As the hustle and bustle of yet another E3 begins to fade from our collective memories (until next time, of course) we’ve got another thrilling, number-crunching look at The NPD Group’s monthly estimates for the gaming industry. On the chopping block this go-around is May 2019, and with it come our own Cory Galliher and Nate Evans ready to nit and pick everything that made the cut.
Sadly, there’s not much in the way of good news for the month of May, unless you count a moral victory for variety. Yay, variety…If you’re wanting good news, though, why not check out our exclusive E3 Aftermath podcast for a nice little perk? It’ll totally make your day!
Total sales of new gaming hardware and software fell a troubling 11 percent from last year ($641 million from $717 million), a figure that starts things out on a sour note. The biggest culprit for the drop appears to have been lagging sales of new gaming hardware, or in this case increasingly aging gaming hardware. Sales of new gaming consoles fell a steep 20 percent from last year ($149 million from $186 million), with Nintendo’s Switch once again leading the charge. In fact, NPD reports that hardware and console sales for Nintendo’s hit machine helped offset decreased sales and revenue “elsewhere”.
And by elsewhere we mean it was decreased demand for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One console lineups – both of which now include 4K variants (and with the Xbox, a wholly disc-free digital edition). Such fading interest is to be expected from a hardware generation approaching its sixth year, but it’s always sad when it happens.
Interestingly, sales of new gaming accessories – a group that includes all those functionality-adding bits like gaming headsets, gamepads, game cards, figurines and more – were pretty much flat from last year ($229 million from $230 million). What’s really most interesting about gaming accessories, however, is how they’re really the only way to gauge the success of all those mysterious “free-to-play” sensations like Fortnite and Apex Legends that NPD doesn’t tracks.
And finally we come to the real star of the show – the games! I wish we had better news to report as sales of new console and PC games, despite having a smorgasbord of new releases in the top twenty, still fell a distressing 13 percent from last year ($262 million from $302 million).
Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat 11 is proving to be a real breakthrough hit the likes the decades-old fighting franchise hasn’t seen in years. Not only did the game (once again) top the charts, but it’s now the best-selling game of 2019 so far. Likewise, Sony’s PS4-exclusive zombie thriller Days Gone repeats at second place while Sega scores a major victory for PC gaming with Total War: Three Kingdoms coming in third.
Speaking of major victories, Bethesda’s Rage 2 comes in fourth – a major victory given it’s a sequel to an IP many thought was DOA after its disastrous first outing nearly a decade ago. The rest of the top twenty is mostly holdovers from months past, though Sega did score a second victory with Team Sonic Racing in nineteenth place. After their hedgehog mascot’s recent cinematic troubles, any good news for Sonic can only be great news for the brand.
Top Twenty Software: Flawless Victory!
01. Mortal Kombat 11
02. Days Gone
03. Total War: Three Kingdoms
04. Rage 2
05. Grand Theft Auto V
06. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
07. Red Dead Redemption II
08. MLB 19: The Show
10. NBA 2K19
11. Mario Kart 8
12. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
13. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
14. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
15. Marvel’s Spider-Man
16. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
17. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
18. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
19. Team Sonic Racing
20. Yoshi’s Crafted World