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NPD January 2018 Gaming Estimates and Analysis: Monster Hunter Shatters Records
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NPD January 2018 Gaming Estimates and Analysis: Monster Hunter Shatters Records

The new year starts off with a bang as new game hardware + software sales were up 59 percent over last year. Full commentary here!

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In this celebratory episode of the Popzara Podcast we come down from our Mat Piscatella-led high from last month’s reports as your mindful number-crunchers Cory Galliher and Nathan Evans are back in their respective saddles to talk, discuss, and tear apart the NPD Group’s monthly sales estimates of gaming sales for January 2018. It’s almost a shame, because this month was really a monster. Yeah, that’s a pun. We do that here.

Sales of new gaming hardware and software racked up a monstrous $1.096 billion, up an excellent 59 percent over last year’s tally ($690 million). It turns out that January 2018 was a big year for new game consoles – the best since 2011, in fact – with sales up an astonishing 119 percent over last year ($278 million from $127 million). Once again, Nintendo’s Switch led the way in total sales – showing what nipping supply constraints can do – while Sony’s PlayStation 4 led the way in total revenue dollars.

NPD also points out – as they often do out of statistical accuracy – that the difference in sales revenue between the Switch and Microsoft’s third-place Xbox One platforms was a scant 3 percent. However, it’s critical to note that Nintendo’s one console retails for $300, while Microsoft’s Xbox One includes both the One S and bigger, beefier One X, giving them both the least AND most expensive hardware options on the market. It’s only a guess, but we suspect the bulk of Xbox One revenue stems from the more expensive 4K-powered model.

Another boon for Nintendo – the aging 3DS, which includes the newer 2DS – saw its best sales period since 2013, meaning there’s still plenty of love for mobile gaming hardware dedicated to just, you know, playing games.

All those shiny (and sometimes matte) gaming consoles are going to need games, right? Thankfully, a whole bunch sold to keep twitchy fingers and thumbs happy. Total sales of new console and PC software (NPD combines them now – which isn’t as helpful as you’d think) topped $517 million, up a cool 51 percent over last year ($343 million). The month’s biggest hit was literally a monster (there’s that pun!): Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World not only sold millions, but it gathered a franchise-best for North American fans.

Another big seller was Namco Bandai’s Dragon Ball FighterZ, which invigorated Akira Toriyama’s bizarre anime franchise so much we also saw the return of Dragon Ball: Xenoverse to the charts. PUBG Corp.’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds also notched two feats: the sole Xbox One exclusive, as well as the highest-charting exclusive on the Top Ten list.

Even new gaming accessories felt the surge, up a nice 37 percent over last year ($301 million from $220 million). NPD reports much of this came from gaming headsets, with Turtle Beach being the standout for audio excellence.

Top Twenty Software: Monstrously Great

01. Monster Hunter: World
02. Dragon Ball: FighterZ
03. Call of Duty: WWII
04. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
05. Grand Theft Auto V
06. NBA 2K18
07. Super Mario Odyssey
08. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
09. Mario Kart 8
10. Madden NFL 18
11. Star Wars: Battlefront II
12. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
13. UFC 3
14. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
15. FIFA 18
16. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse
17. The Sims 4
18. Splatoon 2
19. Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT
20. Need for Speed: Payback