What an odd month March turned out to be in the NPD figures. It was revealed that Sony won overall with the PlayStation brand in cumulative hardware sales across the multiple SKUs available for the PS4, but Nintendo’s 32GB red and blue JoyCon version of the Switch came out as the top selling SKU overall for the month of March, according to Venture Beat.
Early numbers indicated that there was a 100k difference in total sales between the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 4 SKUs, with both brands managing to move over a million units. Microsoft came in dead last with the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X.
Hardware overall was down 11% compared to the same time last year when the Nintendo Switch initially launched and there was an uptick in sales, mostly thanks to a strong launch quarter line-up headlined by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
According to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, a lot of the hardware sales were buffered by accessories, likely due to the popularity of Epic Games’ Fortnite and PUBG Corporation’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, with Piscatella telling Venture Beat…
“Both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One achieved accessories sales growth of more than 40 percent in both the month of March as well as year to date 2018. The headsets/headphones segment is driving accessories growth across both platforms, likely driven by the increase in popularity of multiplayer games such as Fortnite from Epic Games.”
And despite all the complaints and hand-wringing from journalists about Far Cry 5’s politics (or lack thereof), Ubisoft’s vanilla-made sandbox shooter actually turned out to be the best-selling game of the month, managing to bring in $310 million during the first week of release.
Far Cry 5 wasn’t enough by itself to compensate for the downturn in software sales for March, 2018, however. During the same period last year March was headlined by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Ghost Recon: Wildlands, along with carryover sales from Horizon: Zero Dawn and NieR: Automata, all of which helped boost up March revenue intake to $682 million in 2017. This year we saw a 10% downturn in software revenue, with a short order of quality titles coming out in March.
Nevertheless, a lot of the top selling games during the last month were actually games that came out last year, including Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Call of Duty: WWII, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The top 20 best-selling games of March can be viewed below:
- Far Cry 5
- Sea Of Thieves
- MLB 18: The Show
- Kirby Star Allies*
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Call of Duty: WWII
- Mario Kart 8*
- Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
- NBA 2K18
- Monster Hunter: World
- Super Mario Odyssey*
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds**
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
- A Way Out**
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins
- Dragon Ball: Fighterz
- FIFA 18**
- Splatoon 2*
- UFC 3
As usual the NPD does not account for digital sales in the rankings, only retail sales. Even still, Nintendo managed to occupy five out of the 20 spots with exclusives alone, which isn’t bad all. Only one PS4 exclusive managed to make the charts, which is a sad sign of the times.
Right now it looks like Sony is managing to edge out small victories over the Nintendo Switch thanks to having more SKUs on the market at different price points. It’s a smart strategy, but one has to question what will happen when Nintendo finally drops the price on the vanilla Switch and introduces the bigger/beefier/smaller/more compact version of the Switch at some point down the line?
Rumors are running rampant that a new PS5 is in the works, and it makes sense given that they’re barely staving off the Switch at the moment, but the tide could turn real quick depending on the software line-up that Nintnedo has planned throughout 2019.