NPD Sales Round up Reveals Slow Holiday Season

Despite many considering 2016 to be flat out terrible, it was a year of growth and prosperity for the video game industry. The U.S. alone earned 30.4-billion dollars in 2016, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). That’s up from 30.2-billion in 2015.

The growth was thanks to a string of fantastic titles releasing like Overwatch, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and Final Fantasy XV,  while VR hit more mainstream markets, and major upgrades to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles respectively. However, December sales for 2016 only generated 2.8-billion dollars (a 15-percent drop on all platforms) compared to December 2015, despite the growth earlier in the year.  Only some publishers share their sales data but NPD tracked and compiled sales from physical and some online retailers in the United States. The following figures are from Steam, the PlayStation Game Store and Xbox Game Store for December 2016 compared to December 2015.

Video game hardware saw a 20 per cent drop from 1.24-billion in December 2015 to 994.9-million in 2016. Console Software saw a 12 percent drop from 1.35-billion in December 2015 to 1.19-billion in 2016. PC Software saw a 13 percent drop from 52.9-million in December 2015 to 45.8-million in 2016. And Accessories saw a 15 percent drop from 640.7-million in December 2015 to 547.6-million in 2016.

NPD also released lists of top selling video games of 2016 overall and for December. The titles on the lists are U.S. sales on both physical and digital platforms. December’s list covers games sold from Nov. 27, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. The 2016 overall list is from Jan. 31, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. Titles marked with an asterisk don’t include digital sales.

Top 10 2016 

  1. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  2. Battlefield 1
  3. The Division
  4. NBA 2K17
  5. Madden NFL 17
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Overwatch (no Battle.net sales)
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  9. FIFA 17
  10. Final Fantasy XV 

Top 10 December 2016

  1. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  2. Final Fantasy XV
  3. Battlefield 1
  4. Madden NFL 17
  5. NBA 2K17
  6. Watch Dogs 2
  7. Grand Theft Auto V
  8. Pokémon: Sun (physical sales only)
  9. FIFA 17
  10. Pokémon: Moon (physical sales only)

“Final Fantasy XV was the second best-selling title for December 2016, and was the top-selling title on the PS4,” NPD analyst Sam Naji explained in a statement. “Final Fantasy XV experienced the best console launch month in the history of the franchise (since tracking began in 1995) selling 19 per cent more new physical units than Final Fantasy XIII in its launch month and 54 per cent more in total dollar revenue including digital full game sales.”