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NPD: New Physical Game Sales Rise In May

Port Washington, N.Y. — Spending on physical video gaming hardware rose a whopping 95 percent to $187 million dollars in May compared with the same month a year ago, according to findings from The NPD Group.

At the same time, sell-through of physical gaming software (console plus portable) climbed 57 percent to $274 million as total physical gaming software (console plus portable plus PC) grew 51 percent to $284 million and physical gaming accessories rose 8 percent to $124 million.

“These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories, which account for roughly 50 percent of the total consumer spend on games,” noted Liam Callahan, NPD Group games industry analyst. “When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in May, such as used and rentals at $124 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $787 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in May to be $1.46 billion.”

NPD will report consumer spending in areas outside of new physical retail sales in August in its “Q2 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. Report.”

 Callahan said continued growth across hardware and accessories, with a significant increase in new physical software spending, led to the overall spending increase in the new physical channel of 52 percent in May 2014 versus May 2013.

“The last time overall new physical channel growth saw a month-over-month increase of this magnitude was June 2008, with a 53 percent increase,” he added.

May results for physical gaming hardware sales marked the fifth consecutive month that Sony’s PlayStation 4 led hardware sales, he observed.

 “As seen in prior months, the lift in hardware sales was driven by console hardware, which increased 137 percent in May 2014 (vs. May 2013).  While much of May 2014’s hardware growth was due to Xbox One and PS4, there was also year-over-year growth for the Wii U, and PS Vita,” said Callahan.

 Two examples of hardware bundles that helped to drive hardware sales in May 2014 included the Mario Kart 8 bundle for the Wii U and the Borderlands 2 bundle for the PS Vita.

Software sales, meanwhile, rebounded in May 2013 after six months of declines, behind new launches for such titles as “Watch_Dogs,” “Mario Kart 8,” “Wolfenstein: The New Order,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and “Kirby: Triple Deluxe.”

 “Collectively, May 2014 launches sold 800 percent more in dollar sales than May 2013 launches did their respective launch months. New launches represented 50 percent of dollar sales this month, which compared to only 9 percent for new launches in May 2013.”

 “On the back of the No. 1 title, “Watch_Dogs,” Ubisoft was the No. 1 video game corporate publisher for the month,” Callahan continued.

In accessories, sales increased by 8 percent due to the continued success of video game point and subscription cards, interactive gaming toys, and gamepads, according to NPD. These three accessory types combined to grow 15 percent year over year from May 2013.

“May 2014 marked the highest selling May data month for video game point and subscription cards on record,” said Callahan.