"What do you mean sales were bad?"

Those of you with any kind of financial investment in the North American video game industry might want to point your browser towards a more positive place. The April NPD results are in, and they don’t make for particularly pleasant reading in the slightest.

Indeed, as a whole the gaming industry shrunk by a whopping 32 percent year over year in April 2012, a drop of just over $300 million. Ouch. Both hardware and software sales decreased significantly, while peripherals were up by as little as one percent.

While the situation looks disastrous on paper, NPD’s Anita Frazer pointed out that the shoddy release schedule played a huge part in the disappointing figures:

Last April, the top seven titles outsold the top-selling title this year, and, simply stated, there were notably fewer new market introductions. I think it's a simple as that because when we see compelling content come into the market, the games are still selling as well as ever – we just saw a lot less this April as compared to last.

One game that did release in April was Activision’s Prototype 2, which topped the software sales charts. Old favourites such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Mass Effect 3 fleshed out the top ten, while PS3 and Vita exclusive MLB 12: The Show maintained its position at the edge of the chart.

Hopefully the release of Max Payne 3 can kick the industry back into gear next week.

1. Prototype 2 (360, PS3)
2. Kinect Star Wars (360)
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfar 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (360, PS3)
5. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PC, PS2)
6. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (360, PC)
7. Mario Party 9 (Wii)
8. Mass Effect 3 (360, PS3, PC)
9. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
10. MLB 12: The Show (PS3, PSV)

[source joystiq.com]