NPD recently released their report on the video games industry at US retail for July 2015. NPD noted that the PlayStation 4 remained the best selling console of the month and continues to be the cumulative sales leader in the USA with 8.5 million units sold through to end users. Total sales for gen 8 consoles were over 450,000 units and all hardware sales generated $202.1 million in revenue, up 2% YOY. More than 90% of hardware sales came from bundles.
In software we saw Batman Arkham Knight remain the best selling game (when sales from bundles are included) with Lego Jurassic Park at a close second. There were no new major releases in July which meant that total retail software sales remained flat at $178.5 million whilst accessories saw a nice 17% boost YOY to $161.3 million. Overall total industry spend was up 6% on last year.
To date, the 8th gen consoles have sold through 20.3 million units to end users with around 3.7 million sold in 2015 so far. The below chart takes a look at how each console has done in unit sales for the first 7 months of 2015 compared to the same time period in 2014 and shows how total gen 8 console sales are up 5% YOY.
As can be seen from the chart above, the PlayStation 4 has seen sales remain flat for the first 7 months of 2015 compared to sales in the same time-frame a year prior. The PlayStation 4 entered 2014 after a successful holiday season and remained hard to find on store shelves for the first quarter, sales were very healthy during the first 7 months of 2014 and we’ve seen that happen again this year despite the console remaining at the same price. The PlayStation 4 remains strong going in to the final half of the year and should continue to sell well thanks to the exclusive games and bundles due to release shortly.
The Xbox One has seen a 20% increase for the first 7 months of 2015 compared to the same time frame last year. The console price has dropped $150 and new bundles have been introduced in order to promote the console and encourage additional sales. Despite sales being up this year the install base remains behind the PlayStation 4 which has remained at the same price and is now a higher price than the Xbox One. It’ll be interesting to see how the console performs in the second half of the year which is usually much stronger than the first half for Microsoft. Especially this year with games such as Halo 5, Forza 6 and Rise of the Tomb Raider launching exclusively on Xbox.
The Nintendo Wii U saw sales decrease 15% YOY for the first 7 months of this year. The Wii U hasn’t sold well in the USA with the install base less than half of the PlayStation 4 despite launching a year earlier. Last year the console received a sizeable boost during the Mario Kart 8 launch whilst this year we haven’t seen that same boost despite very strong Splatoon sales, the title has now sold 540,000 in the US. The Wii U has been on the market for 33 months now and has only just managed to surpass the SEGA Dreamcasts install base, bear in mind the Dreamcast was discontinued after just 18 months.
The chart above shows how the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have performed over the first 21 months of their life cycle in comparison to the first 36 months of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 life cycle. What can be seen straight away is how the PS4 and XB1 had amazing launches in the US which instantly put them higher than their predecessors.
Hindered by a high price and bad rep, the Xbox One failed to perform well during its first 12 months and looked like it could fall under the Xbox 360. However some price cuts and bundles + new titles ensured that the Xbox One had a great first holiday and has allowed the Xbox One to continue selling at a healthy pace ahead of the Xbox 360. However, it does look like the Xbox One is set to fall behind the 360 at some point which started off slowly but increased drastically later on.
The PlayStation 4 has seen continually healthy sales which has allowed it to remain the cumulative sales leader in the USA. There has been no price cut for the PlayStation 4 just yet and it really hasn’t needed one. The PlayStation 4 is set to remain ahead of both the PS3 and 360 when launches are aligned and is on track to have an excellent holiday season. Sales of the PS4 and Xbox One are almost 50% more than the PS3 and 360 at the same point in time.
When looking at monthly sales we can see that the PlayStation 4 has consistently outsold the Xbox One each month since launch with the only exception being the holiday season and a couple of other months. Microsoft have been very aggressive during the holiday season and the results have shown that the Xbox brand still has a huge following in the US where it has been most successful over the years, however despite the lower price and large amount of value on offer the PlayStation 4 continues to remain ahead every month.
The second half of the year will be interesting to watch, especially after what happened last year. Microsoft are throwing their all at the Xbox One this holiday with Halo 5 and Tomb Raider launching exclusively on the system. Microsoft has done well to come close to the PlayStation 4’s total which is something we haven’t seen in a prior console generation and they’ll certainly be looking to keep up with the PS4 if not over take it to become the cumulative sales leader.
The NPD reports from now through the end of the year will be very interesting to watch and analyse.
As mentioned above, the PlayStation 4 has maintained a good lead over the Xbox One and that has grown this year. There are now 800,000 more PlayStation 4’s in the hands of consumers compared to Xbox One’s and this gap is set to grow even more. Microsoft will be hoping for a repeat of last year where they were able to close the gap down to around 500,000 and will be even happier if they can reduce the PS4 lead even more. However the Xbox One has had to go through a lot to keep up with PS4 in terms of unit sales and it won’t have been cheap.
To date the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have sold 16.2 million units combined.
When looking at yearly sales the PlayStation 4 sold 4.7 million units in 2014 whilst the Xbox One sold 4.4 million units in 2014. As you can see, the PlayStation 4 sold 300,000 more units than the Xbox One in 2014. This year the PlayStation 4 has a lead of 310,000 units already. It’ll be interesting to see which console will sell more in 2015 and by how much as trends indicate that it could be a closer battle this year than last year.
I expect the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One install base to be over 22 million units by the end of the year in the USA. Worldwide it should be over 54 million.
Please note that all numbers quoted above are based on publicly available estimates and therefore this report may not be 100% accurate.