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Dancing games 'Beat It' in January, but overall video game sales stumble again

February 17, 2011 |  5:06 pm

Michael Jackson The Experience 

Bye, bye, music games. Hello, dancing games!

As the market for music simulation games craters, dancing titles are rising to the occasion. Three dancing games moonwalked their way to the top 10 sellers in January, according to a report released Thursday by the NPD Group.

Two of the dancing titles came from Ubisoft, a French game publisher that has proved adept over the last few years at surfing on the crest of fast-rising trends. Its "Just Dance 2" and "Michael Jackson The Experience" were the second and ninth bestselling games in the U.S., respectively.

The rise in sales of dancing games, however, still wasn't enough to offset the overall decline in video game sales, which recorded another down month. 

Music games sales, meanwhile, have fizzled, prompting the largest publisher in that genre, Activision Blizzard Inc., to pull the plug on its Guitar Hero business last week. Another publisher, Viacom Inc.'s MTV Games, sold its Harmonix studio, which developed the Rock Band series of games, for $50 in December to a private investment firm.

Ironically, Harmonix developed Dance Central, the eighth bestselling game in January, before MTV cut the Cambridge, Mass., studio loose.

Though January sales are relatively light in comparison with the three months leading up to Christmas, it still has a bump from holiday gift cards.

Players bought $1.16 billion in games, consoles and accessories last month, down 5% from January 2010, when they shelled out $1.22 billion, according to NPD. Sales of consoles such as the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or Wii fell 8% to $324 million. Consumers spent 5% less, about $576 million, on games to play on those consoles.

To see the top 10 list, click the continue reading link at the bottom of the post.


Top 10 games sold in January 2011
  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard)
  2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
  3. Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts)
  4. Little Big Planet 2 (Sony)
  5. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco)
  6. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive Software)
  7. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
  8. Dance Central (MTV Games)
  9. Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft)
  10. DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony)

Source: NPD Group Inc.

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Promotional poster for Ubisoft's dancing game Michael Jackson The Experience. Credit: Ubisoft.