The NPD Group has released its monthly report on retail sales in the US, showing very little movement in the software chart but strong performances from Nintendo and up-and-coming publisher Deep Silver.
May NPD at a glance
Total spend, hardware, accessories and software all down year-on-year.
Software in particular took a year-on-year nosedive of 44%.
3DS software sales rose 60% year-on-year.
Because this report only includes traditional boxed retail sales, and not digital spend; used game sales; rentals; and online retail, it’s no longer considered a good indicator of the health of the industry. It is, however, an excellent peek at how those new physical sales are trending, and the view this month is grim.
Total industry spend dropped by 25% year-on-year to $386.3 million. Hardware fell 31% to $96 million; accessories fell 6% to $115.3 million, and last but definitely not least, software fell a whopping 44% to $187.6 million.
The NPD’s Liam Callahan blamed the release drought; last year, April and May enjoyed a significant spike off the back of one major release.
“Overall entertainment software declines, down 44%, were driven partly by sharp year-over-year declines within PC games due to poor comparisons to last year’s Diablo 3 release,” he said.
“Softness in new physical entertainment software sales stemmed from a decline in the number of new launches, with over 30% fewer new SKUs, as well as poor performance of the new SKUs that were released. New SKUs generated over 70% less units on a per-SKU basis, and a decrease of over 80% revenue per SKU.
“Overall new launch performance in May 13 was poor, down 84% in units, decreasing 88% in dollars, which was driven by PCs and Consoles as new launches for portables were up 5% in units, and down only 7% in dollars.”
Microsoft announced that it sold 114,000 Xbox 360 consoles during May, making it the best-selling console in the US for 29 months in a row – but that’s a serious drop from the 270,000 on May 2012. Total Xbox 360 retail spend hit $149.8 million, which, for the first time in ages, didn’t net it the highest total platform spend.
That honour went to the 3DS.
“Nintendo’s 3DS edged out the 360 as the top selling platform across hardware and portables,” Callahan said.
Nintendo sent a press release extolling the news but did not go into details of sales figures. It did announce that 3DS software sales had climbed 60% year-on-year thanks to the launch of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D and continuing sales of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.
Sony hasn’t issued a response to the NPD’s report.
As noted above, software sales took a tremendous hit, with fewer releases and lower sales of what remained.
“In May 2013, the top 10 games represented a lower percentage of sales compared to games from the previous few Mays at 18% of overall unit sales and 25% of overall dollars, compared to 30% of units and 45% of dollars in May 2012,” Callahan said.
“This is contrary to trends we’ve been seeing over the last few years with the top ten games generating a larger percentage of overall sales and may be indicative of the weak new launch performance this May.”
These are the lowest figures since May 2000, Michael Pachter observed on Twitter.
“This console transition is reminiscent of PS1 to PS2; at least, the numbers make it look that way,” he added.
Last month’s top seller made a return, with Injustice: Gods Among Us taking top spot again. Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country Returns charted, which is quite a feat given it launched at the tail end of the month.
Nintendo, Warner Bros., 2K and Deep Silver all managed two charting titles; this is particularly sweet news for Deep Silver, which has carved out significant mental real estate for itself among gamers in the last few years.
The full chart follows.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
- Donkey Kong Country Returns (3DS, Wii)
- Dead Island: Riptide (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
- Metro: Last Light (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- NBA 2K13 (PC, PSP, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360)
- BioShock Infinite (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Battlefield 3 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (3DS, DS, PC, PS3, Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360)