The NPD Group has issued its combined physical and digital sales data report for the January period, revealing an overall sales dip of 4% to $611 million. The US industry's software spending actually jumped 14% to $312.5 million (largely thanks to Capcom's Resident Evil 7), but those gains were offset by continued declines in hardware - hardware spending fell 19% to $127 million. Accessories spending also fell 17% to $155 million.
The big winner in January was clearly the new Resident Evil. "With only five days in the market, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was the best-selling game in January. The last time Capcom had the best-selling game of the month (in dollar sales) was in March 2009 with Resident Evil 5," noted NPD analyst Sam Naji. The other chart-topping games for the month also fared better than last January's titles, said Naji: "Spending on the top five games of the month was 17 percent higher than the top five games of January 2016."
NPD has also started to make a distinction for catalog sales, which can often be a consistent revenue driver for publishers. This month, we are introducing a defined 'catalog' sales metric, which includes sales of a SKU that occur after the first six months that the product is first available for sale (month 7+). Take-Two Interactive was the #1 publisher for January '17 and was also the top publisher for catalog sales for all of 2016, Naji explained. Although not explicitly mentioned by NPD, it's fairly obvious that GTA V has been the biggest catalog driver for Take-Two.
On the hardware side, despite the slower sales pace, Sony's PlayStation business continues to dominate consoles. "The PlayStation 4 was the best-selling hardware (in units sold) during January 2017; and for the fourth consecutive month, PlayStation 4 Slim System 500GB Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Bundle was the top-selling PS4 sku (in units sold)," Naji said. Interestingly, the NES Classic Edition has kept some of its momentum from the holiday season, as it was the third best-selling console of the month, NPD pointed out.
NPD's full January chart can be seen below: