Activision's Skylanders was the big success in a lousy month

The latest NPD report – covering monthly spend for the video game industry in North America – didn’t paint a particularly promising picture for digital entertainment in January. Both hardware and software dropped 38% year over year, with sales down from $1.14 billion in January 2011 to just $750 million this past month. The NPD cites the lack of major new releases as the reason for the drop. Indeed, if you cast your mind back to last year you’ll recall DC Universe Online, Mass Effect 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Dead Space 2 all arriving on Sony’s system in January. This year, by comparison, was a barren wasteland.

As such, the multiformat top-ten was dominated by familiar faces: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Just Dance 3, Saints Row: The Third and Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure all found room to chart. In fact, while the latter game only finished in 8th, it made up for a whopping 22% of total accessory sales. The game’s single character pack was also the best selling accessory for the month. Yeah, Activision’s going to keep making more of these.

XBOX 360 remained the best selling console for the month, selling 270k units. Unfortunately we don’t have access to PS3 numbers, but Sony’s Patrick Seybold said of the results:

Following a strong December at retail, PlayStation continued the momentum in January through multi-retailer promotions such as 'Play Days' where we saw a 2x lift over forecast in peripheral sales and solid results for the PlayStation 3. February will be a landmark month for PlayStation and the gaming industry with the launch of PlayStation Vita on February 22. Pre-order sales for PS Vita and the launch lineup of 25 titles continue to accelerate as more consumers seek the ultimate in handheld gameplay.

Momentum, huh?

Multiformat Software Top Ten: January 2012

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
4. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC)
5. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
6. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
7. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
8. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Wii, 3DS, 360, PS3, PC)
9. Zumba Fitness 2: Party Yourself (Wii)
10. Saints Row: The Third (360, PS3, PC)