Consoles sales are slowing after a record-breaking holiday season, down 15 percent year-over-year to $157 million in January, according to the latest data from the NPD Group.
The Playstation 4 continued to outsell the Xbox One over the course of the month, according to Sony, citing data from NPD, but both consoles saw the decline. However, it’s not just that people are buying fewer consoles; they’re also paying less for them.
“Recently, hardware declines typically were a result of seventh generation console [like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3] and portable declines exceeding growth in eighth generation hardware sales,” NPD Group’s Liam Callahan said. “In January 2016, however, the sales of eighth generation consoles declined by 8 percent, despite relatively flat unit sales, as average prices dipped by 6 percent as a result of price cuts that took place between January 2015 and January 2016.”
However, accessory sales were up 14 percent, enough to somewhat offset the decline across video game sales to just 5 percent when looking at sales of software, hardware and accessories together. The boom in accessories can likely be attributed to gift card spending and people getting additional controllers and subscription services for new consoles.
Microsoft stressed strong growth in Xbox Live numbers in a statement to GeekWire.
“After a record-breaking holiday, 2016 is off to a great start with continued growth in Xbox Live on the strength of the unmatched lineup of games available on Xbox One,” Xbox marketing vice president Mike Nichols said. “In January, the total number of hours spent gaming in one month on Xbox One worldwide surpassed 1 billion hours.”
Consoles sales weren’t the only thing that was down; software sales also slowed 10 percent.
“Part of this decline stemmed from a dearth of new launches this month compared to last year with new launches generating 51 percent fewer dollar sales than January 2014 launches,” NPD’s Callahan said. “For example, the top new launch last year, Dying Light, generated 239 percent more unit sales than the top launch of January 2016, Lego Marvel Avengers.”
The standout game continues to be Grand Theft Auto: V though, which has been in the top five best selling games for the month of January for three years in a row now.
“Astonishingly, the game has moved up in ranking placement from fifth place in January 2014, to third in January 2015 and to the second-best selling game in January 2016.” Callahan said.
Sales of both consoles and games are likely to improve in coming months as both Sony and Microsoft will see console exclusives for their latest hardware hitting the market, including Uncharted 4 for PS4 and Quantum Break for the Xbox One.