Slow July sees US game sales dip 14% - NPD

Monster Hunter: Generations on 3DS was the best-selling new title in a month with very few new releases

The NPD Group has issued its newest monthly report that combines physical retail point-of-sale data with digital game sales tracking, revealing that July was a down month overall for the US games business. "Lack of strong new titles for the month resulted with poor comparison with last July's Batman: Arkham Knight with consumers spending 14 percent less year-on-year on hardware, software and accessories, however the release of Monster Hunter: Generations and the price drop for the 2DS helped to bolster spending for 3DS and 2DS hardware by 44 percent," said NPD analyst Sam Naji.

The industry saw overall sales tally 480.1 million for the July reporting period, down from last July's $559.1 million, while software dropped 5% to $210.3 million and hardware fell 30% to $141.3 million. PC software sales also dipped 12% to $11.4 million while accessories dropped 5% to $117.1 million.

The aforementioned Monster Hunter title was really the only highlight, but it sold 52 percent fewer dollars than last July's new game, Rory Mcllory PGA Tour, NPD noted. "The lack of strong new releases for the month have resulted with a poorer comp year-on-year, and the top 10 games for July 2016 generated 21 percent fewer dollar sales than they did last year," Naji said.

On the hardware side, not only was the industry affected by fewer units being moved, but prices on consoles have trended down. "Spending declined by 30 percent versus last July due to a 10 percent decline in unit sales and a 22 percent decline in the average price. Spending on portables increased by 23 percent, but this was offset by a 37 percent decline in spending for consoles," Naji continued.

The lower price on Xbox One did help the console become the best-selling system (not including portables) for the month - an achievement that's been squarely in Sony's camp for the majority of this console generation. "We're honored that Xbox One was the best-selling console in the U.S. in July, and that total gaming hours on Xbox consoles globally were up 18 percent over last year, reaching 1.55 billion hours," remarked Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President, Xbox Marketing, Microsoft.

In good news for Nintendo, the 2DS price drop and the release of Monster Hunter did have a direct impact on sales, as combined spending for the 3DS and the 2DS increased to $28 million. "Declines in the average price for the 2DS by 33 percent resulted with a five-fold increase in unit sales for the 2DS to 78K units. The 3DS also saw an increase in unit sales of 18 percent, making the combined 2DS and 3DS platforms the best-selling hardware for July 2016 (based on units)," said Naji.

Here's the list of top selling games for the month:

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