June 2012 NPD

What the Hell people!? I go on vacation last week, and no one posted this?

Xbox 360: 257K
Nintendo 3DS: 155K
Nintendo DS: 150K
Wii: 95K
Vita + PSP: ~100K (According to info in Nintendo’s PR statements.)

Top 10 Software

1.) Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, 3DS, PSV, PC) Warner Bros. - 450K
2.) Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3, PC) Ubisoft
3.) Diablo 3 (PC) Activision Blizzard
4.) Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC) Take-Two Interactive
5.) NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC) Take-Two Interactive
6.) Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC) Warner Bros.
7.) Pokemon Conquest (NDS) Nintendo
8.) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC) Activision Blizzard
9.) Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC) Electronic Arts
10.) The Amazing Spider-Man (360, PS3, 3DS, NDS, Wii) Activision Blizzard

Lollipop Chainsaw did 107K.

No PS3 sales volume?

Nope. Sony has pretty much stopped reporting hardware numbers.

The Gamasutra analysis

Very interesting analysis, thanks for posting.

From that analysis:

Currently the software market appears to be heavily driven by new releases, but that hasn’t always been the case. During the Wii’s heyday titles like Wii Play and Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii could shift as many units in a summer month as the top-selling new releases have in some months of 2012. The foundation of lower level catalog software sales appears to be much lower today.

I would be very interested in knowing how software unit and dollar sales compare if you simply strip out Wii Play and Wii Fit from the equation. I know that for a long time these things showed up way up on the software charts, and they each have pretty hefty price points for the game attached. However, I’ve never thought it was fair to consider these as entertainment software. Nobody bought Wii Play as a $60 game with a free controller; everyone bought it as a controller with a $10 game attached. Similarly, Wii Fit wasn’t a game, it was a hardware platform which came with a proof of concept example game.

People bought Mario Kart as a full price game and that was a charter (on DS and Wii) for years after release. Same for The Sims and Brain Training and Nintendogs

Not sure I can strip out the data you want out, mouselock. I don’t have full data access, just public data and some analyst comments. It would be an interesting exercise, however.

Also, Wii Play was $50 with a controller, I’m fairly certain.

Yes, I’m not talking about Mario Kart. That’s a full-on game and perfectly valid. But for a while there was a huge Wii hardware spike and, associated with that spike was the purchase of extra controllers and/or weird controllers. Wii Play fits the former, while Wii Fit fits the latter. In neither case do I think it’s valid to consider it a “software” sale (although it was always marked by NPD as such).

So to large extent the “failure” of the game market right now is actually about the abnormal crossover spike that the Wii made into mainstream circles for some completely non-gaming reasons. (For example, my mother owns a Wii and Wii Fit, but she’s not a console gamer, she owns no other console games, etc… If you didn’t consider a Wii Fit to be “software” then you’d be able to estimate the extent of this effect by comparing hardware unit sales to software sales. But since things like the Wii Play and Wii Fit were lumped in as software, you can’t really easily do this analysis.)

Do you have access to individual platform breakdowns? It would serve a similar purpose to compare 360+PS3 sales only over the years and see if there’s such a huge spike. I think the “decline” being currently seen is actually more of constant slow growth in a saturated market if properly accounted for, while the spike in the preceding years doesn’t represent a real expansion of the market, but instead a failed “crossover” spike as the Wii sold copies to old folks’ homes, parents, and other non-standard markets as “That thing that you can get some exercise with while you pretend to do simple sports games and yoga.”

Console gaming is d0med.

That bad, huh?

Currently the software market appears to be heavily driven by new releases, but that hasn’t always been the case. During the Wii’s heyday titles like Wii Play and Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii could shift as many units in a summer month as the top-selling new releases have in some months of 2012.

It was the case before the Wii too. The Wii era is the anomoly, not the other way around.

The foundation of lower level catalog software sales appears to be much lower today.

Lower than the Wii era? Again not surprising.

I remember at the time, Wii Play was not attached to hardware in all markets. Wii Sports could and had to be bought separate in some markets too… or are you wanting an North America centric take on figures?

I was under the impression that NPD only aggregated US sales figures in the first place. The graph upthread is certainly US centric…

Yep, you’re right. My mistake.

I remember when those games were hitting the top of the charts, there were some pretty lengthy discussions about how those games were not always attached to hardware in all markets… and some of those charts were not just one market.

As a followup to that great article, Matt now looks at each platform. Good stuff.

I don’t see how this analysis is useful without including mobile gaming / phone / iPad / android tablet numbers. It’s like reporting the standings for only half of the NFC.

Put another way: the only people who seem to distinguish between “gaming consoles” and tablet devices are people writing articles like this. Consumers aren’t drawing a distinction.

High budget games main market still is retail disc for consoles, so this analysis useful for that to see how is that market doing. On the X360 and PS3 taking in to account the reduced number of titles released, about 30% it said in the previous article, it seems that the revenue for title on these consoles is not very different from last year.

Yes they do. One machine is a device that can be carried anywhere and does cool things like connect to Facebook and Twitter, texts to friends, and and has access to an unlimited amount of free and 99 cent games. The other machine sits under the TV and plays $60 games. Mostly CoD.

You and I know there is a some crossover there (especially if you hunt bargains) but the general consumer most definitely sees them as two completely separate appliances that do very different things.

I agree with you but I also disagree.

There are (at least) two ways in which tablets disrupt the game console market. One of them is simply by competing for dollars. You can certainly imagine someone who buys a new stove and then says “Well, I don’t have money for a dishwasher now.” In this view, tablets and consoles are fundamentally different devices that both compete for disposable income, but they’re not direct competitors. Probably at least of the disruption comes from that, but let’s set that aside for now.

I assert (without proof!) that there is a significant number of people for whom both the console and the tablet reduce to “Electronic object on which I play games.” For these people, the calculation becomes “One box stays in my living room and has expensive games and catches fire and stops working about once every 3 years (footnote 1). The other box can be in my living room or bedroom or bathroom or car dealership or work or on the train and has lots of free and cheap games.” I’m saying that I think at least some part of the market has decided that the entertainment they are getting from the inconvenient explodey expensive-blades boxes is pretty much exactly the same, or less, gamewise as the entertainment they’re getting from the convenient, cheap-blades boxes, so fuck that, I’m gettin’ another tablet. I understand that the hardcore gamers, and those of us on internet forums, draw distinctions between these two devices. But I’m not convinced the general public outside of the 18-24 male demographic does. In this view, tablets directly disrupt the game console market in a very precise “Huh? Why would I ever buy one of those clunky old things?” way. The same way the moment the iPhone came out, every single person in the entire world realized that there was no fucking way they would ever, in a hundred million years, pay money for a Palm Treo.(Footnote 2)

I completely and totally admit that I have no actual evidence to back this up other than my anecdotal observations of my friends and relatives buying habits. But what it means to me is that for that chart to be useful, I want to see the tablet players stacked on top of the others so I can understand the extent to which the market is expanding or shrinking, vs. the extent to which the market is moving.

Footnote 1: Why, yes, I am still bitter.
Footnote 2: I am willing to bet money, again without proof, that I can find internet forum posts from 2005 or whenever it was released from Palm loyalists explaining how the Treo would continue to dominate because without a hardware keyboard the iPhone couldn’t possibly fill the same needs. This to me is isomorphic to the “Pfffft, real games need gamepads” attitude you’ll see echoed in a lot of these threads.