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NPD April 2019 Gaming Estimates and Analysis: Flawless Victory
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NPD April 2019 Gaming Estimates and Analysis: Flawless Victory

Sales of new hardware and software ticked up a mere 1 percent over last year in a relatively low-key month for the gaming industry.

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April showers bring May flowers… but that still means showers, which means getting wet. Thank goodness you can stay inside where it’s nice and warm (and dry), content to play blockbuster games while everyone else gets soaked. Join our number-crunchers Cory Galliher and Nathan Evans as they, once again, take a closer look at the NPD Group’s monthly estimates and guesses at what’s been selling at US retailers across the land, this time for April 2019. In these final days before the upcoming E3 2019 extravaganza in LA, it’s a great time to play catch up with everything you missed. Let’s get to it!

Total sales of new gaming hardware and software ticked up the slightest of slights – a mere 1 percent over last year ($842 million over $838 million) – thanks in part to a mix-match of mediocre hardware and software sales. Speaking of sales, sales of new gaming hardware fell a distressing 29 percent from last year ($160 million from $255 million). Translation: less sales. Still, Nintendo’s Switch led the way, maintaining its top spot as both the month and year’s best-selling hardware. Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles followed, though to what degree remains a carefully guarded mystery.

In better news, sales of new gaming accessories were up a decent 5 percent over last year ($256 million from $243 million). Interestingly, while sales of gaming headsets, game cards and the like continue to sell well, it was actually Nintendo’s fighting-centric Amiibo Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Packs that generated the most revenue for the month. Let this be a lesson: never underestimate the financial tie-in of plastic figures.

As disappointing as hardware sales were, things get a bit more optimistic in the most important part of the whole shebang: the games! Which means sales of new console and PC software ticked up a decent 15 percent over last year ($427 million from $370 million), led by Warner Bros’ continuing revival of the Mortal Kombat brand with Mortal Kombat 11. Worth noting: MK11 is the first time a big-budget third-party game has appeared on all three major platforms (PS4, Xbox One, Switch), and the first time such a game topped the Switch charts since Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle nearly two years ago.

Sony’s PS4-exclusive zombie romp Days Gone debuted in two, a stellar showing for a new IP available on a single platform, while Ubisoft’s The Division 2 continues to show evergreen legs as Tom Clancy Ubisoft titles tend to do in fourth. Activision’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the bane of gaming journalists around the world, comes in seventh place while the rest of the Top Twenty if populated with a familiar list of old and new best-sellers. If you’ve ever wanted to go back and play catch up with a few missed classics, now’s the time!

Top Twenty Software: Get Over Here!

01. Mortal Kombat 11
02. Days Gone
03. MLB 19: The Show
04. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
05. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
06. Grand Theft Auto V
07. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
08. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
09. NBA 2K19
10. Yoshi’s Crafted World
11. Red Dead Redemption II
12. Mario Kart 8
13. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
14. Minecraft
15. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
16. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
17. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
18. Jump Force
19. Battlefield V
20. Borderlands

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