Consumers rushing out to adopt new hardware once again leaves them spending less on new software.
Gamers spent $561.3 million on new physical hardware and software at U.S. retailers last month, according to industry intelligence firm The NPD Group. That’s up 8 percent from $521.1 million in August 2013. Like the past several months, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 accounted for most of the growth as software sales were down from last year.
“Overall new physical retail sales increased by 8 percent in August 2014 over August 2013,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said. “The month followed a similar pattern of prior months with explosive hardware growth driven by eighth-generation consoles offsetting declines in software.”
Spending on game hardware reached $196.2 million. That’s up a massive 116 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Spending on software, however, was down 21 percent to $231.6 million from $293.4 million in August 2013.
As always, it’s important to keep in mind that the NPD’s results do not reflect the entire industry. It only tracks new physical games sold at U.S. retailers. That means these figures don’t include mobile games or anything sold on Steam. Instead, the NPD numbers provide a snapshot of trends in a much bigger industry.
With that in mind, let’s get into the best-selling games.
1. Madden NFL 15 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3) 2. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC) 3. Minecraft (360, PS3) 4. The Last of Us (PS4, PS3) 5. Call of Duty: Ghosts (360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, PC, Wii U) 6. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, 3DS, DS, Xbox One, Vita, PC) 7. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One) 8. Watch Dogs (PS4, 360, PS3, Xbox One, PC) 9. Battlefield 4 (360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC) 10. The Lego Movie Videogame (360, 3DS, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, Vita)
Unsurprisingly, Madden topped the charts. Analysts were predicting earlier this week that the football game would perform well and even give a boost to the Xbox One since Microsoft was selling a bundle. Madden may have done that, but it still sold better on the PlayStation 4 (as you can see in the rankings in the brackets by each game). Action role-playing game Diablo III, which finally debuted on the new-gen consoles, also sold better on PS4.
It’s worth pointing out that the PlayStation 4 versions outsold their Xbox One counterparts for every game on the top-10 list except for Call of Duty: Ghosts. With Sony dominating the marketing for Destiny, that’s likely going to happen with that shooter in September as well. Microsoft may really start panicking if the next Call of Duty, a series that historically performed much better on Xbox One and Xbox 360, sells better on PS4.
The rest of the list looks a lot like July’s NPD report. Minecraft, the block-building phenomenon, is still hovering near the top of the chart. This is after the physical 360 version finished 2013 as the ninth best-selling new game at U.S. retailers.
The NPD Group doesn’t share the hardware numbers with the public. We’ve asked Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for more information about how they performed last month, and we’ll update this story with any new data.
Earlier this week, analysts for investment firm Wedbush Morgan predicted that Sony sold around 175,000 PS4s at U.S. retailers, while Microsoft was right behind it with 150,000 Xbox Ones sold.
What’s clear is that new-gen consoles are still selling incredibly well.
“When lining up sales of PS4 and Xbox One after ten months on the market,” said Callahan. “The combined PS4 and Xbox One hardware sales are greater by over 70 percent compared to their predecessors.”
Basically, in English, the NPD is finding that the PS4 and Xbox One are selling 70 percent faster than the PS3 and Xbox 360.
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