As the seasons turn and the transition from spring to summer begins there’s still plenty of bite left in the year, especially in the battle for console supremacy. Our own summer soldiers Cory Galliher and Nathan Evans resume their number-crunching duties, tackling NPD’s estimates for the gaming industry’s relative retail health for April 2018. In a month that saw most competitors merely playing games, a resurgent Sony cried havoc!, and let slip the dogs of war.
Total sales of new gaming hardware and software rebounded nicely since last month, up a smooth 18 percent over last year ($829 million over $699 million). There’s no doubt where this bounty came from as Sony experienced one of their best overall months since the PlayStation Brand was introduced back in 1994. Demand saw new gaming hardware shoot up an impressive 15 percent over last year ($225 million from $195 million).
The PlayStation 4 was the month’s best-selling console, followed by Nintendo’s Switch and Microsoft’s various Xbox One models (including a 4K unit of their own). Sony’s heavenly month was so extraordinary it managed to break consecutive records for April, tallying not just the highest unit sales for any game console since the original Wii did back in 2009, but also the highest dollar sales – again, from Nintendo’s Wii – since April 2008. All signs point to the PlayStation 4 Pro being the month’s best-selling SKU hardware, buoyed no doubt thanks to savvy God of War bundles practically begging gamers to experience the return of Kratos in glorious 4K.
New consoles need new accessories to go with them and, once again, the industry saw sales bounce up a nice 28 percent over last year ($240 million from $187 million). Sony once more repeated the benefits from all those PlayStation consoles as the DualShock 4 Wireless Controller wasn’t just the month’s most popular, but now the overall best revenue-generating controller of all-time.
In the realm of gaming software sales were up 13 percent over last year ($359 million from $317 million), the top ten best-sellers practically split between Sony and Nintendo as the two Japanese giants amassed six console exclusives between them. Sony’s God of War and MLB 18: The Show dominated the exclusive market, the former taking both the month’s top spot and latter coming in third. Don’t feel bad for Nintendo, however, as Switch blockbusters occupied several spots on the list, including a surprising showing for the cardboard creation Labo Variety Kit coming in fourth and remastered Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze at sixth.
Microsoft’s Xbox One just missed having its own console exclusive on the charts with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds coming just under the radar at eleventh.
Top Ten Software: The New Gods
01. God of War
02. Far Cry 5
03. MLB The Show 18
04. Nintendo Labo Variety Kit
05. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
06. Mario Kart 8
07. Grand Theft Auto V
08. Call of Duty: WWII
09. Super Mario Odyssey
10. NBA 2K18
11. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
12. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
13. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
14. Monster Hunter: World
15. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
16. A Way Out
17. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
18. Sea of Thieves
19. Kirby Star Allies
20. FIFA 18