The lights are on
This month saw lower sales than June 2012, but thankfully, things improved after last month's terrible performance. The top ten best selling retail games from last month tell an interesting story. As a reminder, NPD only tracks retail sales in the United States. It is valuable as a slice of the picture and for identifying trends, but it is not all-encompassing yet.
This marks the first time in this generation that the top three spots were held by first-party platform exclusives from three different parties. All three of these titles were also available digital simultaneously with retail release (or in the case of Minecraft, before).
Nintendo is boasting 225,000 3DS handhelds sold, making it the best-selling video game hardware in the United States. This is up from 155,000 in June 2012 bolstered by a strong lineup that includes Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Project X Zone. The former stormed to the number two position.
Thankfully for Microsoft, handhelds are in a separate category. This means that the Xbox 360 holds onto its record of being in the top console spot (making this 30 months running).
Microsoft sold 140,000 Xbox 360 consoles, up from 114,000 last month, but down from 257,000 units during the same period last year. June 2011 to June 2012 saw a 49 percent drop. This year is even worse, with a 54 percent plummet.
Total video game sales are down 15 percent year-over-year from $700.6 million to $593.3 million. Thankfully, this an uptick over last month's abysmal performance of $386.3 million.
Hardware is down 30 percent year-over-year from $201.5 million to $142 million. Console software is down only 10 percent from $328.8 million to $296.1 million, with PC software sales (already a small slice of purchases) only accounting for an additional $17.7 million. Accessories are once again down, this time 9 percent from $170.3 million to $155.2 million.
Additionally, the Ouya was mentioned in the NPD Report for the first time. “June 2012 was the first month of retail sales for Ouya (not counting direct sales through ouya.tv) and were relatively light for a new console," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. "This may be due to the lack of a major marquee title driving consumers to seek out the console, low awareness due to Ouya being a new brand, or low inventory volume due to manufacturing constraints.”
Our TakeSales of hardware and software are still flagging, and it will be extremely interesting to get a broader perspective once digital sales are included. The PC segment is huge, and many gamers opt to use Steam, GoG, and other digital delivery platforms.
The 3DS is showing itself for the powerhouse that it is, selling significantly more year-over-year, and carrying the number two spot with a casual game. With the inclusion of new Streetpass games (which will continue to inspire people to carry their consoles) and a strong lineup that includes Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Pokemon X & Y, and Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, this year is only looking better for Nintendo on the handheld front.
The Last of Us isn't a surprise to see in the top spot, but to do so right now is of particular note. New intellectual properties typically do much better early in a cycle. The success of The Last of Us is testament to Naughty Dog's skill. While I may not want to see a sequel to this game for narrative reasons, I am absolutely looking forward to whatever the Uncharted studio does next (yes, that was a hint).