Above: Mario Kart 8 was the second best-selling game of the month.
Image Credit: Nintendo
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As expected, new games on new systems helped the industry bring in a ton of cash in May.
Gamers spent $586 million on new physical gaming software and hardware in May, according to industry-tracking research firm The NPD Group. That is up 52 percent from $387 million in 2013. Major multiplatform releases like Watch Dogs and big exclusives like Mario Kart 8 were big contributors to the industry’s performance. This is a good sign for everyone making games as it reveals that U.S. consumers can sustain spending at high levels well beyond the holidays when compelling products go on sale.
Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the two new-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony, respectively, are also continuing to sell very well. Hardware generated $187 million in May. That’s up 95 percent year-over-year compared to May 2013′s $96 million.
Consumers spent $274 million on new physical games at retail in May. That’s up 57 percent from $175 million last year. This is one of the biggest months in a while as gamers who already own devices are now rushing out to get experiences for their new machines.
As always, this monthly NPD report only tracks new physical games sold at U.S. retailers. This doesn’t count digital sales or hardware sold in Australia, for example. So this is only a snapshot of a much larger picture.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the top-selling software chart.
1. Watch Dogs (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PlayStation 3, PC) 2. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) 3. MLB 14: The Show (PS4, PS3, Vita) 4. Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC) 5. Minecraft (360, PS3) 6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, Wii U) 7. NBA 2K14 (360, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, PC) 8. Titanfall (360, Xbox One, PC) 9. Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS) 10. Call of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, PC, Wii U)
Game sales saw a huge bump in May. Month over month, sales were up 20 percent from $227.9 million. That’s largely due to the massive success of publisher Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. That open-world hacking game is the French company’s fastest-selling title over a 24-hour period ever. It also racked up more than 4 million in sales in its first week.
Nintendo also contributed significantly to May’s software numbers with the introduction of Mario Kart 8. The publisher revealed it sold 1.2 million copies in just three days.
What’s most impressive about Mario Kart 8 and Watch Dogs is that both topped the chart for all of May despite debuting at the end of the month. Mario Kart 8 made it to No. 2 with only two days of sales.
New releases had a good month all around. MLB 14: The Show and Wolfenstein: The New Order both released in May, and were able to make it into the top five. They even outsold a resurgent Minecraft, which now has physical version on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This should keep the block-building phenomenon in the top 10 for a few more months.
Beyond the top 5, the only other new game on the chart is the 3DS’s Kirby: Triple Deluxe, which hit the system in early May. This is another example of the power of Nintendo’s intellectual properties.
If you’re looking for a trend in the top 10, I would point out that the PS4 version of Watch Dogs, Wolfenstein, Spider-Man, NBA 2K14, and Call of Duty outsold their Xbox One counterparts. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles last week, Microsoft was all about games — and this probably one of the reasons why.
NPD doesn’t spill a ton of statistics for individual platforms. It’s up to the companies themselves to provide that info. We’re working on getting a comment from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
So far, the PlayStation 4 has built a steady lead on the Xbox One worldwide. After both debuting in November, Sony has sold 7 million PlayStaiton 4s to customers as of early April. Microsoft, meanwhile, has only shipped that it shipped 5 million Xbox Ones to retailers as of April, which means fewer than that have reached the hands of gamers. The Wii U, on the other hand, went on sale in November 2012, and it is only at around 6.2 million as of March.
Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, which is engaged in business through... read more »
Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »
Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony. The company was... read more »