The video game industry had another positive gain at retail in the last month of tracking before Sony and Microsoft launch their next-gen consoles. Once again, Grand Theft Auto led the charge, but it got some help from Pokémon, Batman, Battlefield, and Assassin’s Creed.
The industry managed to rack up $791.1 million in total sales for new hardware and software at retail in October, according to data-tracking firm The NPD Group’s latest report. That’s up 5 percent from 2012, when the industry generated $755.7 million in revenue. That doesn’t match the monster $1.08 billion September total, but analysts didn’t expect that.
Again, software sales made up for slipping hardware numbers. New game sales were up 12 percent to $482.5 million. That’s compared to $432.6 million in 2012. Consoles only produced $171.7 million, which is down 8 percent from $187.4 million in the same period last year.
“This is the third month in a row where overall video game retail sales increased,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “Up 5 percent over October 2012 due to 10 percent software growth combined with a modest 1 percent growth of accessories, while portable hardware sales minimized decreases in overall video game hardware sales.”
Keep in mind that these figures only represent the sales generated by new games and systems at retail. NPD does not track digital or used games, so these numbers only tell a part of the full story.
We’ll take a deeper dive into hardware performance, but first let’s look at the best-selling games chart.
- Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360, PS3)
- Pokémon X (3DS)
- Pokémon Y (3DS)
- Battlefield 4 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Batman: Arkham Origins (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
- Assassin’s Creed IV, Black Flag (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U)
- NBA 2K14 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
- Skylanders: Swap Force (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, Wii)
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, PC)
- WWE 2K14 (Xbox 360, PS3)
It’s not a big surprise that Take-Two’s massive Grand Theft Auto V repeated atop this list. It’s only the second month for the game on the market, and it will likely live on this chart for months to come.
October was always a major battle for second. During the month, Nintendo debuted Pokémon X and Y, EA published Battlefield 4, Warner Bros. released Batman: Arkham Origins, Activision gave the kids Skylanders: Swap Force, and Ubisoft unleashed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Out of those, Nintendo’s Pokémon easily dominated.
Despite Pokémon, Battlefield, Batman, and Assassin’s Creed all had strong showings, although Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is likely down a bit from last year’s Assassin’s Creed III. Also down was Skylanders: Swap Force, which fell to No. 8 on the chart.
“October 2013 marked the sixth consecutive month that the Nintendo 3DS led overall hardware sales,” said Callahan. “3DS hardware sales were supported by the launch of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y as well as from sales of the newest member of the 3DS family, the lower-priced 2DS.”
3DS sold a total of 452,000 units during October. The 2DS and Pokémon helped the 3DS line out so much that portable-consoles sales actually increased year-over-year. That’s the first time portable sales increased since February 2012.
As for the home consoles, it’s the calm before the storm.
This is the last NPD report before Sony and Micrsoft release their PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. Sony goes first. The PS4 debuts at midnight tonight for $400. Next Friday, Xbox One will go on sale for $500.
Those prices are pretty high, but demand seems high as well.
In terms of current gen (for now), Xbox 360 was the best-selling home console. This is a return to form after falling out of that position to PlayStation 3 for the first time in years last month.