Sony’s co-marketing deal for Destiny helped the PlayStation 4, but Microsoft had some good luck with its own free-game promotion as well.
Consumers spent $1.1 billion on new physical games and consoles at U.S. retailers during the five-week period from Aug. 31 to Oct. 4, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That is up 2 percent from $1.08 billion over a similar period in 2013. The year-long trend of new-console sales making up for lackluster software continued once again.
Hardware sales generated $432.7 million in revenue at retail in the U.S. That is up 136 percent from last September’s $183.4 million. Consumers also spent more than twice as much on buying new consoles as compared to August. That’s likely thanks to the release of publisher Activision’s massively successful sci-fi shooter, Destiny.
“Hardware growth of 136 percent versus September 2013 is the highest growth rate seen this year,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said. “As seen in previous months, was driven by new console hardware sales of PS4 and Xbox One. Console hardware, specifically, was up over 200 percent versus September 2013.”
While Destiny’s sales may be good, they weren’t enough to match last year’s gigantic September. Consumers spent $481.2 million on new games at retail last month, which is down 36 percent from $754 million in September last year. That tough comparison is largely due to Rockstar Games releasing the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto V in September 2013.
“When taking out Grand Theft Auto V and Destiny, sales increased when looking at top 2 through 9 games only,” said “This is an indication that sales decline this year were rooted in a poor comparison to last September’s behemoth, Grand Theft Auto V.”
As always, it’s important to keep in mind that the NPD report only represents a fraction of the overall gaming industry. These figures only include new physical games sold at U.S. retailers. That means no used software and no figures on spending for digital or mobile games or in-game purchases.
OK. Now, it’s time to get to the software sales chart:
- Destiny (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3)
- Madden NFL 15 (360, PS4, PS3, Xbox One)
- FIFA 15 (PS4, 360, PS3, Xbox One, Wii, Vita, 3DS)
- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (3DS)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- NHL 15 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
- Minecraft (360, PS3)
- The Sims 4 (PC)
- Disney Infinity 2.0 (360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One)
- Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS4, 360, PS3, Xbox One, PC)
- Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
You’re probably not shocked that Destiny, from Halo developer Bungie, topped the sales list, but here’s something that might surprise you: It sold better on Xbox One than on PlayStation 4 (you can tell which version of a game sold better by looking at the order of the platforms in the parenthesis).
Well, “sold” isn’t exactly accurate in this situation.
Destiny debuted on Sept. 9 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. From Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, Microsoft gave away a free game for those who bought a new Xbox One. It’s likely that many people took advantage of that offer to get the hot new release of the week, which was Destiny. Also, Sony had a Destiny bundle, and the NPD figures don’t consider software packed-in with a system in this chart.
Regardless, Microsoft has to take some comfort in the fact that its free-game promotion didn’t completely fizzle out. But the promotion didn’t help Microsoft beyond Destiny.
This September wasn’t nearly as bad as the sales comparison makes it look.
“PlayStation led the month for next generation software, including selling the most copies of Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, and FIFA 15,” Sony Computer Entertainment America brand boss Guy Longworth said.
As for the rest of the chart, Madden, Minecraft, and Diablo III are all back from last month, but the rest of the list is nothing but new releases.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is probably one of the more notable games. It only had two days of sales on this chart, but it still managed to leap to the No. 4. Nintendo confirmed that the game sold 705,000 copies. It even outsold multiplatform games like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Disney Infinity 2.0.
Publisher Electronic Arts also had a decent month with Madden, FIFA, NHL, and The Sims all selling well.
Destiny performed better on Xbox One, but Sony still ended up winning the month. That is despite analyst Michael Pachter predicting the Xbox One would come out on top earlier this week.
“Thanks to the support from fans and the overwhelming popularity of the limited-edition Destiny PS4 bundle, PlayStation 4 won the month of September, with PS4 nearly tripling its August sales,” said Longworth.
Estimates put the PS4 at around 550,000 units sold in September.