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Last year was one of the biggest ever for game and hardware sales, and that’s going to make it difficult for 2019 to compete. But Nintendo Switch, which is younger than the other hardware platforms on the market, is maintaining its momentum. And it offset some of the declines that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are finally starting to face.
The Nintendo Switch outsold the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in the United States, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. The hybrid home/handheld console sold both more units and generated more revenue than either Sony’s or Microsoft’s boxes.And it did so while the other systems got Resident Evil 2 and Kingdom Hearts III.
“Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware platform of January 2019. Both in dollar and unit sales,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Switch was the only console platform to show year-on-year sales growth.”
But the Switch couldn’t buoy the entire market. Sales were still down overall — although that doesn’t necessarily mean they were disappointing. This is part of the naturally ebb-and-flow of hardware trends.
“Hardware spending in January 2019 declined 28 percent when compared to a year ago, to $199 million,” said Piscatella. “But total hardware dollar sales were the second highest total achieved since the $239 million reached in January 2014.”
Accessories and game cards
Beyond the console units, accessory sales were down compared to January 2018. Of course, that’s a tough comparison to when Fortnite was still on the upswing. That game, among others, drove people into stores to exchange hard currency for game cards, new gamepads, and communication headsets.
“Total spending on accessories and game cards fell 12 percent in January 2019 when compared to a year ago, to $267 million,” said Piscatella. “Slight gains in gamepad spending were offset by declines across other accessory segments and game cards.”
With Electronic Arts and Respawn launching Apex Legends, it’s possible we could see this segment rebound next month.
As for the increase in gamepad sales, a lot of that goes to Nintendo.
“The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller was January’s best-selling accessory with dollar sales increasing 40 percent when compared to a year ago,” said Piscatella.
That is likely part of so many people getting the console over the holidays and buying a Pro Controller for their Switch to play games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
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