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Metal Gear Solid couldn't beat sports games last month

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was not the bestselling game of September in the US, according to the NPD.


Metal Gear Solid 5 dominated gaming conversations last month as seemingly everyone spent some quality time with D Dog, Quiet and pals. As such, it may come as a surprise to see that it was only the third bestselling game of the month at US retail; it was topped by juggernaut sports titles NBA 2K16 and Madden 16.

Part of the explanation for this is that core gamers - those of us who hang out on video game websites and keep track of all the new releases - are vastly outnumbered by the millions who pick up a couple of tentpole releases each year. These gamers love to drop into retailers and pick up a copy of the latest sports games or Call of Duty, and that's likely what we see reflected in the NPD's charts, which track new, physical retail only. It also keeps us all solvent, so more power to them. Thank you, our semi-core friends.

Hardware: PlayStation wins again

Otherwise there's little to shock in this month's report. The PS4 was the best-selling console, as it has been for all but one month this year, and almost every month since it and the Xbox One launched in November 2013. The PS4's recent price cut may keep it ahead of its rival through November and December, although the Xbox One has so far done pretty well over holiday periods.

The NPD noted that the PS4 was the bestselling platform for NBA 2K16, Madden 16, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and FIFA 16, but Sony said PS4 was also the bestselling platform for Destiny: The Taken King when you include hardware bundles, which the NPD doesn't.

It was something of a hollow victory for Sony, as in general hardware sales dropped off considerably year-on-year. But the NPD's Liam Callahan said this is because Destiny spiked hardware sales last year, and in general hardware is on track.

“After 23 months on the market, combined PS4 and Xbox One sales are 40% higher than the combined 23 month totals for PS3 and 360,” he said.

Hardware sales are trending upwards from August, too, so it sounds like momentum is building ahead of the holidays.


One inetresting note for software this month is that Sony revealed September was the highest-grossing month in the history of the PlayStation Store. Something to think about before you get depressed about downwards trends in these retail-only reports.

  1. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  2. Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  3. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)
  4. FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3)
  5. Destiny: The Taken King (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
  6. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
  7. Disney Infinity 3.0 (Xbox 360, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, PS3)
  8. Mad Max (PS4, Xbox One)
  9. NHL 16 (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3)
  10. Minecraft (Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4)


Total industry spend came in at $1.01 billion, a 9% year-on-year drop on September 2014.

Software fell 3% year-on-year from $480.6 million to $465.6 million, while hardware fell a painful 27% $431.2 million to $313.5 million. Accessories grew 20% year-on-year, likely thanks to toys-to-life games, including Amiibo.

Year-to-date, total spend across all categories is almost flat; we're likely to see spikes over the holidays, so we may be in for overall growth this year.

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