Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews goes behind April's NPD U.S. console retail numbers -- why the surprising 26 percent drop, and what does it mean for the months ahead?
After a one month respite, the latest retail videogame figures reported by the NPD Group last week showed that April 2010 sales fell by nearly every measure. Analyst expectations were cautious, with some expecting small increases in software dollar sales and modest gains in console hardware sales.
In the final tally, April's software dollar sales fell by 22% year-over-year while console hardware sales fell by 16%. Even the accessories segment – which has shown reliable growth in past months – contracted by nearly 9%.
Surveying the scene, we are left with several key questions. What happened to software sales in April? Why did hardware slow down so much? What do the possible explanations for April's results tell us to expect for May?