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NPD October 2018 Gaming Estimates and Analysis: Duty Calls Again
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NPD October 2018 Gaming Estimates and Analysis: Duty Calls Again

Sales of hardware and software were up an astounding 73 percent in a blockbuster-packed October.

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October is usually the second most exciting month for those who follow videgame sales, thanks to those fine folk at the National Purchase Diary, i.e. NPD, as it represents the year’s penultimate look at what’s bound to be November’s record-crushing Block Friday/Cyber Monday insanity descending on retail and digital shelves across the nation.

To make sense of these numbers we’ve got Cory Galliher and Nate Evans back in action, ready and willing to take apart the best and brightest parts of NPD’s October estimates with the more colorful analysis you’re likely to get. Actually, scratch that: it’s definitely the most colorful analysis you’re likely to get. Let’s take a look!

Total sales of new gaming hardware and software were up an unbelievable 73 percent over last year ($1.545 billion from $894 million), the highest total for any October since NPD started tracking game revenue back in 1995. That’s a lotta money!

Let’s start with sales of new gaming hardware, i.e. consoles, which soared a nice 26 percent over last year (an even $300 million over $238 million). As we’ve seen time and time again it was Sony’s PlayStation 4 that took the crown for the month, no doubt buoyed by the irresistible PS4 Pro Bundle that included the eagerly awaited Red Dead Redemption 2. Speaking of Pro consoles, it seems that both Sony’s PS4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One X helped generate record grosses (if not revenue) as the more expensive hardware generated more money.

It’s unclear where Nintendo sits in this trifecta of console wonders, though judging from software sales it seems that even slowing demand for the hybrid Switch is still capable of selling tons of games, unlike its predecessor the Wii U ever could. The retro-minded NES Classic is still flying off shelves, too, though how all of this plays out over the next year for Nintendo remains a mystery.

Once again, it was new gaming accessories that proved gamers love their online trash-talking as sales were up an impressive 54 percent over last year ($280 million over $182 million), thanks in no small part to Sony gamepads (hello, DualShock 4!) and dedicated gaming headsets. NPD singled out Turtle Beach as the industry’s best-selling headset maker, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads this very website.

The real mover and shakers in October was software, i.e. the games, which soared to new heights as sales were up a flabbergasting 104 percent over last year ($965 million over $472 million). This is what happens when you’ve got multiple blockbusters that fans want – and would stop at nothing to snatch them all up.

You know it’s a month of surprises when the year’s most anticipated game isn’t the usual most-anticipated game, and yet still can’t outsell the normally expected most-anticipated game. Such confusion best explains how what’s usually the year’s best-selling blockbuster, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, retaining its title from the game many thought would be the one – after a decade of dominance – to finally unseat Activison’s iterative best-seller: Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II, which came in second despite its unprecedented hype.

That didn’t happen, though it appears there was plenty of monetary love to go around as the top three best-sellers for October were packed with heavy hitters, including Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey in third place. The sole Nintendo Switch exclusive in the Top Ten was Super Mario Party at fifth while Namco Bandai’s history-skewing arcade fighter Soul Calibur VI debuted decently at sixth.

The latter half of the Top Twenty was dominated by Nintendo exclusives or near-exclusives, such as the arrival of Blizzard’s Diablo III on Switch. While it’s a bit distressing to see expected hits like Square-Enix’s Shadow Of The Tomb Raider fall so fast, especially with Lara Croft’s latest promising a new generation of hair-enhancing technology like the RTX 2080. Looks like we’ll have to keep waiting for our ray-tracing future to arrive just a little bit longer.

Top Twenty Software: Battle Royales and Cowboys

01. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
02. Red Dead Redemption II
03. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
04. NBA 2K19
05. Super Mario Party
06. Soul Calibur VI
07. FIFA 19
08. Marvel’s Spider-Man
09. Madden NFL 19
10. WWE 2K19
11. Forza Horizon 4
12. Lego DC Super Villains
13. My Hero One’s Justice
14. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
15. Mario Kart 8
16. Grand Theft Auto V
17. Super Mario Odyssey
18. Diablo III
19. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
20. NHL 19