As everyone expected, Grand Theft Auto V had a monster month. That helped total retail sales of new games grow by a huge amount compared to last year, according to market-research firm The NPD Group.
In its monthly report, NPD found that total game-related sales grew 27 percent from $848 million in September 2012 to $1.08 billion this year. It’s important to keep in mind that these NPD figures only track new game sales at retailers. The analysis company does not include digital sales in these numbers.
The boost in revenue comes primarily from a handful of huge triple-A releases. The aforementioned Grand Theft Auto V, EA Sports’ Madden NFL 25, and 2K Games’ NBA 2K14 helped generate $754.3 million in software sales. That’s up a whopping 52 percent from $497.5 million year-over-year.
We’ll take a closer look at the still stagnant hardware numbers, but first, let’s look at the best-selling games.
- Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360, PS3)
- Madden NFL 25 (Xbox 360, PS3)
- NBA 2K14 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Diablo III (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- FIFA 14 (Xbox 360, PS3, Vita)
- Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (PS3)
- Disney Infinity (Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, Wii U, 3DS)
- NHL 14 (Xbox 360, PS3)
- Minecraft (Xbox 360)
- Saints Row IV (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
The obvious winner is GTA V. Take-Two Interactive’s open-world crime game already made headlines for generating more than $1 billion in sales in just three days. Clearly, it was always destined to top the September sales chart.
Sports games also had a strong month. Football, basketball, soccer, and hockey are all represented in the top 10.
Remakes and ports of older titles also sold well. Blizzard’s Diablo III action role-playing game for consoles was in the top 5, and Square Enix’s updated RPG Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix was especially strong considering it was a Sony exclusive.
Console sales were down again. That’s not shocking. Microsoft and Sony already saturated their markets with years of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sales. Now, hardcore gamers are in a holding pattern for next-gen systems like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which will both debut in November.
Nintendo revealed that its 3DS once again took the No. 1 spot. This marks the fifth straight month that the 3D portable was the top-selling device, and it will likely repeat in October thanks to the launch of Pokémon X and Y and the new 2DS hardware.
In September, Nintendo also cut the price of the Wii U. It began selling the Deluxe version for $300. It also sold a $300 Wii U bundled with a download code for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. Those moves were enough to increase sales. The company confirmed a 200 percent increase over Wii U’s August numbers. Nintendo didn’t specify the exact number of Wii U units it sold.
“PS3 was the top selling console this month, breaking the 32-month streak of the Xbox 360 leading console hardware sales from January 2011 to August 2013,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “The PS3’s success this month was largely driven by sales of the PS3 Super Slim 500GB Grand Theft Auto V bundle demonstrating how Grand Theft Auto V can shake things up on in hardware as well as software.”
NPD does track the exact sales of hardware like Wii U and Xbox 360, and it also tracks hardware like the Android microconsole Ouya and Nvidia’s Shield handheld, but it does not share those numbers with the press.