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The Witcher 3 tops charts and PS4 back in first place in May NPD

The Witcher 3 was triumphant in the US sales charts in May, to absolutely nobody's surprise.


The Witcher 3 was the only major triple-A multi-platform release of May so it's not surprising that it took the top spot. Nevertheless, we know The Witcher 3 shifted 4 million copies globally in just two weeks, so don't undervalue its performance in what would otherwise have been a grim month for the industry.

"In May 2015, overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories declined by 13%," the NPD Group's Liam Callahan said.

"The 20% growth in accessories was unable to offset the 18% and 25% respective declines in new physical software and hardware."


Console Wars

This week saw the PS4 take out top sales spot in both hardware and software on the NPD Group's retail tracking charts.

I was away last month and missed the exciting news that Xbox One outsold PS4 in April. Whatever influenced this wasn't enough to power Microsoft through a second month, obviously.

The PS4 has outsold the Xbox One every month so far this year bar April, and also every other month of both consoles' young lives bar November 2014 and December 2014. Sony reiterated that the PS4 remains the cumulative sales champion (obviously) and has shifted over 20 million units worldwide.

It's been a one-sided console war so far but it's still early days, and the Xbox One isn't exactly in trouble.

“Xbox One sales in the US were up 81% over May 2014 and active global Xbox Live members, Xbox One and Xbox 360, were up 20%," Microsoft said in a statement.

It'll be interesting to see whether the Xbox One Oculus Rift deal can shake the battle up, won't it?

Callahan noted that new-gen hardware sales are relatively stable with just a 1% year-on-year decrease; it's the 45% drop in last-gen console sales is the trouble.

Meanwhile, portable hardware sales are up 41%, which is excellent news. As yuo may recall, the 3DS topped 15 million US sales this month.



The NPD attributed a major year-on-year decline in software sales to the very strong performance of Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 in May 2014.

"Collectively, May 2015 launches sold 55% less dollars than May 2014 launches, however, catalog games outside of the launch month sold 3% more dollar volume compared to catalog games in May 2014," he added.

"Despite poor comparisons to May 2014 releases, eighth generation consoles software unit sales rose 8% in May 2015, and also gained 15 percentage points in overall software unit share to total 54%."

Nintendo hasn't sent a statement this month but it's worth highlighting Splatoon's debut in fifth place on the charts. This is difficult for a platform exclusive, especially one with an install base as low as the Wii U's, and suggests the console is enjoying the same little renaissance in the US as it is in Japan. What with Super Smash Bros. still charting, Nintendo is probably pretty happy this month.

Thanks to continued sales of Mortal Kombat X and a bare release schedule last year, Warner Bros. enjoyed a 140% increase in sales revenue during May 2015.

Here's the full top ten chart:

  1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  2. Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One)
  3. Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  4. Minecraft (Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4)
  5. Splatoon (Wii U)
  6. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PC)
  7. NBA 2K15 (Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, PC)
  8. FIFA 15 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii , 3DS, Vita)
  9. MLB 15: The Show (PS4, PS3)
  10. Super Smash Bros. (3DS, Wii U)


Total industry spend fell 13% year on year to $507.6 million in May 2015.

Hardware sales totalled $153.6 million, an 18% year-on-year decrease, and software fell 25% to $204.7 million. With PC software included, it still fell 25%, to $212.3 million.

The only category that saw growth was accessories, largely thanks to Amiibo, which dominated accessories sales. The category grew an amazing 73% thanks to Nintendo's toys-to-life debut, although point cards, controllers, headsets and power supplies al grew year-on-year.

Reminder: The NPD charts new physical retail purchases in the US only, and as such is not indicative of the broader industry's health.

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