PlayStation 4 once more outsold its rival the Xbox One at US retail in the month of May, giving Sony five months straight at the top of the hardware charts.
NPD May 2014 at a glance
Total sales up a whopping 52%, led by increases in both hardware and software sales.
New releases reinvigorated the charts. Watch Dogs topped.
May is normally a bit of a lull month for the games industry, but the NPD’s May report shows a sizeable upswing in total industry sales, climbing 52% year-on-year to $586 million.
Both hardware ($187 million) and software sales ($284 million) climbed year-on-year, by 95% and 57% respectively. Both jumps are explicable; this year, new hardware has given the industry a much-needed boost, and a couple of big new releases have done a lot for software.
Nintendo said the 3DS was the second best-selling piece of hardware behind the PS4. NPD analyst Liam Callahan noted that both the Vita and Wii U showed year-on-year unit sales growth, presumably thanks to a couple of strong releases for each system – Borderlands 2 and Mario Kart 8.
Mario Kart 8 really did well, taking second place in the charts despite being a platform exclusive; according to Nintendo, it was the third best-selling SKU (that means individual platform release of a particular game; so Mario Kart 8 has one SKU, and Watch Dogs has five SKUs). In terms of releases counted by all SKUs, it was second only to Watch Dogs, which seems to have lived up to the hype in terms of sales, at least.
Because this is North America, MLB 14: The Show was a major contender – it’s a pretty marginable affair in other territories, unfortunately – but Bethesda’s Wolfenstein: The New Order also sold reasonably strongly. Its position lower in the pack probably has more to do with the power of those above it than any reluctance to pick up the reboot.
It’s great to see new releases in May, normally a dead month before the summer sports release and then the drought, and Callahan noted that new launches in May 2014 sold 800% more strongly in terms of dollar sales than May 2013 launches did, and represented 50% of total dollar sales, as compared to 9% in May 2013. It was a pretty grim line-up that month, though.
We’re expecting responses from Microsoft and Sony, so stay tuned. For now, here’s the full software chart. Take a look at how far Call of Duty: Ghosts has dropped; that’s what happens when you get a swathe of new releases throughout the year instead of everything clustered into the holidays and the first quarter. It isn’t necessarily indicative of lower sales for the juggernaut shooter.
- May 2014 Software top ten (new physical retail only)
- Watch Dogs – Ubisoft (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Mario Kart – Nintendo (Wii U)
- MLB 14: The Show (PS3, PS4, Vita)
- Wolfenstein: The New Order – Bethesda (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Minecraft – Microsoft/Sony (PS3, Xbox 360)
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (3DS, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- NBA 2K14 – 2K (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Titanfall – EA(PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
- Kirby Triple Deluxe – Nintendo (3DS)
- Call of Duty: Ghosts (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
As ever, remember the NPD’s data only covers traditional retail, so online, second-hand and digital sales aren’t included in this report; in general, the industry is much healthier than these figures suggest.
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