The gaming industry continued its recession in April. Consumers spent $495.2 million on new physical video games at retail last month, according to the industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.
That total sales number is down 25 percent from April 2012. Unsurprisingly, hardware took the biggest hit. Manufacturers only sold around $109.5 million in new home and portable consoles. That’s down a massive 42 percent from the same period in 2012.
Software was also down from $307.2 million in 2012 to just $254.3 million. That’s a 17 percent recession.
As always, it’s important to remember that NPD only tracks new sales at brick-and-mortar stores. These numbers don’t include digital sales.
Here is a list of the best-selling games in April 2013:
- Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U)
- Dead Island: Riptide (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
- Defiance (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
- NBA 2K13 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii, PSP, PC)
- Skylanders Giants (Wii U, 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii )
- Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins (3DS)
- MLB 13: The Show (PS3, Vita)
Warner Bros. Interactive’s DC Comics fighting game topped a weak month for software sales. The brawler and Deep Silver’s zombie game Dead Island: Riptide forced BioShock Infinite out of the top spot.
“Despite overall declines, April title launches in 2013 fared better than games that launched in April 2012, up 118 percent in unit sales and 130 percent in dollar sales,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in the report. “This increase was driven by games like Injustice: Gods Among Us, Dead Island: Riptide, and Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins.”
The biggest surprises for April are probably the games that are still here from March and the ones that dropped off completely.
March saw the release of Tomb Raider, Gears of War: Judgment, and God of War: Ascension. Not a single one of those maintained strong enough sales to make a repeat appearance.
That’s compared to titles like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, NBA 2K13, and MLB 13: The Show. Sony’s baseball title, The Show, hung on at 10, which is impressive for a sports game exclusive to PlayStation hardware. Luigi’s Mansion held strong at six and NBA 2K13 jumped up to seven likely thanks to the start of the NBA playoffs.
Of course, Call of Duty: Black Ops II is still selling well.
Finally, for software, it’s worth noting that 3DS titles are starting to get a stronger foothold on this chart. Luigi’s Mansion is one thing, but Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins isn’t exactly a Nintendo staple. It might help that Nintendo published and promoted the game itself.
The Xbox 360 once again led all consoles in terms of sales with 130,000 units sold in April. That is 28 straight months of dominance against the PlayStation 3, the Wii U, and the Wii.
“When looking at month-to-month hardware trends with weeks normalized for the five-week March period compared to the four-week April period, we have seen declines hover around 30 percent over the past few years, while March 2013 to April 2013 declines were slightly higher at 38 percent,” said Callahan.
Like I said last month, the hardware market is saturated. Few people are buying hardware because just about everyone already has a console that wants one. Gamers are also hesitant to pull the trigger on new hardware in a year that might see the release of two brand new systems.
Sony already revealed its PlayStation 4 in February. Microsoft plans to lift the veil on the next Xbox during a presentation on May 21.