The NPD Group has released its monthly report for new physical video game sales, as well as a subset of full-game digital downloads from participating publishers in NPD’s digital panel. Although not intended to cover total market/total consumer spend, the figures give us an idea of industry-wide trends.
Spending across hardware, software, accessories and game cards grew by 13 percent to $685 million in May compared to one year ago. Overall growth has occurred across all categories with year-to-date spending up 15 percent to $4.9 billion compared to last year.
Although software saw a slight decline in sales, it was offset by growth in other categories. Dollar sales of console, portable and PC games reached a combined $274 million in May 2018, which is a 4 percent decrease from last year. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella attributes this decline to the slate of games, with 2017’s release of Injustice 2 proving to be a tough act to follow. But year-to-date software spending has increased by 7 percent to $2.2 billion, led by titles that include Far Cry 5, God of War and Monster Hunter: World.
State Of Decay 2 And Detroit: Become Human Debut To Top Spots
May’s bestselling game was State of Decay 2, with launch sales that nearly doubled that of the previous game. It knocked God of War down to the second-place spot, followed by Detroit: Become Human and Far Cry 5.
Sony was May’s top performing publisher, driven by sales of God of War and Detroit: Become Human. Detroit: Become Human may be in third place, but it still represents a success for its developer Quantic Dream.
“Launch month sales of Detroit: Become Human represent a record high for developer Quantic Dream, with sales growth of over 20 percent when compared to its previous launch month bestseller, Heavy Rain,” said Piscatella.
Ubisoft remains the top revenue-generating publisher this year to date, with Far Cry 5 still reigning as the year’s bestselling game with God of War behind it. Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard is in the lead for top revenues over the 12-month period ending in May.
Software sales for the Nintendo Switch console rose by 90 percent compared to last year, “delivering the highest software revenues for any Nintendo platform in May since the Nintendo Wii in May 2011.” However, The NPD Group does not currently track digital sales for the platform.
Console Sales Strong, Accessories Hit All-Time High
The NPD Group reports that hardware spending increased by 26 percent to $186 million in May compared to last year, with sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 driving overall growth. Year-to-date hardware spending is up 15 percent to $1.3 billion, driven by Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and “Plug-N-Play” devices such as the SNES Classic.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the bestselling platform, and it remains the top-selling console this year to date. However, all consoles, including the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, achieved all-time unit sales in May. In fact, May 2018’s hardware sales totals were the highest of any May since 2011, while May 2018 dollar sales reached the highest total since May 2014.
Headset and gamepad also had a good month, with year-to-date sales of both accessories reaching all-time record highs at more than double what they were last year. Spending on headsets alone increased by 83 percent since the start of the year, while gamepad spending grew by 22 percent.