July brought the hot summer days and very few major releases, but the gaming industry is still growing.
New game hardware, software, and accessories generated $541.9 million at U.S. retailer in July, according to the monthly report from industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That is up 6 percent from $513.3 million during the same period in 2014.
NPD analyst Liam Callahan notes that the industry continues to thrive even as people continue to spend a similar amount on software.
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“Overall video game sales [growth was] driven by modest hardware growth and double-digital accessory growth as software sales remained flat compared to last July,” said Callahan.
We’ll check the software chart in a moment, but first we need to point out that these NPD figures are not fully representative of the entire gaming industry. NPD only tracks new games sold in the U.S. at retail, so no mobile, used, or Steam games. So it’s best to take this information as a small sample of a larger and more dynamic industry.
OK. Let’s check the game sales.
Lego: Jurassic World (360, 3DS, PS3, Xbox One, Wii U, PS4, Vita)
Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Minecraft (360, PS3 ,Xbox One, PS4)
Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
Rory Mcilroy PGA Tour (PS4, Xbox One)
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Destiny (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3)
Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One)
FIFA 15 (PS4, 360, Xbox One, PS3, Wii, Vita, 3DS)
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
It was an interesting month for software as we had a dearth of major new releases. It was really just EA’s golf game.
“The top new game for July 2015 was Rory McIlroy PGA Tour,” said Callahan. “Sales within the first data month for this new title exceeded the prior iteration, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, by close to 70 percent.”
Other new games didn’t do as well, according to the NPD.
“Sales of new launches were down 3 percent in July 2015, but May and June launches are comparing favorably to the performance of launches of last year, up a combined 20 percent,” said Callahan. “Though May/June launches are performing well this month, this was not enough to offset decreased sales from July releases and older games released outside of the May through July timeframe, which were down 6 percent.”
And we see a lot of that reflected in the chart. Lego: Jurassic World launched last month, and it returned to top the chart in July after finishing in third in June. But if it feels odd to you that a Lego game from June outsold a Batman game from June, that’s because the above chart isn’t the full story.
If you include the copies of Batman: Arkham Knight bundled in with the PlayStation 4, it was easily the highest-selling game of July. Either way, Warner Bros. is responsible for publishing both, and this continues to show why that company is having such a strong 2015.
Finally, we have to point out the strong performance of accessories, which include interactive toys like Amiibo and Skylanders. That category is up 17 percent year-over-year, and the interactive figures led that growth by growing 42 percent year-over-year themselves.
The PlayStation 4 once again outsold the Xbox One and Wii U, but the truth is once again that both Sony and Microsoft are selling consoles faster than they ever have before.
“After 21 months, combined Xbox One and PS4 hardware unit sales are close to 50 percent higher than the combined sales of Xbox 360 and PS3 after 21 months on the market,” said Callahan.
And Microsoft confirmed that its system is continuing to pick up momentum.
“Xbox One and Xbox Live continued to see strong sales and engagement in July,” Xbox marketing boss Mike Nichols said in a statement. “Xbox One sales in the U.S. [were] up 44 percent over July 2014 and active global Xbox Live users — Xbox One and Xbox 360 — up 22 percent.”