Sales of both video game hardware and software were up — way up — in May, delivering the first solid month the industry has seen for some time.
Sales of video game hardware in March were up a massive 78 percent in March as compared to a year ago, according to The NPD Group. Console sales more than doubled as demand continues for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. That surge in hardware sales led to a 3 percent climb in overall sales versus March 2013.
According to brick and mortar retail tracker The NPD Group, both of Microsoft’s consoles outperformed Sony’s in the final month of 2013 in the U.S. Microsoft sold 908,000 Xbox Ones and 643,000 Xbox 360s in December, surpassing the totals for both the PS4 and PS3, though Sony did not provide specific numbers.
Overall, when hardware, software and accessories — including subscription cards for Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus — were added up, the industry posted sales of $2.7 billion at retail stores last month, a 7 percent increase over 2012, reports the NPD Group.
Grand Theft Auto helped propel the industry into positive growth for the third consecutive month in October. Software sales at brick and mortar retail stores were up 12 percent compared to the October 2012 figures, coming in at $482.5 million.
The video game industry hasn’t done a lot to endear itself to investors in the past few years. Competition from the mobile space, player fatigue with the lack of innovation and aging console systems have resulted in slumping annual software sales since 2009.
But it has shown signs of life in the past two months. Game software sales were up 52 percent last month from a year earlier, after rising 23 percent in August, according to The NPD Group.
Analysts say that momentum could continue into the holiday season and beyond.
Video game software retail sales in August were up 21 percent compared to a year ago, according to The NPD Group — the first time the industry has shown a year-over-year increase since October of 2011 (excluding January 2013, which had an extra week of reporting). Brick and mortar sales of video games came in at $305 million, an improvement of better than $55 million. The boost was even bigger than Wall Street analysts were expecting.
Retail sales of video game hardware and software were down 25 percent in May, according to The NPD Group. Total software sales — combining console, portable games and PC titles sold at retail — were down 44 percent compared to last year to $187.6 million.
While the back half of 2013 is expected to boast breakout hits, the first part of the year hasn’t been encouraging for the videogame industry. Retail sales are down 14%, falling nearly $500 million year over year through April.
Although brick-and-mortar video game sales are down 14 percent year to date, a few titles have managed to stand apart from the trend, capturing players’ imagination and cash—even when they’re part of a 10-year-old franchise.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” which got off to a stellar start out of the gate hasn’t lost much momentum. Catalog sales of the title have been much higher than 2011’s “Modern Warfare 3.” Plus, downloadable content sales have been strong enough to offset Activision’s lost revenue from declining “World of Warcraft” subscriptions.