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Can Microsoft stop the PlayStation 4 train?

3 min read


May’s NPD stats are out, giving us a wee bit of insight in to the retail sales of games and hardware within the United States. As is usual, the NPD doesn’t cover digital sales or second-hand, so only paints a small part of the picture – but it certainly looks as if the videogame industry’s health is getting better, and much of that renewed vigour is because of the PlayStation 4. 

Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the best-selling console in North America for the month of May. That’s the fifth straight month that the system has been at the top of the charts, and it’s responsible for most video game sales too.

It’s unusual, as May is usually a bit of a dead month when it comes to videogames. Usually games are released only in the holiday periods. This year, thanks to a number of high profile delays from last year, we have releases spread through the whole year, and it shows. In the month of May, we have year-on-year sales climbing 52% to reach $586 million.

Hardware and software sales are up by 95% and 57% year-on-year, explained away by the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony; and big releases on both systems have done wonders for software sales.

The PlayStation 4 has come out on top, but it’s not Microsoft’s competing Xbox One that’s taking second place. Nor is it Nintendo’s Wii U, which has benefited from Mario Kart 8’s release. Instead, the second best selling hardware is Nintendo’s 3DS.

Speaking off Mario Kart though; it’s the single best selling platform exclusive for May, coming up second only to Watch Dogs in software sales. That’s rather impressive, as Watch Dogs was released on five platforms.

Here’s a full look at the software sales:

May 2014 Software top ten

  1. Watch Dogs – Ubisoft (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  2. Mario Kart – Nintendo (Wii U)
  3. MLB 14: The Show (PS3, PS4, Vita)
  4. Wolfenstein: The New Order – Bethesda (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  5. Minecraft – Microsoft/Sony (PS3, Xbox 360)
  6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (3DS, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  7. NBA 2K14 – 2K (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  8. Titanfall – EA(PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  9. Kirby Triple Deluxe – Nintendo (3DS)
  10. Call of Duty: Ghosts (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

Interesting to see Call of Duty’s slide to tenth, which is unusual for May. This could be because actual games have been released, and less of a stain on this particular release and it’s perceived lack of quality. Maybe.

PlayStation 4 is still king, but we do expect this to change a bit in June. For one, the Kinect-free Xbox One is available, and coupled with a relatively successful E3 showing, Microsoft may have convinced quite a few pundits to go green. Likewise with Nintendo’s Wii U; its own E3 and continued long-tail success of Mario Kart 8 mean the system is likely to become more of a contender going forward.

Can either system put enough of a dent in PlayStation 4 sales to wrest away the crown from Sony? We’ll have to see.

Last Updated: June 18, 2014

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