June 2017 NPD Analysis

From VentureBeat

June Results

  • Total: $765 million (up 7 percent from $712 million in June 2016)
  • Hardware: $231 million (up 27 percent from $182 million)
  • Console software: $343 million (up 1 percent from $339 million)
  • PC software: $32 million (up 2 percent from $31 million)
  • Accessories: $159 million (down 1 percent from $160 million)

Total video game spending in June 2017, which includes hardware, software and accessories, increased 7 percent versus year ago to $765 million,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Accessories was the only category to see a decline in spending.

The increase in hardware sales seems to be driven by stronger sales of the PS4 and the Switch (which wasn’t released this time last year, obviously). What the analyst doesn’t mention is despite multiple new games this month, software sales for consoles increased only 1 percent. This seems to be a flattening as the 8th generation consoles wind down. The Switch contributed to an increase in software sales, so sales of the PS4 and the 3DS are likely down this month.

Software

  1. Tekken 7
  2. Injustice 2
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy
  5. Arms
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  8. Overwatch
  9. NBA 2K17
  10. Horizon Zero Dawn

The NPD combines SKU together, rather than report an individual game. This means exclusives are further down the list. This is especially true for Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy and ARMS.

One thing to notice is, despite the multiple SKUs taking the top spots, Nintendo has a very strong presence. Nintendo Switch lacks the install base of other consoles (and PC), yet Nintendo has 3 of the top 10 best selling games. One of them is a brand new IP. We may very well see a situation in a year or two where Nintendo dominate the best selling games charts similar to the Wii and DS (which was the reason for the change to reporting multiple SKUs)

We’ll get to Crash below, but here is what the analyst had to say about the game:

“Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy had a strong debut, reaching number 4 on the month’s top-seller chart despite having only two days in market,” said Piscatella. “Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is the first Crash Bandicoot franchise game to debut in the top 5 since Crash Bandicoot: Warped, which launched on the Sony PlayStation in November 1998”

Hardware

“The PlayStation 4 was June’s best-selling hardware platform, driven by the Slim PlayStation 4 system in Gold with 1TB HDD,” said Piscatella. “It was the best performing June for PlayStation 4 unit sales to date.”

The analyst statement aligns with total software sales. Despite strong sales for PS4, overall software sales only grew 1 percent. This is in spite of the large library of games on the PS4 and Nintendo propping up sales with their new system.

However, I don’t think the Gold system alone was the reason for the increase. Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is also a reason for the increase (if not the main reason). As the analyst mentioned above, Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is the first time the series topped the charts since 1998. As I mentioned before, Crash Bandicoot did very well in the late 90s and later fell off due to quality.

The rule in the console market is that games sell software. So when you have a major hit like Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy doing incredibly well, it’s no surprise that sales of the PS4 would also go up. A Gold PS4 with a 1TB HHD may be nice, it’s just a shiny box without any games. Thus, I think Crash was the catalyst for the PS4’s strong sales. 

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