GamesBeat

PS4’s The Last of Us: July’s best-seller, July’s biggest disappointment

Above: Joel fights a hunter in The Last of Us Remastered.

Image Credit: Sony

Gaming and I have a lot in common. We both lose a lot of money because of college football.

EA Sports didn’t release a new NCAA Football game in July, and while that hurt sales, it was anticipated. What analysts weren’t expecting was for PlayStation 4’s The Last of Us to come up short. New game sales at U.S. retail were down 15 percent year-over-year, according to industry tracking firm The NPD Group. That is worse than the down 11 percent that Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz was predicting, and he lays the blame at Sony’s headline July release.

“The PS4 version of The Last of Us undersold our estimate by about 50,000 units,” Creutz wrote in a note to investors. “And it was the single biggest factor in the miss versus our expectations.”

The Last of Us, a cinematic survival adventure that was GamesBeat’s game of the year when it first came out for the PlayStation 3 in 2013, actually finished July as the top-selling game of the month. It’s weird to say something that does that is a disappointment, but the fact is that last month was dismal. The Last of Us simply didn’t have to do much to top the software chart. With no new college football game, new releases took a nosedive compared to a year ago.

“July is typically a quiet month for software sales, representing about 5 percent of annual sales,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said yesterday. “Typically, EA’s NCAA Football launches in July, and [it] often ranks as the top game. As that title is no longer being produced, new launch sales declined steeply — close to 70 percent in July 2014.”

In fact, The Last of Us’s sales were bad enough to offset better-than-expected performances from three of the biggest publishers. Activision’s new game sales at U.S. retail were down 28 percent year over year, which is better than Cowen’s down 38 percent estimate. EA was down 48 percent, which is better than the down 51 percent. And Take-Two beat Cowen’s guidance of down 30 percent by only dropping 21 percent.

While The Last of Us’s lackluster performance and the absence of NCAA Football put a damper on July’s software sales, hardware still performed well. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sold enough to help total U.S. game retail to grow by 16 percent compared to July 2013. Paying for those systems now means that consumers have less money to spend on games this month, but it also means that more people will have the right hardware when publishers start shipping new software this fall.

I say fall because August is looking like another rough month for game sales.

“We expect August sales to be down about 10 percent year-over-year,” said Creutz.

Catalog sales for the last seven months won’t do much this month, and Madden NFL 15, which will likely sell better than last year’s Madden NFL 25, won’t completely offset the software’s 2014 sluggishness.

Last August saw Saints Row IV, Disney Infinity, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which is a much beefier release slate than Madden and PS4 and Xbox One versions of Diablo III. The negative year-over-year comparison will likely continue through September because nothing coming out this year will perform like last year’s Grand Theft Auto V. Next month will see the release of NHL 15, The Sims 4, and Destiny.

“We continue to believe that Q4 comparisons are likely to be double-digit positive due to a strong slate of titles and what we expect to be robust holiday hardware sales,” Creutz wrote. “We think physical software sales alone have a chance to finish in positive territory, though increasingly the digital plus physical number is the relevant — and unfortunately unmeasurable — comparison given that digital full-game downloads on console appear to be reaching a double-digit percentage of total sales.”

More information:

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 »

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 »

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24 comments
Candyce Moore
Candyce Moore

Was this written by a real journalist? I have to wonder, because the Last of Us Remastered was the best selling game of July and it didn't get released until July 28th.  In 4 days, it outsold all other games and you're calling that a disappointment? Ok.

Matthew Bryant
Matthew Bryant

Also, it's likely Destiny will sell a ridiculous amount.  The Sims 4 will sell truckloads.  Someone sucks at their job here...

Matthew Bryant
Matthew Bryant

LOL what?  Lackluster performance?  It sold 1.5 million copies in one day.  It's by far the best selling remaster to date.  Plus or minus 50,000 when you're talking millions of sales definitely isn't overly disappointing.  It's still selling fairly well too.  What a ridiculous article.  You didn't even include the actual sales numbers (which were extremely impressive for a console with a userbase of only 10 million).

Pete Oliva
Pete Oliva

It should have launched at $39.99. I'm actually quite surprised it did as well as it did. I purchased it, and I love it, but I know many gamers would not feel $50 was a fair price even if it was visually improved (60fps improved playability immensely) and includes DLC.

mike g
mike g

majority of PS4 owners had or still still have a PS3. a large majority of them have already played and beat "Last of Us". Why on hell would they dish out another $60 to buy a game that they already beat when there are dozens of NEW games out there to be played??? Did they really think that they would sell just as many copies?? 


there is one thing that is quite obvious......




THEY DIDN"T THINK THIS THROUGH!!!

Brian Walsh
Brian Walsh

This article isn't clear in any way. .. the last of us boosted ps4 hardware and software sales in July. If ur saying it's the worst month then this is the best July in a while. .lacklustre is a rediculous comment given that it's a beat seller on the ps4 after being owned by everyone on the ps3

mike olson
mike olson

It sold 2 million copies. How is that a disappointment? It sold more on release than titanfall did.

daniel velez
daniel velez

I don't think i want to drop $50 on a game i already own, maybe if the price drops to $39.99 i might reconsider it but until then i am not interested. I haven't purchased any games for the PS4 because the Pricing is so unfair and with Obama destroying the little jobs there are i can't afford to spend money foolishly.

