The Games Of June: Comparing 2010 Through 2014
Welcome, data heads, to another monthly retrospective. We’ve just updated May’s roundup with the NPD data we were waiting for, and the industry seems to be swinging back.
This month brings us some interesting changes, as more ID@Xbox games have rolled out (quietly), the Xbox One is now available without Kinect, and Nintendo continues to post big numbers for Mario Kart 8. Before we hit the summer slump, let’s look at what June 2014 has to offer.
We’ve included NPD data for the years gone by and will update this story with June’s NPD data once its available in July. As a reminder, NPD covers United States retail only. It's used as a data point for trends.
Week of June 1
- Ultra Street Fighter IV (PS3, 360 - Upgrades) - June 2
- 1001 Spikes (PS4, Vita, PC) - June 3
- Call of Duty: Ghosts - Invasion DLC (Xbox One, 360) - June 3
- Murdered: Soul Suspect (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, PC) - June 3
- Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (Vita) - June 3
- PlayStation Vita Pets (Vita) - June 3
- War Thunder (PS4) - June 3
- Wildstar (PC) - June 3
- Worms Battlegrounds (PS4) - June 3
- Tomodachi Life (3DS) - June 6
Week of June 8
- Entwined (PS4) - June 9
- Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Alpha DLC (Xbox One) - June 9
- Enemy Front (360, PS3, PC) - June 10
Week of June 15
- EA Sports UFC (PS4, Xbox One) - June 17
- Pushmo World (Wii U) - June 19
Week of June 22
- Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3, Vita) - June 24
- BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma (Vita) - June 24
- Blue Estate (PS4) - June 24
- GRID Autosport - June 24 (PS3, 360, PC) - June 24
- Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (PC) - June 24
- RBI Baseball (Xbox One) - June 24
- Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS) - June 24
- Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition (Xbox One) - June 24
- Another World (Xbox One, 0PS4, PS3, Vita) - June 25
- Contrast (Xbox One) - June 25
- Valiant Hearts (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC) - June 25
- Shovel Knight (Wii U, 3DS, PC) - June 26
- Sniper Elite 3 (PC) - June 27
Week of June 29
- Divinity: Original Sin (PC) - June 30
Again, it’s not hard to figure out when E3 was in 2013. Nintendo played it smart, releasing Animal Crossing: New Leaf right before the big event (as it did with Tomodachi Life in 2014). These are highly social games, and releasing them right before the games press is together for a huge event creates great word of mouth.
Notably, June 2013 is devoid of major retail releases. The Last of Us was a triumph for Sony, but Deadpool, Game and Wario, Remember Me, and Ride to Hell: Retribution were weak offerings. Portables had the run of things, though.
Animal Crossing, Hotline Miami, Limbo, and Project X Zone all fit perfectly with summer’s on-the-go nature. PC and digit-only also had a great month, with Gunpoint, State of Decay, Company of Heroes 2, and Rogue Legacy capturing a lot of attention.
Week of June 2
- Gunpoint (PC) - June 3
- Class of Heroes 2 (PSP, Vita) - June 4
- Limbo (Vita) - June 4
- Marvel Heroes (PC) - June 4
- Remember Me (PS3, 360, PC) - June 4
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Legendary Edition) (PS3, 360, PC) - June 4
- State of Decay (360) - June 5
Week of June 9
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS) - June 9
- Zeno Clash II (360) - June 12
- The Last of Us (PS3) - June 14
Week of June 16
- Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PS3, 360, Wii U, PC) - June 18
- Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Vita) - June 18
- Neverwinter (PC) - June 20
- New Super Luigi U (Digital - Wii U) - June 20
Week of June 23
- Game and Wario (Wii U) - June 23
- Joe Danger (PC) - June 24
- Joe Danger 2: The Movie (PC) - June 24
- Company of Heroes 2 (PC) - June 25
- Deadpool (PS3, 360, PC) - June 25
- Hotline Miami (PS3, Vita) - June 25
- Muramasa Rebirth (Vita) - June 25
- Project X Zone (3DS) - June 25
- Ride to Hell: Retribution (PS3, 360, PC) - June 25
- The Sims 3: Island Paradise (PC) - June 25
- Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded (PC) - June 27
- Rogue Legacy (PC) - June 27
- The Last Of Us (PS3)
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
- Minecraft (360)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
- NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
- Injustice: Gods Among Us (360, PS3, Wii U)
- Donkey Kong Country Returns (3DS, Wii)
- Deadpool (360, PS3)
- Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
June 2012 was a big month for late ports of PC games, with Max Payne 3, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, and Quantum Conundrum finally arriving. It also saw two big strategy releases in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion and Civilization V: Gods & Kings.
