EA / Titanfall
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 continue to outsell their predecessors by about 60 percent, but Sony’s console stretched its winning streak in March, according to new U.S. retail figures released today by the NPD Group.
The big question on everyone’s mind this month was whether the first big post-launch exclusive titles — Titanfall on the Xbox One and Infamous: Second Son on the PS4 — would give the two new consoles a boost, particularly the Xbox. The two had traded off at the top of NPD’s chart at first, with Sony taking November and Microsoft taking December, but the PS4 won out in both January and February, and has repeatedly beaten Sony’s initial sales projections.
A second-place finish for the Xbox One, which is more expensive than the PS4 by $100, is something of a surprise. Microsoft and EA aggressively marketed Titanfall, a multiplayer shooter game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA, beginning at last year’s E3. It even offered an Xbox One bundled with Titanfall at the console’s normal price of $500, effectively lowering the hardware’s price by $60.
The console sold 311,000 units total in March, for a total of five million units sold into stores worldwide to date, according to Microsoft; Sony did not release its hardware total for the month, but recently announced that seven million PlayStation 4s had been sold through to consumers so far.
Titanfall took the top spot in the NPD’s game sales charts, followed by Infamous and South Park: The Stick of Truth, which was not released for the new consoles.
Looking at the industry as a whole, gaming hardware sales increased 78 percent year over year to $395 million in March, driven by the new generation of consoles released in November. Software, however, is still selling worse than it did at this time last year, with NPD noting that eight of the top 10 titles in March 2013 were new that month, whereas only six out of March 2014’s top 10 were new. Indeed, the No. 4 title in the U.S. last month was Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, released in November for both new and old hardware.
Overall retail revenue rose three percent year over year to an estimated total of $1.025 billion. A report released earlier today by research firm SuperData showed that digital games revenue increased nine percent year over year to $857 million.