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August NPD: Madden Scores, Xbox One And PS4 Sales Keep Trucking

by Mike Futter on Sep 11, 2014 at 01:27 PM

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The NPD Group has issued its report for August 2014, revealing a strong month for hardware, but a soft month for game sales at retail in the United States. Madden NFL 15 takes the top spot for August, with only two other new releases appearing on the top ten list.

Total retail sales are up over 2013 by 8 percent, with the industry growing to $561.3 million at retail according to the report. Hardware had another strong month with a 116 percent growth from 2013, and a notable uptick in Xbox One and PlayStation 4 adoption.

Those consoles are selling 70 percent faster than their last-generation counterparts. The new hardware also represented 70 percent of the hardware sales in August, which is the biggest share they’ve had since launch in November 2013.

Software was weak in the month, partially because of comparison against 2013’s strong lineup. Last year saw the release of Disney Infinity, Saints Row IV, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Payday 2, and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Disney Infinity 2.0’s September release represents a huge decrease just by itself, and overall sales were down 41 percent year-over-year.

Last-gen software saw a big drop, amounting to a 57 percent dip from last August. Overall, retail software dropped 21 percent, weighing in at $231.6 million.

In addition to Madden, Diablo III’s Ultimate Edition on consoles and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare on PS4 represent the only other August new releases to chart. Here’s the full top ten list, with platforms listed in order of sales performance. 

Note that with the exception of Call of Duty: Ghosts, PlayStation 4 versions outsold Xbox One installments. Also, NPD does not include bundled software, which may have skewed the Madden NFL 15 rankings due to the Xbox One bundle.

  1. Madden NFL 15 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
  2. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)
  3. Minecraft (360, PS3)
  4. The Last of Us (PS4, PS3)
  5. Call Of Duty: Ghosts (360, XBO, PS4, PS3, PC, NWU)
  6. Lego Marvel Super Heroes (360, PS3, NWU, PS4, 3DS, NDS, XBO, PSV, PC)
  7. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare (360, PS3, PS4, XBO)
  8. Watch Dogs (PS4, 360, PS3, XBO, PC)
  9. Battlefield 4 (360, PS3, PS4, XBO, PC)
  10. The LEGO Movie Videogame (360, 3DS, PS3, NWU, PS4, XBO, PSV)

We reached out to both Sony and Microsoft for comment (NPD did not clarify which company sold more consoles in August). 

“Xbox One sales are on a positive trajectory, nearly doubling sales in August in the U.S. compared to July due in part to strong demand for the Xbox One ‘Madden NFL 15’ bundle,” a Microsoft representative told us via email. “The holiday season is upon us we’re looking forward to bringing the best value bundles, incredible offers like the ‘Buy a Console Get a Game Free’ promotion running now and more great games as we gear up for the launches of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2, Destiny, Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.”

Sony tells us that PlayStation 4 lead hardware sales for the eighth month running. According to Guy Longworth, senior vice president of PlayStation marketing, Sony led in combined home console hardware sales, also. At Gamescom last month, Sony announced it had crossed the 10 million units sold mark.


Our Take
Both consoles are off to a strong start, but this holiday season is the first real crucible. I’ll be eager to see how hardware sales jump and what happens to the balance between last-gen and new-gen software sales. We’re already starting to see a significant downturn in games for the older consoles, and I don’t expect that will slow as people receive PS4s and Xbox Ones for the holidays.