Video Game Hardware Sees Another Weak Month in September 2016 NPD Report

The NPD Group today released its monthly sales report for September 2016 in the United States, revealing another decline overall for the industry.

Video game hardware sales fell 25 percent year-over-year to $234.3 million from $311.7 million. Software and accessory sales saw similar declines at 22 percent and 27 percent, respectively, though PC software (combining physical games and Steam sales) were up three percent.

Xbox One systems “accounted for 37 percent of all hardware units sold,” according to NPD analyst Sam Naji. “This was not enough to counter a revenue decline in total hardware. Due to average retail price declines for consoles and a decrease in hardware units sold for the PS4 and the Wii U, total hardware dollar spending declined by 25 percent since September 2015.”

Ahead of the report’s release, Microsoft announced that NPD data showed Xbox One had outsold PS4 in the US during September. This marked the third month in a row that Xbox One has been the best-selling console in the US, breaking a long streak by the PS4 that extended back to last year. That it topped September sales was a surprise because Sony launched the new, slim version of the PS4 for $300. However, the announcement of the more powerful, $400 PS4 Pro may have depressed sales of the console, as people could now be waiting for that system to launch next month.

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According to the report, the one version of the PS4 Slim that launched in September, the 500 GB Uncharted 4 bundle, was the third best-selling hardware SKU during the month.

As for Nintendo, the company had nothing to say regarding Wii U but did note 3DS sales continued to rise when compared with last year. The 3DS family saw sales increase 40 percent year-over-year, with the 2DS specifically seeing a 110 percent increase. The system has been performing particularly well since July, when 3DS was the top-selling system in the US. At the time, Nintendo attributed it to Pokemon Go, Monster Hunter Generations, and the price drop of the 2DS earlier this year.

Sony, as has been the norm in recent months, has not yet released a statement regarding the NPD report.

As noted above, video game accessories also saw a decline for the month, dropping 27 percent to $130.8 million from $179.5 million during September 2015. A whopping 82 percent of the decline was attributed to interactive gaming toys, referring to things like Skylanders and Amiibo figures. Sales of point cards were also down 30 percent, while spending on Xbox One controllers was up year-over-year.

“The increase was mostly due to the Xbox One Elite controller and the new Xbox One S controller,” Naji said. “Unfortunately the increase in spending on Xbox One controllers was not enough to offset declines in gamepad spending from other systems and the category, as a whole, declined in spending by 10 percent.”

On the software side, NBA 2K17 and several other sports games topped the NPD’s sales charts for September.