As expected, the NPD report for May has brought with it another US victory for the PS4 in the current-gen console war. Sony's ascendant machine was the top-selling console in the US for the fifth month straight, showing no signs of slowing down thus far. NPD doesn’t provide specific sales numbers for hardware, but Microsoft didn’t provide any of its own analysis on Xbox Wire this month, so we can assume the gap is widening.
“PlayStation continues to be the best place to play for innovative IP, as PS4 was the preferred platform for May’s biggest releases, including Watch Dogs and Wolfenstein: The New Order, and held four of the top five spots for next gen software sales,” Sony SVP of Marketing Guy Longworth said in an anlysis, according to Joystiq. “PS4 is the leading next-gen platform for sports, highlighted in May by the best-selling sports game, MLB 14: The Show.”
If there were ever a month for the Xbox One to catch up, of course, it wouldn’t have been this one: Microsoft announced that it would begin selling its new console for $100 cheaper minus the Kinect sensor, so we can imagine that at least some people are waiting until that particular SKU goes on sale in June to make the plunge. The $399 Xbox One will bring Microsoft’s machine to price parity with Sony’s PS4, but momentum is hugely important in this business, both because of the development of online ecosystems and developer support.
Overall, however, the US video game industry is looking very healthy indeed. Gamers spent $586 million on new hardware and software last month, up 52 percent from last year. The NPD report doesn’t include any digital sales, which also represent a quickly growing portion of the industry. Mario Kart 8 was a major contributor to that increase, and the Wii U saw an impressive 90% year over year increase as a result. Even the Playstation Vita, with little support from Sony, saw an increase from last year, probably partly due to PS4 remote play capabilities and partly due to the Borderlands 2 bundle. Software was strong overall.
“After six months of declines, software rebounded in May 2013 driven by new launches such as Watch Dogs, Mario Kart 8, Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement.
The industry as a whole looks strong as we move into the traditionally quieter months, preparing for the big fall releases. I’d be willing to bet on a strong fall as well, buoyed both by people who have waited to buy and Xbox One and a PS4 and those that have them, but don’t have much to play on them.