The yearly release of EA Sports' Madden franchise has once again proven successful for the publisher, as today's sales report from The NPD Group for the month of August shows that Madden NFL 18 was the top-selling title for the period. And of course, Nintendo Switch continued to do well, leading all other hardware. That wasn't enough to prevent year-over-year declines, however.
Total video game sales were down 2% to $568 million for the reporting period, with video game software also down 2% to $271 million, hardware down 6% to $168 million and PC game software down 23% to $11 million. The only category that saw a boost was accessories, up 10% to $118 million, driven by Xbox One S controllers, Turtle Beach headsets, Switch Pro controllers and game cards.
While August was a little slow, in terms of PC and video game software, sales are tracking roughly in-line with 2016. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella pointed out that year-to-date, dollar sales are down less than 1% compared to a year ago at $2.9 billion. And GTA V's staying power (it was number two this August) has been incredible.
Piscatella noted, "Grand Theft Auto V has now been on the market 49 months and has achieved 41 Top 10 chart appearances, 16 more times than any other single title in reported history. In addition, Grand Theft Auto V is the all-time best-selling game by both revenue and units in tracked sales across PC, console and portable with digital and packaged combined."
It's worth mentioning that Uncharted: The Lost Legacy also fared well, grabbing the third spot on the chart despite being only on one platform (PS4). And those sales only include the standalone software, not sales as part of the Uncharted 4 Digital Deluxe Edition, or as part of the Uncharted 4 Explorer's Pack.
NPD also provided some interesting genre analysis. The racing category has been rising while shooters are actually in decline - but that doesn't mean the health of the shooter category is something to worry about.
Piscatella continued, "Consumer sales of games in the racing genre have grown more than 80 percent in 2017 year-to-date, driven primarily by the launches of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch and Forza Horizon 3 for the Xbox One.
"The Shooter genre has experienced a 30 percent sales decline in 2017 year-to-date, but this is coming off a record high in spending for the genre over the same period a year ago. Despite the decline, 2017 year-to-date consumer sales for the Shooter genre are the third highest of all-time, trailing only the year to date periods in 2013 and 2016."
The biggest positive so far in 2017 has clearly been hardware growth (up 17% to $1.7 billion), driven in large part of course by Nintendo. Not only did the Switch outsell others in August but it's been the best-selling platform in four of the six months since launching in March. And plug-n-play platforms like NES Classic have also boosted growth. That said, it's actually Sony's PS4 that's been the best-selling hardware platform year-to-date.
Here are the charts for top-selling titles in August and year-to-date.