May 2013 NPD: Injustice Reigns Again, This Time Over Weakest Month Since May 2000

by Mike Futter on Jun 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM

The May 2013 NPD report on United States retail video game sales has been released, and the news is not good for the video game industry. Injustice sits atop the charts for the second month in a row, but it presides over a much weaker month than its debut period.

Total video game sales saw a 25 percent decline year-over-year from $517 million in May 2012 to $386.3 million in 2013. This includes $96 million in hardware (down 31 percent from May 2012), $175.1 million in new software (retail only; down 31 percent from May 2012), and $115.3 million in accessories (down 6 percent from May 2012).

The latter category was buoyed by Skylanders sales, which are up fifty percent in terms of units and nearly 60 percent with regard to expenditures. As a reminder, the NPD does track digital units sold. During earnings calls for EA and Activision last month, the publishers both shared impressive statistics on digital sales.

According to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, this is the worst month since May 2000.

In terms of hardware, the 3DS continues to be a powerhouse for Nintendo. Sales were flat in comparison to last May, but more of the handheld were moved than Microsoft's Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 did cling to the top console spot for the twenty-ninth month, though. The 3DS was also represented well in this month's best selling software list, holding three of the ten spots.

The NPD's Liam Callahan also notes that new releases were down sharply from last May. Sales of new games were extremely weak, with 70 percent fewer units moved per new title and 80 percent lower revenue for each. One interesting note is that sales of point and subscription cards set records for both units and cash expenditures. This is possibly driven by significant sales happening on digital platforms.

Here are the best selling games of May 2013:

  1. Injustice: Gods Among Us (360, PS3, Wii U)
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
  3. Donkey Kong Country Returns (3DS, Wii)
  4. Dead Island: Riptide (360, PS3, PC)
  5. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
  6. Metro: Last Light (360, PS3, PC)
  7. NBA 2K13 (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC)
  8. Bioshock Infinite (360, PS3, PC)
  9. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  10. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (360, PS3, Wii, NDS, 3DS, Wii U, Vita, PC)

For more information on recent trends, read our story on last month's NPD report.