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Game spending was up slightly in April as Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners are buying more games.
Total new physical game software and hardware sales at U.S. retailers was up 3 percent from $579.5 million in April 2014 to $595.7 million in April 2015, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That increase didn’t come from hardware, which was down 4 percent from $191.9 million to $183.9 million. But the money that people saved from fewer console purchases went into spending $256.7 million on new games in April, and that is up 13 percent year-over-year from $227.6 million.
“April 2015 hardware sales decreased by 4 percent due to the 55 percent decline in sales of [Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii] hardware,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement provided to GamesBeat. “[Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U] hardware sales were stable, and portable hardware increased by 36 percent.”
But that’s all on cash basis. In terms of unit sales, console sales are actually up 12 percent.
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“Declines in hardware dollar sales were due to a decrease in average price of 4 percent, due to a drop in console hardware pricing,” said Callahan.
We’ll get to the software chart here in a second, but first it’s important to point out that these figures only come from new physical games and systems sold at retailers in the United States. NPD doesn’t track digital or used games, so this data is only providing a snapshot of a wider market.
Now, let’s get on to the top-selling games.
- Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One)
- Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One, PC, 360, PS3)
- Battlefield: Hardline (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
- MLB 15: The Show (PS4, PS3)
- Minecraft (360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4)
- NBA 2K15 (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
- Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
- Super Smash Bros. (3DS, Wii U)
- Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (PS4, Xbox One)
It was a slow month for notable releases. The one big new game, Mortal Kombat X, easily topped the chart, and MLB 15: The Show also came in strong at No. 4. But despite the dearth of new triple-A releases outside of those two, software sales were still up. This shows that gamers still want to spend money for anything that they can play on their new systems.
“For new physical console software, eighth-generation consoles sales grew by 200 percent in revenue, which offset declines from seventh-generation consoles of 62 percent, and portable declines of 32 percent,” said Callahan. “Overall, console software increased by 20 percent, leading to overall video game software growth of 13 percent.”
That thirst for content also helped Borderlands: The Handsome Collection and Dark Souls II: Scholars of the First Sin, which are both updates of previously released games, make their way into the top 10.
But as for the rest of the list, it’s a bunch of returning favorites. Grand Theft Auto V got a boost from its PC release while Battlefield: Hardline, Minecraft, Call of Duty, and Super Smash Bros. all keep on selling.
One game worth talking about that didn’t make the above list is Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. Nintendo revealed that it was the fifth best-selling game if you do not combine sales for platforms. Xenoblade only came out for the 3DS, so it’s at a disadvantage when compared to releases that are available across a huge range of different devices.
“If the top 10 software list was ranked on a SKU basis rather than a title basis, PS4’s Bloodborne, 3DS’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, and Wii U’s Mario Party 10 would make the list.”
We’ve already reported that the Xbox One was the top-selling console in the U.S. last month. That breaks a streak for the PlayStation 4, which has outsold its Microsoft competition since January.
“As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month,” Xbox marketing boss Mike Nichols said in a statement provided to GamesBeat. “Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014.”
Sony told us in its own statement that the PS4 remains the “cumulative leader” in terms of sales in the U.S.
As for Nintendo, it has us doing fuzzy math. Through the first four months of 2014, the 3DS’s sales have increased by 65 percent compared to the same four-month period in 2014. For the Wii U, it is up 15 percent in the first four months of 2015 compared to that period in 2014.
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