July is a tough month for videogames. Summer vacations are in full swing, and the year’s biggest games are still waiting in the wings.
Historically, it’s been one of the softest months for retail game sales in the U.S., according to the NPD Group. But thanks to the absence of an NCAA Football videogame from EA, July 2014 was an especially bad one, the NPD said on Thursday.
Including games for consoles (e.g. the Xbox One and PlayStation 4), portables (the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita) and PCs, retail software sales totaled $186 million last month. That’s a 17 percent decline from July 2013, and a new all-time monthly low for the metric for modern systems. The NPD attributed the drop to both no football game (under legal pressure, the NCAA declined to renew its contact with EA last year) and the continued inability of next-gen software sales to offset declines in last-gen software.
It’s worth noting, of course, that the NPD’s numbers do not include used game sales or purchases made through digital storefronts like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. However, a May report, also from the NPD Group, said 74 percent of game consumers would prefer buying a physical disc over an equally priced digital game download.
The hardware winner, once again, was Sony’s PlayStation 4, now in its seventh straight month of outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, even though the Xbox got a $100 price cut in June. In an emailed statement, PlayStation brand marketing SVP Guy Longworth said the PS4 also “accounted for more than half of total next generation software sales.”