Spec Ops: The Line, which was lauded by critics for its story, didn’t chart in its opening month. However, the excellent Lego Batman 2 shot to the top with three other new releases in tow (five if you count Max Payne since it released on PC).
Week of May 27
- Max Payne 3 (PC) - June 1
Week of June 3
- Inversion (PS3, 360) - June 5
- Rayman Origins (3DS) - June 5
Week of June 10
- Pikmin 2 (Wii) - June 10
- Dirt: Showdown (PS3, 360) - June 12
- Gravity Rush (Vita) - June 12
- Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Vita) - June 12
- Gungnir (PSP) - June 12
- Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3, 360) - June 12
- Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion (PC) - June 12
- Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (Vita) - June 13
Week of June 17
- Pokémon Conquest (DS) - June 19
- Brave (PS3, 360, Wii, Vita, 3DS, DS, PC) - June 19
- Civilization V: Gods & Kings (PC) - June 19
- Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (PS3, 360, Wii, Vita, 3DS, PC) - June 19
- Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (360) - June 19
- Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (PS3, 360, PC, iOS) - June 20
- Quantum Conundrum (PC) - June 21
Week of June 24
- Penny Arcade Adventures - Episode 3 (PC) - June 25
- The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS) - June 26
- London 2012 (PS3, 360, PC) - June 26
- Spec Ops: The Line (PS3, 360, PC) - June 26
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC) - June 26
- Unchained Blades (PSP) - June 26
- Record of Agarest War 2 (PS3) - June 27
- The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help (PS3, 360, PC, iOS) - June 27
- Mini Ninjas Adventure (360) - June 27
- Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, 3DS, PSV, PC)
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3, PC)
- Diablo III (PC)
- Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC)
- NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
- Batman Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)
- Pokemon Conquest (NDS)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
- Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
- The Amazing Spider-Man (360, PS3, 3DS, NDS, Wii)
Do you remember when June was largely untouched by publisher hands? 2011 does. It also remembers Sony’s baffling choice to release a huge title (Infamous 2) right in the middle of E3.
As you can see by the NPD charts, it was a soft month for new releases. Despite a critical panning, Duke Nukem Forever finally released and climbed to the number two spot, edged out by May’s L.A. Noire.
Red Faction: Armageddon was criminally overlooked and is still loved by fans today. Shadows of the Damned, which brought together Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami and the wacky mind of Suda51 also underperformed despite critical appreciation.
Week of June 5
- Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion (3DS) - June 7
- Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS) - June 7
- Infamous 2 (PS3) - June 7
- Operation Flashpoint: Red River (PS3, 360, PC) - June 7
- Red Faction: Armageddon (PS3, 360, PC) - June 7
Week of June 12
- Wii Play Motion (Wii) - June 13
- Alice: Madness Returns (PS3, 360, PC) - June 14
- Child of Eden (360) - June 14
- Duke Nukem Forever (PS3, 360, PC) - June 14
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PS3, 360, Wii, NDS) - June 14
Week of June 19
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS) - June 19
- Cars 2 (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS, PC) - June 21
- Dungeon Siege III (PS3, 360, PC) - June 21
- F.E.A.R. (PS3, 360, PC) - June 21
- Shadows of the Damned (PS3, 360) - June 21
Week of June 26
- Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 (PS3, 360) - June 28
- Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (3DS) - June 28
- Sniper: Ghost Warrior (PS3) - June 28
- L.A. Noire (360, PS3)
- Duke Nukem Forever (360, PS3, PC)
- Infamous 2 (PS3)
- Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii, 360, NDS, PS3, 3DS, PSP, PC)
- Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC)
- NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, PC)
- Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3, 360)
- Cars 2 (NDS, Wii, 360, PS3, PC)
- Just Dance 2 (Wii)
Overall, June 2010 had few heavy hitters and weak sales for new releases. Alpha Protocol failed to live up to expectations, and critics and customers avoided it.
Transformers: War for Cybertron, one of the best takes on the franchise, failed to chart in its first month, but two youth-focused games managed to break through (and on Nintendo platforms). Toy Story 3 and Lego Harry Potter both managed to peek through in a month still dominated by May’s Red Dead Redemption and UFC 2010.
As a reminder, way back in 2010, NPD reported by platform instead of grouping all versions of a title together.
