaka" NBA Jam slam dunk, approaches 1.3m LTD in just two month! With this and Mortal Kombat, Acclaim is ON FIRE.
SUPER METROID (#4) debuts with 58,000. This gem will sell over the slow spring until the hits start picking back up like Street Fighter (Super!) this summer, Oh and another FX chip game, Stunt Race. This and the upcoming Virtua Racing, arcade-like 3D gaming is on its way!
I just noticed that the SNES and N64 are selling lock-in step with each other and the GC just below them. Similar patterns
-removed, damn out of space-
And this month! JUN:
Never been a fan of gen 4/gen 6 etc. classification.
Same scale used for each generation for accurate comparisons.
Data in thousands