The lights are on
2015 closed with good news for all three of the console manufacturers. While Sony lead the month of December and 2015 as the top-selling console, the current generation is looking healthy.
The NPD Group says that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are outpacing their predecessors by 47 percent. December marked the best month for retail software this generation, as Microsoft and Sony both saw the best month for Xbox One and PS4 physical software sales. It was also the second-best month for Wii U retail software.
December 2015 was also the best month on record in the United States for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And current-generation hardware (including Wii U) set a new sales record, which was previously held by November 2015.
Unfortunately, the total $3.26 billion spend across United States retail dipped by 1 percent from December 2014. Hardware was six percent lower in total, largely on the sharp fall-off of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sales. New physical software sales were also down 3 percent, though accessories (point cards, peripherals, and toys-to-life figures) were up 10 percent year-over-year.
The industry remained level in 2015, with total spending holding at $13.13 billion. On a whole-year basis, the industry saw dips in hardware and retail software, but a solid 12 percent jump in accessories.
Publishers have commented on their success in response to the NPD report. Sony issued a statement saying it had the strongest third-party software sales in the United States at retail for the 12-month period.
Activision reinforced its top seat in December 2015, letting us know that it took both the month and the year in terms of unit sell-through and revenue by a "wide margin." The publisher touts the franchise's ongoing success, indicating that Call of Duty has now passed 250 million units life-to-date. "This also marks the seventh year in a row that Call of Duty has been the #1 selling franchise in North America, according to NPD," says Activision senior vice president and general manager for Call of Duty Rob Kostich.
Here is the full top ten list for December 2015 and the entire year:
Full Year 2015
Our TakeNotable on this list is significant uptick in Star Wars Battlefront sales. The Force Awakens clearly propelled the game upward in the charts after landing at number three in November behind Call of Duty and Fallout 4. Kudos are in order for Telltale, which has every reason to be happy about Minecraft: Story Mode's placement on the list. It's also not a surprise that the holidays see the return of Minecraft, Madden, FIFA, and GTA V to the top 10 list.