The lights are on
It’s no surprise that Watch Dogs came out on top of the May 2014 NPD report given its stellar performance out of the gate. This month did hold some surprises, and something for Nintendo to crow about.
While we don’t know the sales gap between the five-SKU Watch Dogs and second place, the fact that Mario Kart 8 sits nearly atop the chart is notable. The title is only available on one platform and only for two days in the reporting period. Its placement also does not include hardware bundles.
In fact, hardware was up by 95 percent year-over-year, reaching $187 million. Home consoles continue to grow by leaps and bounds with 137 percent growth over May 2013. NPD is reporting that PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console in May, though none of the big three have revealed numbers alongside the report.
Software, which has been down despite hardware growth, also saw a significant uptick of 57 percent to $274 million. New launches, including Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8, MLB 14: The Show on PS4, Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe pushed that number. New titles grew 800 percent in terms of dollar sales over the same month last year.
It's important to note that NPD only accounts for retail sales in the United States. The group suggests that its reporting of $586 million in new, physical sales accounts for 50 percent of total gaming spend in the United States.
Our TakeNintendo has a lot of reason to celebrate the success of Mario Kart 8, but the company absolutely must deliver more titles on the Wii U this year to capitalize on the momentum. If Smash Bros. on Wii U fails to emerge in 2014 (likely given the delay of the 3DS version), Nintendo will have squandered the opportunity for recovery.
Overall, the market is improving, especially when you account for digital growth not accounted for here. With the number of exciting titles coming out of E3, things are on the upswing.