Daryl Wall
Daryl Wall

The game came out on 7/29/14 that gives it 3 days to make an impact and regardless of your view on it it is a re-release.. I don't know what they were expecting in such a small amount of time when a lot of people probably waited until that Friday to pick it up due to it being a majority of peoples pay day.

Nick Stancato
Nick Stancato

TLOU was an overpriced re release. Had it been priced fairly, I and many others would have bought it

Matt Dickinson
Matt Dickinson

That's hard to believe. It was talked about constantly on Reddit and other places. Perhaps they aren't factoring in digital sales when they talk about units.

Rick Haines
Rick Haines

Maybe re-releasing every game under the sun isn't that great of an idea...

Matthew Bryant
Matthew Bryant

@mike g It sold almost 2 million copies in 24 hours.  Yeah, I'd say they definitely thought it through pretty well.  Sorry, but your comment is pretty ignorant.

mike olson
mike olson

It sold 1.5 million hard copies and over 500000 digital copies on release day. That's 2 million in 24 hours, titanfall sold 900,000 in three days. Pretty sure when a re-release beats one of the most overhyped new ips, it's a success

Herp Derp
Herp Derp

@Nick Stancato It comes with almost all the PS3 DLC and sells for $50. Fair price and it sold over a million easily.

Jeffrey Grubb
Jeffrey Grubb moderator VB Staff

@Matt Dickinson Well, this is only for U.S. retail sales. Both the prediction and the sales number only deal with new version of The Last of Us sold at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores.

Eric Williams
Eric Williams

@Rick Haines The game has sold more than 7 million on PS3 alone, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Remastered version to reach 2-3 million units sold worldwide.


So it actually is not a bad idea for some games, especially when you consider that the more than 200k units it sold were only for a short few days in USA alone.


The blame here should of course be put on the analyst for overshooting his prediction, but as with nearly everything in the business world, the problem has to be something else (it is TLOUR in this case), and not their wrong predictions / analysis.

mike olson
mike olson

He didn't even get the price right. Pretty sure he doesn't even have a ps4 by the looks of his comment. I bought it and already had it on ps3. One of the best games ever.

Joao Lopes
Joao Lopes

So digital sales had a bigger impact on brick-and-mortar sales than expected.

By now, industry analysts should know better.

This information is not accurate if digital sales arent taken into count. Same inaccuracy has been going on in the PC market leading many to believe PC game sales were down when in fact what has happened is a complete shift to digital. Steam success and growth is a clear proof of that.

Same is going to happen with consoles now that they support digital sales. Although there will be more resistance since no one wants to give console makers complete control over distribution.

Still digital needs to be taken into count to get the full picture.

Matthew Bryant
Matthew Bryant

@Eric Williams @Rick Haines It almost reached 2 million on the first day.  It's very possible it'll go on to sell 6 to 7 million.  It was an extremely successful remaster.  This site has no idea what they're talking about.

Sixty Hertz
Sixty Hertz

@Eric Williams @Rick Haines no it's a bad idea... the more a game sells the more reason NOT to re-release it. You achieved a larger saturation of your target market - thus less reason for anyone to buy it since your target market probably ALREADY bought it. if the game under sold then yes it may make sense to re-release it, otherwise it comes off as a cash grab... and even then it's a bit too soon to re-release a game (what, less than a year after it's release? i don't remember but it felt a bit early)... perhaps sony has learned a lesson on this one.

Herp Derp
Herp Derp

@Sixty Hertz Why are TLOU Remastered and other PS3 exclusive remakes being made?

1. financing for next gen projects
2. experience on next gen hardware to better create next gen projects
3. at least half of PS4 owners didn't own a PS3 which is a huge brand new audience
4. many PS3 exclusive games were critically acclaimed and sold well
5. there are already plenty of new IPs being created
6. assets made for late PS3 games are often higher quality than what goes into the PS3 version

TLOU is practically a new game to at least half (~4.3 million) of PS4 owners that never owned a PS3 and never had a chance to play it. Same with Beyond: Two Souls or any PS3 exclusive game brought to PS4.

TLOU is one of the most critically acclaimed video games ever and sold 7+ million copies on PS3, it's coming with DLC and multiplayer, 1080p 60 fps with better textures and visual effects, and releasing at a discount price.

Millions of gamers will buy and enjoy TLOU Remastered. Sorry if that upsets some fanboys and haters.

1080p/60 FPS.
Framerate is 60 fps with almost no drops through the entire game.
Texture maps are 4x more detailed.
Shadow maps 2x in 60 fps mode.
Higher resolution particle effects.
Occlusion mapping on decals.
No texture streaming.
Longer draw distances, better LOD.
Expanded audio menu options.
Possibility to lock frame rate at 30 FPS.
Possibility to swap trigger and thumbsticks controls.
DualShock 4 touch pad, light bar and speaker supported.
Cinematics with commentary by Neil Druckmann, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson.

Daryl Wall
Daryl Wall

@Sixty Hertz This re-release wasn't for people who already bought it on PS3.. well at least no one but the die hard fans. It is for everyone who bought a PS4 who never owned a PS3 and decided to jump from Xbox over when the new generation started. It was initially released in June of last year so about a year and a month it was re-released.

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