August 2015 NPD Sales Analysis: PS4/XBO Combined Tracking 45% Ahead Of PS3/360

NPD recently released their report on the video games industry at US retail for August 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 8.7 million units sold through to end users.

Hardware sales dropped 2% from $195.3 million in August 2014 to $190.5 million in August 2015. Total unit sell through in August 2015 for generation 8 home consoles exceeded 450,000 units with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both selling over 200,000 units each. In fact the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sell through was almost the same with this month having the smallest gap between the two. The Wii U on the other hand failed to take 10% share this month. Just like last month, more than 90% of hardware sales were in the form of bundles.

Software sales reached $207.9 million which is down 10% from last years total of $231.3 million. Even digital sales didn’t offset this decrease which is partly due to the fact that both Madden 15 and Diablo 3 launched last year where as this year Madden 16 was the only big AAA game.

Best selling software top 10
Best selling software top 10

It’s important to remember that NPD only tracks new physical retail sales in the USA. It does not account for digital or used game sales so whilst it doesn’t provide us with information about the overall market it is useful at showing general trends seen at retail and how games are performing.

This months best selling game wasn’t a surprise at all with the new release of Madden NFL 16. Especially when both Microsoft and Sony were giving the game away for free with new console purchases. What is still somewhat surprising is how well last gen is doing for family games with Minecraft at number 2 and Lego: Jurassic World at number 5. This is a trend we continue to see and one I expect to continue for a while. New AAA games aimed at core gamers like Destiny have 80% share on PS4 and Xbox One whilst family friendly IP’s still sell better on last gen, an example being Lego: The Move video game which only saw 25% of its sales on generation 8 consoles.

Madden was the top selling game of August.
Madden was the top selling game of August.

This shows that there are still plenty of gamers on last generation consoles who have yet to upgrade and this is further backed up by the surprise entry of Call of Duty: Black Ops combo pack, a retail title released in May which includes the first two Black Ops titles for PS3 and 360. They hype around Black Ops 3 has been very high this year with pre orders tracking higher than Advanced Warfare and this last gen bundle re-affirms why Activision were not yet ready to ditch last gen.

Other titles in the top 10 include Gears of War: Ultimate edition at number 3 which is a very high ranking for a remaster. It goes to show that Gears still has a huge fan base in the US and this will certainly fuel demand for Gears 4. Rare Replay entered at number 6 with over 100,000 unit sales which is great to see. Until Dawn was just below at number 7, failing to crack 100,000 units during its first week on sale. However the game has received great reviews and so I would expect the game to continue selling well throughout the rest of the year.

Estimated cumulative sell through for PS4/XB1

The chart above shows how the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have performed over the first 22 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.

Sales of the next generation consoles have been fairly healthy with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One combined total tracking 45% ahead of the PS3 and 360 total in the same time frame.

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 last year and a couple of other months. Microsoft were very aggressive during the last 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.

Estimated monthly sales for PS4/XB1
Estimated monthly sales for PS4/XB1

September should also see another successful month for PlayStation 4 thanks to the combined efforts of Metal Gear Solid V and Destiny: The Taken King which should encourage PlayStation 4 sell through thanks to the marketing at play as well as strong mind share the PlayStation brand has among Metal Gear and Destiny fans. October could go in favour of the Xbox One with the launch of Halo 5 in the final week of the month, Gamestop said in a quarterly report that they expect Halo 5 to be the highest selling game during the 3 month period ending in October which means they expect Halo 5 to sell more in 1 week than any other game can in that 3 month period. (August, September & October)

Halo has always seen massive launches in the US where the series is most popular. Each mainline game usually opens with 3 million or more units sold through and this year isn’t expected to be much different. With the launch of the limited edition console, Halo 5 is certainly expected to move hardware in October. Overall the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are still seeing healthy adoption rates and I expect this holiday season to bring in a large amount of users who will be upgrading from last gen due to the new “next gen only” titles.

Nintendo’s Wii U has been performing poorly since launch, it has only just surpassed 4.1 million units sold to consumers whilst the PlayStation 4 has currently sold more than twice that amount of units. That being said, Nintendo have been very successful with recent software launches. Splatoon has now sold through 600,000 units in the USA and this pushes Nintendo into third place for best selling publishers this year. Nintendo’s Amiibo toy to life range has also been very successful with more than 7 million units sold to date.

Cumulative sales gap between PS4 and XB1
Cumulative sales gap between PS4 and XB1

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.

There are now 810,000 more PlayStation 4′s in the hands of consumers compared to Xbox One’s and this gap is set to grow next month. 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 for Microsoft. This year I expect Microsoft will attempt to compete on value rather than drop the price again.

To date the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have sold 16.6 million units combined in the USA.

What are your thoughts on this months NPD results? What do you think we’ll see happen through the rest of the year? Please leave your comments and feedback below.

  • Please note that all numbers quoted above are based on publicly available estimates and therefore this report may not be 100% accurate.


A passionate gamer with a love for Koei Tecmo's Musou games. I also enjoy following and analysing the Games Industry.


View all posts