Week of May 30
- Backbreaker (360, PS3) - June 1
- The Sims 3: Ambitions (PC) - June 1
- Alpha Protocol (360, PS3, PC) - June 1
- Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow (PS2) - June 1
- Tecmo Bowl Throwback (PS3) - June 1
- Planet Minigolf (PS3) - June 1
- Hexyz Force (PSP) - June 2
Week of June 6
- Green Day: Rock Band (PS3, 360, Wii) - June 8
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) - June 8
- Mega Man Zero Collection (DS) - June 8
- Disgaea Infinite (PSP) - June 8
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PC) - June 12
Week of June 13
- Toy Story 3: The Video Game (PS3, 360, Wii, PSP, DS, PC) - June 15
Week of June 20
- Transformers: War for Cybertron (PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PC) - June 22
- Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air (PC) - June 24
Week of June 27
- Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (Wii) - June 27
- APB All Points Bulletin (PC) - June 28
- Deathsmiles (360) - June 28
- Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (PS3, 360, Wii, PSP, DS, PC) - June 28
- Naughty Bear (PS3, 360) - June 28
- Singularity (PS3, 360, PC) - June 28
- Sniper: Ghost Warrior (360, PC) - June 28
- Trinity Universe (PS3) - June 28
- Red Dead Redemption (360)
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
- Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
- New Super Mario Bros. (Wii)
- Just Dance (Wii)
- Wii Fit Plus (Wii)
- Toy Story 3 (DS)
- UFC 2010: Undisputed (360)
- Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Wii)
- UFC 2010: Undisputed (PS3)
Once again, the data we have for the past four years from NPD shows contraction in the industry from 2010 through 2013. It's hard to believe that overall retail sales in the United States (the limit of NPD reporting) have shrunk by 53 percent, but with the extended Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 console cycle, the market became more saturated. Thankfully, things are looking up.
As we showed in our updated data for May, the industry saw its first unequivocal upswing in years. There are a number of factors that should carry that through to June, though the summer release slump could drag things back down until fall.
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Software and hardware purchases bounced back in May 2014, and with the reduced price of Xbox One following the Kinect unbundling, I suspect we'll see an uptick. I also think that Mario Kart 8, which moved 2 million units in its first month, will help drive hardware numbers up.
In the same token, software should see some spring, Watch Dogs and Mario Kart will keep selling, and I expect we'll see both Tomodachi Life on 3DS and Sniper Elite on new and old consoles perform quite well. Everyone loves that X-ray camera, after all.
One thing we noticed when putting all five years next to one another is that the personality of the month has changed drastically. Five years ago, publishers steered clear of the month almost entirely. Once 2012 rolled around though, things began to shift. Infamous 2, Spec Ops: The Line, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Civilization V: Gods & Kings, Max Payne 3 on PC, and even a couple of crucial titles for Vita hit shelves.
That year was also the beginning of publishers dipping their toes into August (which we'll talk more about in a couple of months). The fall rush started to crack and bleed out a bit, as publishers tried to jockey for better, less crowded placement. It's been interesting to watch the expansion of the release calendar, but it also means that the summer slump has gotten shorter (and your wallet is a bit lighter throughout the year).
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Not only have we seen an increase in utilization in June over the past five years, there's been a shift in who is publishing. The month used to primarily be home to smaller publishers, with few AAA releases filling things out.
June 2014 sees the release of 11 self-published titles and fewer from small publishers. Sony has consistently had a single release in the month, Microsoft rarely publishes in June, and Nintendo has at least one, with as many as three (2013). Capcom has also consistently released something in June, though 2014 was surprise DLC for Dead Rising 3.
Activision uses the month for smaller releases like movie-based games, though the original Transformers: War for Cybertron did hit in June. This may suggest that there were lower expectations for it.
Click to enlarge (note that the Xbox One and PS4 lines overlap).
PC releases in June have been ramping up significantly over the past five years, while titles of home consoles have been on a steady decline. The entries are nothing to shrug at either, with Civilization V: Gods & Kings, Company of Heroes 2, Max Payne 3, Quantum Conundrum, and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier all coming out in June. It will be interesting to see if this continues given Steam's late June summer sale.
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June sees a concentration of releases just before and approximately two weeks after E3. As the event shifts a bit on the calendar each year, the spikes occur at different times. Weeks four and five saw the most releases when aggregated across all five years, with thirty-one and thirty-three respectively. Week one is the lowest with eighteen.
We'll update this data once the June NPD report is released in July.