GamesBeat

July 2013 NPD: Animal Crossing is officially a system seller

Above: The official Animal Crossing 3DS XL from Nintendo.

Image Credit: Nintendo

Total console and PC game sales continue to shrink at retail, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.

New physical software, hardware, and accessories generated $443 million at U.S. retailers in July, according to the NPD’s monthly report. That’s down 19 percent from $549.1 million in July 2012.

As always, it’s important to keep in mind that these figures do not include digital sales on platforms like Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, or PlayStation Network. It also doesn’t account for the entire gaming industry, which now encompasses lucrative platforms like mobile and social gaming.

Digital-distribution tracking firm SuperData Research reported earlier today that total digital gaming sales reached $1.1 billion in July. That includes everything from consoles, mobile, social, free-to-play MMOs, and subscription-based games like World of Warcraft.

Let’s look at the top-10 best selling new physical retail games of July:

Software

  1. NCAA Football 14 (Xbox 360, PS3)
  2. Minecraft (Xbox 360)
  3. The Last of Us (PS3)
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
  5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
  6. Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  7. Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
  8. Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U)
  9. NBA 2K13 (Xbox 360, PS3 ,Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
  10. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PS3, 3DS, Wii U, Vita, PC)

“The top 10 games represented a higher share of overall spending in July 2013 compared to July 2012,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said. “However, these ten titles combined to sell ten percent fewer units than the top ten last year.”

Electronic Arts’ college football game topped the list. It usually performs well, and this high placement can help explain why EA Sports isn’t willing to stop making college football games even though it recently lost the NCAA license. EA will continue to feature real college teams in its games, but the title will have a different name starting next year.

For the second month in a row, the physical version Minecraft for Xbox 360 climbed to the top of the charts. This is another example of just how big of a draw this game is and why it is so important that Microsoft locked it up as a console exclusive for Xbox One.

The Last of Us also had another strong month. It dropped from the top spot in June to third in July. The Naughty Dog-developed title and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf are again the only platform exclusives to make the top 10. Nintendo revealed that Animal Crossing: New Leaf sold another 150,000 units in July, many of those digitally through its eShop download store. That brings the community simulator to 660,000 in total sales in U.S. since its launch.

The only real surprise on the list is Ubisoft’s first-person action game Far Cry 3. The title was absent from this list for many months, but it returns on the strength of a sale that saw it discounted to around $20.

The NPD also revealed that Shin Megami Tensei IV and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the 3DS also sold well. Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition for Xbox 360 did as well. If you only look at sales on a single-platform basis, then all three would have made it on the top 10.

Hardware

“For the third consecutive month, hardware sales were led by the Nintendo 3DS,” said Callahan. “For consoles, the Xbox 360 had the highest hardware sales with July 2013, making it the leading console for thirty-one months in a row. The 3DS was the only hardware platform to show growth over last July.”

Nintendo didn’t provide exact units sold, but it said that sales of its handheld increased 14 percent compared to July 2012. The console manufacturer directly credits Animal Crossing for the increase.

“The last time a portable was the top-selling hardware platform for three consecutive months occurred from October 2010 to December 2010 with the Nintendo DS,” said Callahan.

As usual, the company didn’t reveal anything about the performance of the Wii U. After months of silence, Nintendo reported that it only sold 160,000 Wii U consoles worldwide during its last fiscal quarter from April 1 through June 30. That’s compared to the Xbox 360, which sold 140,000 units in June alone and only in the U.S.

Microsoft revealed that it sold 107,000 units in July.

Sony did not release its sales figures for July.


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