The numbers are in for November retail sales in the U.S., and as you would expect hardware sales were great with the launch of two expensive new consoles in the month. “With the introduction of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, coupled with positive sales for the Nintendo 3DS, sales in November 2013 marked the best November for hardware sales on record,” said NPD’s Liam Callahan. “Hardware sales rose by 58 percent over November 2012, driven by an over 80 percent growth in sales of console hardware.” Hardware sales were $1.327 billion for November, compared to $839.1 million last year.
The PlayStation 4 led the sales picture, shipping one week before the Xbox One in the U.S. “PlayStation 4 led U.S. hardware sales for the month, and marked the highest first month sales of a hardware platform on record,” said Callahan. “When looking at sales on an average per-week basis, Xbox One led PS4. Keep in mind, however, that supply typically becomes constrained in the second week after launch. Xbox One was the second highest selling platform for the month, which marked the largest launch for a Microsoft console.”
In other words, it’s really too early to tell who’s leading in next-gen sales, as the territories, release dates and available inventory are all different. These differences will diminish over time, and a truer picture of the relative sales between the two consoles should start to emerge in the first or second quarter of 2014. Importantly, though, software sales for next-gen looked strong. “Attach rates of software to hardware were strong for the new console introductions, with PS4 attach rates exceeding those of the launch months of both the PS3 and the PS2,” Callahan noted.
Meanwhile, Nintendo’s 3DS did well. “Supported by strong content throughout the year, including this month’s The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo 3DS hardware unit sales have increased by 15 percent year-to-date through November,” said Callahan. Tellingly, though, no mention was made of the Wii U.
The picture in software was much grimmer compared to the stellar sales in November of last year, with software this year 24 percent below the level of November 2012. “November 2013 proved to be a difficult month to compare to November 2012, which included the launch of games like Halo 4,” said Callahan. “November 2013 also included second month sales of key games like Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed 4, which followed a typical drop off found after the first month. Collective sales from software introduced in November 2013 compared to software launched in November 2012 were down 41 percent, and were a major contributor to the overall software decline this month.” Software was only $1.085 billion, down from $1.435 billion last year.
The big winner in software was, of course, Take-Two. “Driven by continued success of Grand Theft Auto V as well as strong sales of NBA 2K14, year-to-date through November 2013, Take 2 Interactive led software sales as the top publisher,” said Callahan.
November 2013 Top 10 Games
1. Call Of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC, NWU)** Activision Blizzard
2. Battlefield 4 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC) Electronic Arts
3. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (360, PS4, PS3, XBO, PC, NWU)** Ubisoft
4. Madden NFL 25 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO) Electronic Arts
5. Grand Theft Auto V (360, PS3)** Take 2 Interactive
6. NBA 2K14 (360, PS4, PS3, XBO, PC)** Take 2 Interactive
7. Skylanders SWAP Force (WII, 360, PS3, NWU, 3DS, XBO, PS4)** Activision Blizzard
8. Just Dance 2014 (WII, 360, NWU, XBO, PS3, PS4)** Ubisoft
9. Disney Infinity (WII, 360, PS3, NWU, 3DS) Disney Interactive Studios
10. FIFA 14 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PSV) Electronic Arts
**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)