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NPD May 2018 Gaming Estimates and Analysis with Mat Piscatella
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NPD May 2018 Gaming Estimates and Analysis with Mat Piscatella

Total sales were up 13 percent for May, thanks largely to record-breaking gaming hardware and accessories.

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The dust of E3 has settled and the crowds have thinned…and yet there’s still more story to be told. As we’re settling back in returning number champs Cory Galliher and Nathan Evans are back to talk about what curious consumers can expect to keep their hungry consoles + PC hardware happy in the coming months. And what better way to do this than by looking backward, which means a closer look at The NPD Group’s sales estimates for May 2018. There’s a lot to mull over, maybe a little too much even for our stalwart editors to examine alone.

Once again, we go straight to the source as our favorite NPD number-cruncher Mat Piscatella returns to the Podcast for a proper grilling, helping listeners make sense of all those fancy figures. Let’s begin!

Total sales of new gaming hardware and software were up a respectable 13 percent over last year ($685 million from $607 million), thanks in part to a healthy surge in new gaming hardware sales that grew 26 percent over last year ($186 million from $147 million). While Sony’s PlayStation 4 continues its hot run at the top as the month’s best-selling platform, both Nintendo’s Switch and Microsoft’s Xbox One didn’t embarrass themselves; every platform saw record unit sales for the month of May.

Interestingly, Sony’s PlayStation 4 platform – which includes both the PS4 Slim and beefier PS4 Pro – was the month’s best-selling platform while Nintendo’s 32GB Neon Red/Blue JoyCon Switch was the month’s single best-selling SKU. Despite the NPD’s nebulous tracking system, it’s probably fair to assume that the Xbox One platform – including both the Xbox One Slim and 4K-powered Xbox One X – generated enough cash to keep Microsoft happy.

Perhaps the month’s most impressive uptick were sales of new gaming accessories, soaring 30 percent upward over last year ($225 million from $174 million), breaking revenue records held firmly since 2011. The cause? A huge demand for game cards and “year-to-date sales of both headsets and gamepads [having] achieved all-time record highs” says Mat. Gaming headsets in particular doubled since last year, no doubt spurred by all those battle royale sessions in desperate need

Sales of new gaming software, which includes both console and PC, were less celebratory, down a slight 4 percent from last year ($274 million from $285 million). Curiously, it was Microsoft’s Xbox-exclusive State of Decay 2 that topped the charts for the month. What makes this curious was that the game launched as a marquee title for the platform’s Game Pass service, which meant subscribers didn’t actually have to buy it. This makes the second time a game launching on Game Pass represented highly in the sales charts, following Sea of Thieves in April. Those listening to the podcast are in for a treat as Mat helps explain the strange, yet fruitful connection between

Elsewhere in the top ten there’s plenty for both Sony and Nintendo to get excited about as both of their consoles dominated the rest. The PS4 was home to the month’s second and third best-sellers as God of War also becomes the year’s second-best seller while Detroit: Become Human comes in strong at third. Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5, the year’s current best-seller, holds steady in fifth place while Nintendo’s remastered version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze arrives at sixth. Other Nintendo Switch highlights include Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition at seventh and the racing sensation that is Mario Kart 8: Deluxe in ninth.

What makes this chart so interesting is that every Nintendo exclusive for the month are actually ports of Wii U games that never achieved the success they are now.

Top Twenty Software: Exclusives Rule

01. State of Decay 2
02. God of War 2018
03. Detroit: Become Human
04. Far Cry 5
05. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
06. Grand Theft Auto V
07. Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition
08. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
09. Mario Kart 8
10. NBA 2K18
11. MLB 18: The Show
12. Call of Duty: WWII
13. Super Mario Odyssey
14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
15. FIFA 18
16. Overwatch
17. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
18. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
19. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
20. Monster Hunter: World