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Strong first quarter Xbox One sales offset March hardware spending slump

Total consumer spend down 11 per cent in March, but up by 15 per cent for the year

Hardware spending in 2018 reached its highest point in four years, buoyed by a strong performance in Xbox One sales.

According to the NPD figures for the United States, although hardware spending in March was down by 32 per cent to $331 million, spending for the first quarter of 2018 rose by 13 per cent to $925 million.

Consumer spending overall fell by 11 per cent in March to $1.3 billion with growth in game cards and accessory sales being offset by a decline in software and hardware.

First quarter 2018 spending across the four categories was up by 15 per cent year-on-year to $3.4 billion with growth in all areas.

Far Cry 5 debuts as the top-selling title of March 2018 and instantly became the best-selling title of the year so far, setting a new launch month sales record for the franchise. Consumer spending on full-game sales nearly doubled that of Far Cry 3 -- the previous best selling entry into the franchise -- making Ubisoft the leading publisher in both March and the year-to-date.

Driven by a strong performance from the Nintendo Switch, combined software sales for 2018 were up eight per cent to $1.5 billion. Sales for March however were down ten per cent year-on-year, falling to $613 million.

Sea of Thieves generated the highest launch month sales for developer Rare since the NPD Group began tracking in 1995. It was the second best-selling game of March, and is the eighth best-performing game of 2018.

Also setting a record was Kirby Star Allies, which was the fourth best-selling game of March with launch month sales higher than any previous entry into the franchise. Consumer spending on Kirby Star Allies was over 90 per cent higher in its launch month compared to the franchise's previous best, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland which released on the Game Boy Advance in December 2002.

Spending on game cards in March reached a record high, while spending on accessories was the highest it's been in ten years. Combined spending on the two categories grew 20 per cent in March 2018 when compared to a year ago, up to $372 million.

Year-to-date, accessories and game card spending has grown 29 percent year-on-year, to $956 million. Game card spending achieved a record first quarter high, while accessory spending reached the highest year-to-date total since 2011.

No Console platform achieved game card spending growth of less than 40 per cent in the month of March. Battle royale games such as Fortnite are a likely driver of this performance.

March 2018 top 20 games ranked on dollar sales:

  1. Far Cry 5
  2. Sea Of Thieves
  3. MLB 18: The Show
  4. Kirby Star Allies
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. Call of Duty: WWII
  7. Mario Kart 8
  8. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  9. NBA 2K18
  10. Monster Hunter: World
  11. Super Mario Odyssey
  12. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  13. Playerunknown's Battlegrounds
  14. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege
  15. A Way Out
  16. Assassin's Creed: Origins
  17. Dragon Ball: Fighterz
  18. FIFA 18
  19. Splatoon 2
  20. UFC 3

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