January was a cold month in most of the U.S., and not just outside. “January 2015 retail sales data across hardware, software and accessories decreased by 6 percent from January 2014, with growth in software (up $12.4 million) and Accessories (up $5.4 million) unable to offset hardware declines of $54 million,” NPD’s Liam Callahan reported. For those keeping score, hardware sales were $185.5 million this January compared to $239.6 million last January, while software notched $235.7 million in sales compared to $223.2 million last year.
The engine of retail sales for the past year has been hardware, and that’s what took a sharp downturn in January. The older consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) really slid, down 35%, probably because there were no price decreases or substantive marketing efforts for them. “Hardware sales declined by 23 percent as sales cooled off after the holiday season,” Callahan acknowledged. “Eighth generation console hardware sales were down by 22 percent while seventh generation console hardware sales decreased by 35 percent.”
Software was a bright spot for once, though coming off of a very down year at retail it’s not a very big increase. “Software spending rose 5 percent from January 2014 as eighth generation console spending outpaced seventh generation console software sales,” Callahan noted. “Eighth generation software increased by 74 percent, seventh generation decreased by 36 percent and dedicated portable software sales dropped by 12 percent.” This is not good news for Nintendo’s 3DS, as much of that drop must be attributed to the software for that device – because the PS Vita has been coasting along at a low level for months.
The top seller among software was Dying Light, followed by most of the usual suspects. Interestingly, Super Smash Bros. made the list, a bright spot for Nintendo which has all too often been absent from this list in recent years. Interestingly, Assassin’s Creed didn’t make the list, though Far Cry did.
January 2015 Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only)
1. Dying Light (PS4, XBO, PC) Warner Bros. Interactive
2. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)** Activision Blizzard
3. Grand Theft Auto V (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)** Take 2 Interactive
4. Minecraft (360, PS3, XBO, PS4) Microsoft (Corp) / Sony
5. NBA 2K15 (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC) Take 2 Interactive
6. Super Smash Bros. (NWU, 3DS)* Nintendo
7. Far Cry 4 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)** Ubisoft
8. Madden NFL 15 (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)** Electronic Arts
9. Destiny (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)** Activision Blizzard
10. FIFA 15 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, Wii, PSV, 3DS)** Electronic Arts
**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)