NPD May – Diablo III beats out multi-plats, 3DS tops hardware

Friday, 15th June 2012 01:05 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The NPD Group’s monthly report on US retail sales shows a significant dip in overall sales, but strong performances from Blizzard’s Diablo III and the 3DS.

May at a glance

Total sales $516.5 million, down 28% yoy

Hardware dropped 39% to $138.9 million

Console and portable software sales dropped 32% to $255.4 million in consoles

Total software sales including PC down 16% $335.2 million

Overall total hardware, software and accessory sales took a dive year-over-year, dropping 28% from $718.9 million in May 2011 to $516.5 million in May 2012.

Hearteningly, the NPD estimates these figures account for 50*60% of total consumer spend on gaming, with analyst Anita Frazier painting a much healthier picture beyond the report’s remit.

“When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales such as used and rentals at $155 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $420 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in May to be $1.17B,” she said.

Interestingly, accessories were one area which flourished, noting a 74% year on year increase, which the NPD attributes to the sale of “video game card”s and Activision’s Skylanders.


Overall hardware sales dropped 39% year on year to tally at $138.9 million, down from $228.8 million in 2011.

All hardware platforms except the 3DS posted decreased unit sales on May 2011′s results; Nintendo’s newest handhold managed a 17% yera on year increase.

It was a good month for Nintendo as a May 20 price cut on DSi and DSi XL resulted in a 35% monthly increase in sales.

“In May, Nintendo sold more than 285,000 units of portable and console hardware,” the company said in a reaction statement before touting a “strong second half of 2012″ highlighted by content showcased at E3.

Microsoft claimed the win again this month with 160,000 units and a press release claiming Xbox 360 as the best selling console of 2012 so far, having outsold all comers for 17 months straight. Microsoft also boasted of “a 45 percent share of current-generation console sales”, the latest entry in another streak – 15 months with over 40% market share.

While Sony didn’t make any concrete claims, it said the full report showed “strong results” for PlayStation 3 exclusives like Starhawk and MLB12: The Show, as well as “accelerated digital sales growth for the PS3 and PS Vita platforms”.

Over all, retail software sales dropped 16% year on year, resulting in a total of $335.2 million. Frazier attributes the dip to a reduction in new releases – 27% fewer than in 2010.

Despite fronting on just one platform, Diablo III managed to take the top of the charts in the two weeks it was on sale.

“Diablo III is the top selling title for May, the first time since July 2010 that a PC-only game accomplished this feat. Since the game launched day and date through digital distribution as well, full sales of the title are some multiple of what is reflected in the retail sales,” Frazier noted.

“Starcraft II was the title that topped the best-seller list in July 2010, a testament to the power of the Blizzard brand in PC gaming.”

Max Payne 3 was Diablo III’s closest contender, having released within a day or two of Blizzard’s RPG, but slipped into second place despite multiple platforms on offer. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael pachter, who receives the full NPD report, revealed on Twitter that Rockstar’s shooter hadn’t performed to expectations.

“Max Payne 3 a flop, according to NPD; can’t believe Rockstar put off releasing GTA to work on that game,” he said.

“Without divulging too much NPD goodness, I can tell you that Max Payne 3 sales were less than 50% of LA Noire’s. 8 years in development!”

More heartening is Ghost Recon: Future Soldier in third, despite appearing at the tail end of the month. Dragon’s Dogma was another late release but didn’t manage to cause as much impact; it’s worth noting that it’s a new and quite different IP and may cast a long tail as word of mouth spreads. Speaking of long tails, it’s nice to see Prototype 2 hanging in there.

  1. Diablo III (PC)
  2. Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  3. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3)
  4. Prototype 2 (360, PS3)
  5. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
  6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
  7. Sniper Elite V2 (360, PS3)
  8. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  9. Dragon’s Dogma (360, PS3)
  10. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)




  1. Razor

    Those numbers are totally appalling.

    I don’t know how Sony and MS plan to see out the next 18 months if sales are just going to continue like this.

    At this rate, there may not be much of a dedicated gaming industry left in the US to launch new consoles into.

    Dunno what Sony and MS have been waiting for.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    Sniper Elite is on PC too.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. daytripper

    Weak sales, a price drop and compelling original titles would benefit. Even though this is the summer I am concerned about the console side of the industry.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    In fairness, Diablo 3 is not only one of the biggest releases in years, but we’re also in the middle of a recession.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. MFBB

    I am playing Max Payne on the PC and while it is fun, it is absolutely nothing special or offers anything new (same shooter stuff as always).

