The video game business in the United States is at the beginning of a generational transition. Hardware sales are down overall, but that’s not hurting Nintendo, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group.
Nintendo’s hybrid home/handheld Switch console was the best-selling hardware in terms of both dollar and unit sales in the United States for the month of June. It is also the best-selling console through the first half of 2019. Nintendo launched the Switch in March of 2017, and that means millions of people still haven’t picked up one unlike the much older Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems that debuted in 2013.
And Nintendo is going to stay aggressive in pursuing the audience that’s held off on purchasing a Switch so far. The publisher plans to launch a $200 Switch Lite on September 20. That is $100 less than the standard big-boy Switch.
Microsoft and Sony, meanwhile, are aching for the next-gen. Microsoft confirmed it is releasing the next Xbox by holiday 2020, and Sony is likely going to do the same with PlayStation 5. And both need it.
“Nintendo Switch is the only platform showing year-on-year growth,” said Piscatella.”Hardware spending in June 2019 dropped 33 percent when compared to a year ago, to $235 million. Year-to-date hardware spending has declined 20 percent versus year ago, to $1.3 billion.”
Accessories and game cards
The “other” hardware category in NPD’s monthly report includes peripherals like gamepads and headsets, and that’s still doing very well.
“Total June 2019 spending on accessories and game cards fell 7% when compared to a year ago, to $338 million,” said Piscatella. “Year-to-date sales of accessories and game cards has declined 1 percent when compared to a year ago, to $1.8 billion. Growth in gamepad spending has not been able to offset declines across other segments.”
That 1 percent decline is not really anything dire. Accessory sales are still near historical highs after massive growth in 2018 based on the strength of battle royale shooters like Fortnite.
The PS4 DualShock 4 Black Wireless Controller is the best-selling controller both in June and for the first half of 2019.