Console sales are on fire.
Gamers spent $736.4 million on new physical gaming products at U.S. retail in June, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That’s up 24 percent from $593.5 million in the same period last year. The new consoles once again were the big driver of that revenue, as more people pick up Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s. While hardware performed well, software was down despite a strong second month for Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8. That’s because new games released last month didn’t do much at retail.
“Sales of launch titles in June 2014 did not compare favorably to those launched in June 2013, which included the PS3 exclusive The Last of Us, along with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and a retail version of Minecraft for the Xbox 360,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan.
Gamers spent $286.8 million on new games at retail in June. That’s down 3 percent from $296.1 million year-over-year.
The Last of Us is a tough act to follow, and it doesn’t help that a ton of consumer spending was tied up in $292.7 million for new hardware. That number represented a 106 percent increase over June 2013.
As always, we like to point out that the NPD figures are not comprehensive. They only include new games sold at physical retailers in the U.S. That means no preowned sales, no digital distribution, and no mobile. That said, it is a decent snapshot of how the market is behaving.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get to the top-selling games.
1. Watch Dogs (PS4, 360, Xbox One, PS3, PC)
2. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
3. Minecraft (360, PS3)
4. UFC (PS4, Xbox One)
5. FIFA 14 (PS4, 360, Xbox One, PS3, Vita)
6. NBA 2K14 (360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
7. Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
8. Call of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Wii U, PC)
9. Tomodachi Life (3DS)
10. Grand Theft Auto V (360, PS3)
Watch Dogs was the big winner. Ubisoft revealed that it has already sold 8 million copies worldwide, which is an astounding number. It’s not a surprise that the open-world hacking game topped the list at U.S. retailers, but it is a bit of a surprise that the Xbox 360 version outsold the Xbox One game. All we’ve heard since November is that gamers want new-gen games. That’s still true for PS4, which was the top platform for Watch Dogs.
Another big winner in June was Mario Kart 8. Nintendo’s mascot racer snatched the No. 2 spot despite being on just one platform. The only other single-platform exclusive game to make the top 10 was also a Nintendo release: the social-life simulator Tomodachi Life.
Mario Kart 8 sold 470,000 physical and digital copies in June, which brings its total to 885,000 in just a little over a month.
Mario Kart 8 was actually the top-selling game on any one system, outselling Watch Dogs for PS4.
“These results reinforce the power of the Mario Kart franchise and speak to a bright future for the Wii U platform,” Nintendo of America executive vice president of sales and marketing Scott Moffitt said. “History has shown that Mario Kart games tend to have an extremely long tail. We fully expect Mario Kart 8 to continue to drive momentum for our hardware and software business through the holidays and into the foreseeable future.”
Nintendo will need that as it doesn’t have any other major Wii U releases before Super Smash Bros. hits late this year.
Minecraft at No. 3 still shows the strength of that phenomenon. While the physical PS3 version only debuted a few weeks ago, the year-old Xbox 360 version is still outselling it.
The rest of the list is sports or violence … sometimes both. UFC debuted at No. 4, Wolfenstein: The New Order returned at No. 7, and Grand Theft Auto V hit No. 10.
“In terms of software titles, many of the top games in June 2014 mirrored those of May 2014, with six of the same games ranking in the top ten,” said Callahan. “Three of these top ten games were also new launches from May 2014 — Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8, and Wolfenstein: The New Order — indicating the weakness of new launches in June.”
Finally, the World Cup gave EA Sports’ FIFA 14 a boost up to No. 5.
The PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console for the sixth month in a row, according to Sony. We’ve reached out for specific numbers, and we’ll update with any new information. This means that not even a $400 Xbox One could outsell the superhot PS4 — at least not yet.
The NPD noted that home-console sales were the big reason for the increase in spending.
“The 106 percent increase in hardware sales versus June 2013 was lifted entirely by console hardware sales, which were up by over 200 percent,” said Callahan. “The strong sales performance of console hardware helped to offset the declines seen in portable hardware.”
While Xbox One didn’t outsell PS4, it’s clear that both systems are selling well. Microsoft dropped the price of the Xbox One from $500 to $400 (and removed the Kinect camera), and the company revealed yesterday that the sales of the system doubled month-over-month.
“Combined sales of Xbox One and PS4 are over 80 percent higher than the combined totals for Xbox 360 and PS3 – an indication of the strength of the start of this new console generation,” said Callahan.