If you're the kind of person that pays attention to the monthly reports on new retail video game hardware and software sales from industry tracking firm NPD, then 2012 has looked like a bloodbath. Industry-wide software sales were down 37 percent, 24 percent, and 26 percent for the first three months of the year, respectively, when compared with the same period in 2011. Hardware and accessory sales have seen similarly massive declines so far in 2012.

But the suffering is not being borne equally across the industry. In fact, if you had to distill the root cause of the downturn in NPD's reported numbers into a single word, that word would be the company that very recently helped the industry grow to new record heights: Nintendo.

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