The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 just finished their first 12 months on the market with a strong performance while The Evil Within brought survival-horror games back from the dead.
Consumers spent $790.7 million on new games, hardware, and accessories in October, according to a new report from industry-intelligence firm The NPD Group. That’s down less than a single percentage point from $791.3 million over the same period in 2013. Once again, the story is that people are spending money on new consoles and a whole lot less on new games.
“Overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories were essentially flat in October 2014 compared to October 2013,” NPD’s Liam Callahan said. “Hardware and accessory growth, at 59 percent and 22 percent, respectively, was enough to offset the decline in new physical software of 28 percent.”
Consumers spent $273.6 million on new consoles. Most of those, of course, were PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones. That left little cash in their pockets for games, which was down from $482.6 million in 2013 to $350.3 million this year — although last October was still a big month for Grand Theft Auto V on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Keep in mind that these NPD numbers only represent new physical games sold at U.S. retailers. It doesn’t factor in digital or used — as we reported earlier today, one out of every five copies of Destiny that people bought were digital. As such, the NPD report can serve as a snapshot of the trends in a bigger industry.
OK. With that out of the way, let’s get to the charts.
- NBA 2K15 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (3DS)
- The Evil Within (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, PC)
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (360, PS3, PC)
- Destiny (360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3)
- Skylanders: Trap Team (360, Wii, Wii U, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, 3DS, mobile)
- FIFA 15 (PS4, 360, PS3, Xbox One, Wii, PS Vita, 3DS)
- Madden NFL 15 (360, PS4, PS3, Xbox One)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4, XBox One, PC)
- Minecraft (360, PS3, PS4)
2K Games NBA 2K15 dominated what was a mildly disappointing month for new game releases. The best evidence for that is Super Smash Bros. for 3DS coming in at No. 2 despite selling more than 700,000 copies in the two days before this reporting period, which started Oct. 5. Nintendo confirmed that Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has now sold 1.2 million copies. More than 485,000 of those were in October and some portion were digital.
This means The Evil Within and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel both failed to outsell Nintendo’s big handheld four-player fighter despite this chart not including Smash’s biggest sales days.
But Bethesda still has to consider The Evil Within a success. It set a new record for the highest first-month sales for a release in the survival-horror genre, according to the NPD.
Microsoft, meanwhile, probably isn’t sure what to think of Sunset Overdrive yet. The Xbox One exclusive open-world action game was on sale for four days in October, but it didn’t crack the top 10. It did come in at No. 9 if you count games by console (meaning only the PS4 version of NBA 2K15 and the Xbox One version of The Evil Within). And of course, none of these sales include the bundled version of Sunset Overdrive that comes with the white Xbox One.
Sony confirmed that the PS4 outsold the other consoles again, though NPD, Sony, and Microsoft didn’t give actual numbers on systems sold.
It’s clear that the PS4 and Xbox One are continuing to fly off shelves.
“October 2014 marks the first 12 months of sales for the Xbox One and PS4,” said Callahan. “After the first year, these consoles have had a great start as cumulative sales are currently over 70 percent higher than the combined first year totals of Xbox 360 and PS3.”
The NPD Group also confirmed that the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U hardware made up 80 percent of the money spent on game-related products in October.
Microsoft did get back to us with a comment that echoed a blog post from Xbox marketing boss Yusuf Mehdi from earlier this week. The company pointed out that its recent price drop, from $400 to $350, has helped triple the Xbox One’s sales. It claims that its newish box has outsold the PS4 for the last two weeks.