    Expected a lot more from it.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. roadkill

    “NPD May – Diablo III beats out multi-plats, 3DS tops hardware” In other words The PC crowd who plays Diablo is your usual virtual-life whore who would do anything just to play a game just as your usual real-life whore would do anything for money. Nice.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Sini

    fuck max payne, i don’t even feel like pirating that shit on pc and i have a high end machine.
    as for blizzard, i don’t mind taking it up the ass with always online drm if it prevents illegal copies, and their works so far; 4 weeks and still no way to pirate the game.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. bo_7md

    It looks like another drought, like the one we had last year. The list isn’t that good to move the market.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Beta

    Oh God, not Pachter.. Make it stop!!

    #9 3 years ago
  10. stealth

    so 3ds was top selling system?

    #10 3 years ago
  11. cre

    #10: No. The headline is very misleading.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Kabby

    “4 weeks and still no way to pirate the game”

    It’s also been quite hard to play Diablo legally in those 4 weeks too. :P

    #12 3 years ago
  13. OlderGamer

    Too much sameness in the industry right now. And for the age of the consoles, they are still too expensive. Too much reliance on cranking out high budget franchise sequels. OMP shooters, only take the industry so far. Esp when every one and their brother seems to be trying to be the same game/game experience.

    My take.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. GwynbleiddiuM

    @6 Great logic dude, keep it up and you’ll become the greatest retard alive.

    @OG The price tags on most games today is by no means fair. It’s ironic the times we used to pay 30-40ish for games we actually had games that were awesome to play. Honestly these days I only look at indie market and RPGs. Hardly anything impressive comes along. these past 2 years I enjoyed more indie games. I hope things are starting to wear gamers off.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Dragon246

    Thats not happenibg, because people like playing the 5683435756757556th sequel of cod, battlefield and even gta to some degree. I can give you many examples where someone tried something new and was panned by “gamers”
    1. FF 13. I know many people hate it because its a supposedly linear game but it made up for it with some of the best graphics and story. FF also significantly changes their core mechanics in each game. Just because it tried something new , people hated it.
    2.Valkyria Chronicles, best RPG on ps3 by Guinness record book but only sold 1 million copy, whereas a buggy game like skyrim sells many times more than this.
    And many others……
    In others words “gamers” hate innovation.

    “The price tags on most games today is by no means fair. It’s ironic the times we used to pay 30-40ish for games we actually had games that were awesome to play”
    Do you know about something called inflation? Game companies are not charitable orgs. As the cost of development increases, game costs also increase. They are actually cheaper than ever. There is a great article about this by colin moriarty on IGN. Search for it and you will understand.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. OlderGamer

    Dragon you named two Japanese games. This gen the JPN games third parties have really stuggled to find themself in the west. By in large the JPN devs are being left behind. They focus too much on handhelds and their home market that they are having a hard time evolving with western markets. Nintendo aside.

    Gamers don’t hate inovation.

    Look at Minecraft for example.

    What your doing is looking at the issue sideways. Your not really seing the full scope of the thing. Infact if you look at top selling games this gen, I bet you think of stuff like CoD, BF, Forza, Uncharted, Gears, and God of War. But, last I looked 7 of the top ten software sales this gen were Nintendo games.

    The reason is that, imo, the so called core market is canibalising itself this gen. For exactly the same reasons I mentioned:

    Too many OMP shooters. Games that cost 100usd when you add in DLC(there is your inflation btw). Too many big budget trip AAA franchise sequels, where a game like Skyrim can out preorder what most gamest do in lifetimes sales. We are often being serverd crap on a plater. Where brand name and a solid marketing push move more units then quality and value.

    As for Colins piece on IGN, I read it. I don’t agree with him. He neglects that huge dev cost is an industry by product and is a choice. And companies are putting the focus on graphics over gameplay to an extreme extent. Why? One reason is that the damn games are all hitting the same benchmarks. Look if you took a handful of modern war omp shooters, and randomly took screen caps from them and then mixed them up, it would be tough to tell one game from another. In every racing game, be it forza GT or a NFS a real life car model (like a BMW) looks and feels so closely like each other it can be hard to see the difference. Toss in real life tracks rendered to picture perfection and it gets tougher. Graphics fidelity is extremly important. But we have reached a point where there is sameness in areas that used to be distinctive.

    How do games stand out? Big budget marketing pushes. Hype, preorder “bonuses”, “beta” promotions, brand name recognition. Its ugly.

    Right now, more then ever, the indie scene is jumping. PC gameing is thriving. The reasons are that on PC you leave that console clutter behind. The focus is on gameplay, ironic because a top PC blows the doors off of the top console graphicly. But the real buzz isn’t trip AAA games, but smaller studios creating inovative games.

    On a console you only get a taste, like Minecraft or Fez. But on PC these types of games are plentiful. They are cheap. They are creative. They are fun to play. They are what gaming should be.

    Consoles are big monster platforms tightly controled by monster companies who are more focused on your wallet then keeping things fresh with new and exciting games. And maybe your right, maybe those gamers like the way they have it. But ignorance is bliss.

    #16 3 years ago

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