Retail sales of video games slipped overall in 2013 as gamers and game makers prepared for a transition to next-generation systems, according to data released by retail research firm NPD Group on Thursday. Overall sales dropped two percent for the year despite the launch of the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One in late November. But don’t feel sorry for game companies, as the overall business saw growth when you count digital sales such as mobile and online games.
Overall retail sales of video games were $12.97 billion, down two percent from $13.27 billion in the same period a year ago. Hardware sales were $4.26 billion, up five percent from $4.04 billion a year earlier. Console and portable game sales were $6.12 billion, down 9 percent from $6.71 billion from the same period a year ago. Accessory sales were $2.6 billion, up three percent from $2.51 billion a year ago.
Console, portable, and PC sales totaled $6.34 billion, down 11 percent from $7.09 billion a year earlier.
Take-Two Interactive’s Grand Theft Auto V was the top-selling game overall, taking the charts on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The other top-selling games in order were Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 25, EA’s Battlefield 4, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV, Take-Two’s NBA 2K14, Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2014, Microsoft and Mojang’s Minecraft on the Xbox 360, and Disney’s Disney Infinity.
Digital sales research firm SuperData said that U.S. digital sales (social, mobile, console and PC downloadable content, free-to-play, and subscription online revenue) was $11.7 billion, up 10 percent from $10.7 billion a year earlier.
The top online games from SuperData’s list worldwide included Tencent’s CrossFire, Tencent/Riot’s League of Legends, and Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter Online.
In the U.S., SuperData said that free-to-play online games grew 45 percent from $1.99 billion to $2.89 billion in 2013. Subscription revenues were right around $1.12 billion, down 19 percent from 2012. The U.S. mobile game market was $3.06 billion in 2013, up 28 percent from $2.39 billion. In December, mobile games were $317 million, up 16 percent from the month of November.
The social games segment shrank 21 percent to $1.81 billion as social gamers shifted to mobile. The downloadable content market for both PC and console games was $2.87 billion, up 13 percent from a year earlier.
Overall 2013 was an interesting year, and if console makers had introduced more quality first-party titles, these numbers might have been a bit different….