Sports Games Dominate September 2016 NPD Report

by Matt Miller on Oct 21, 2016 at 07:19 AM

The recent NPD report offers a mixed picture of the video game industry in September 2016, but it’s notable that sports games continue to dominate the early fall. NBA 2K17, Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17, and NHL 17 took home the top-selling spots. Both NBA 2K17 and FIFA 17 included detailed story-driven modes, which might have been attractive to many users. Even so, those top-selling sports titles couldn’t carry the industry to higher software, hardware, and accessories compared to last year; overall sales were down by 23 percent in September. 

The Xbox One continued a streak as the best-selling hardware in September, accounting for 37 percent of the overall hardware sales. “This was not enough to counter a revenue decline in total hardware,” says NPD analyst Sam Naji. “Due to average retail price declines for consoles and a decrease in hardware units sold for the PS4 and the Wii U, total hardware dollar spending declined by 25 percent since September 2015." At the same time, the PS4 Slim launched in September, and was the third best-selling hardware SKU. Nintendo had some good hardware news, as the 3DS continued a four-month trend of increased hardware sales, possibly in thanks to the resurgent popularity of the Pokémon brand.

There’s very little good news for the once booming toys-to-life market, which saw a whopping 75% drop in sales of accessories between last year and this year in the September time frame. However, it should be noted that last year saw the release of Lego Dimensions, Skylanders: SuperChargers, and over a dozen new amiibos in September, while this year’s Skylanders game had an October release, and thus is not accounted for in this report. 

Here’s the full report of the top selling physical sales of software for September 2016:

1. NBA 2K17
2. Madden NFL 17
3. FIFA 17
4. NHL 17
5. Bioshock: The Collection
6. Destiny: The Collection
7. Grand Theft Auto V
8. Overwatch
9. Forza Horizon 3
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops III


Our Take
September wasn’t a banner month for the video game industry this year, but many of the biggest holiday titles aren’t yet out. Followers of this sort of data would be wise to look at the full holiday season sales at the end of the year before drawing any sort of firm conclusions about the state of hardware and software sales for the latter part of 2016.