Dark Souls 3, Ratchet and Clank smash franchise records in April NPD

By Brenna Hillier, Friday, 13 May 2016 00:23 GMT

Surprise, surprise.

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NPD April 2016 at a glance

Total spend down 15%.

Hardware down 23%, software down 21%. Accessories up 4%.

Dark Souls 3 tops software chart.

Compare month-on-month: March 2016

Compare year-on-year: April 2015

Dark Souls 3 tops NPD sales charts for April

The NPD’s sales charts for US retail in April 2016 are in, and to nobody’s surprise Dark Souls 3 is squatting smugly in the top spot like some sort of overgrown beast, daring challengers to pass through the fog wall. Good luck to them.

Overall it wasn’t a great month, with a 15% ($88.5 million) year-on-year decrease in total industry spend from to $509.5 million, down from 598.1 million.

Hardware fell 23% or $41.6 million to $142.1 million. Usually we blame portables for any drops in this category but we’re now staring a 19% ($30.4 million) year-on-year decrease in console sales right in the face. The good news is this can be ascribed to a 70% year-on-year slump in last-gen hardware, as newer machines are still performing very well.

“Xbox One and PS4 are trending over 40% higher in cumulative sales after 30 months in the market compared to their predecessors,” the NPD’s Liam Callahan said.

Software fell 21% or $52.8 million to $203.9 million. The NPD ascribed this to comparisons with the very strong launch of Mortal Kombat X last year, and also to short sales tails on March 2016 releases. As ever, the NPD only tracks new physical sales for this report, so the software figures especially aren’t indicative of the overall health of the industry.

Accessories saw some growth at $163.5 million but the 4% ($5.9 million) uptick wasn’t enough to offset declines in other categories, obviously.

Interestingly, none of the major platform holders have issued statements in response to the NPD’s release. I think we can probably assume Sony won again, or Microsoft would have made a note of it, but perhaps Sony’s run out of ways to say “wow thanks yeah we appreciate the support from our fans, see you next month”.

Top software performers

Two franchises had major wins in April. Dark Souls 3 was obviously a huge deal, and if it is the last in the series it went off with a bang.

“The launch of Dark Souls 3 marked the strongest launch in the franchise’s history,” Callahan said.

“Sales for Dark Souls 3 nearly doubled that of its predecessor, Dark Souls 2, when adjusted for days in the market.”

Ratchet and Clank also performed very well.

“Ratchet and Clank had the best launch of any game in the Ratchet & Clank franchise when adjusting for the number of days sold in the data month, with sales recapturing success not seen for the franchise since the height of the PlayStation 2 era,” Callahan said

Exclusives generally do well, but Ratchet & Clank seriously outshone Quantum Break and poor old Star Fox Zero, which only just made it into the top ten. Nintendo’s definitely not down and out, through; if you reconsider the charts for single-format SKUs, Star Fox Zero was actually the fifth-best selling game, and Bravely Second on 3DS was ninth.

Top ten software, NPD April 2016

  1. Dark Souls 3 (PS4, Xbox One)
  2. Ratchet and Clank (PS4)
  3. MLB 16: The Show (PS4, PS3)
  4. Tom Clancy’s The Division (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  5. Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
  6. Minecraft (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3)
  7. Quantum Break (Xbox One)
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  9. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  10. Star Fox: Zero (Wii U)

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