Videogame sales slip again in August, but top 2020 numbers

Electronic Arts Debuts New Games Ahead Of The E3 Expo

Michal Czerwonka

Videogame industry sales dipped year-over-year for the 10th straight month against some tough 2021 comparisons - though the trajectory continued to improve for a fifth month, thanks in large part to the continuing rebound in game hardware.

Overall, sales fell 5% from the previous August to $4.104B, according to NPD Group, again with a decline similar to its biggest component: Game content sales, which fell 6% to $3.591B.

But while that overall $4.104B was down from a year-ago $4.307B, it was slightly higher than August 2020, which had come in at $4.07B.

(In July, overall videogame sales had fallen by 9%, and in June by 11%.)

Year-to-date overall spending has reached $34.6B. That's down 9% from the same period in 2021, but up 3% from the comparable period in 2020 ($33.5B).

Hardware dollar sales in August rose 14% year-over-year to $375M, thanks to the ever-improving supply of next-gen PlayStation 5 (NYSE:SONY) and Xbox Series (NASDAQ:MSFT) consoles, not to mention the ongoing strength of Nintendo's last-gen Switch (OTCPK:NTDOY). PlayStation 5 led August in unit and dollar sales terms; year-to-date, Switch has sold the most units, while PlayStation 5 has brought in the most dollars.

Year-to-date, hardware spending is now down just 4%, to $2.9B.

Accessory sales fell 18% in August, to $138M, as spending on gamepads and headsets dropped. The month's best-seller there was again the PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller Midnight Black (SONY), while year-to-date the best-seller is the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller (MSFT). Year-to-date, accessory spending is down 14% to $1.4B.

Turning to game content itself, annual football franchise Madden NFL 23 (NASDAQ:EA) debuted as August's best-selling game, just ahead of a fellow new entrant, Saints Row (Plaion). And third place went to last month's 84th-best selling title: Marvel's Spider-Man (SONY). Those knocked the year's top game, Elden Ring, (OTCPK:NCBDY) down to the No. 4 spot.

Rounding out the top ten on games' dollar-sales chart: No. 5, MultiVersus (NASDAQ:WBD); No. 6, Mario Kart 8 (OTCPK:NTDOY); No. 7, Minecraft; No. 8, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (WBD); No. 9, MLB: The Show 22; and No. 10, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (OTCPK:NTDOY).

Mobile game spending continues to suffer from the twin hurdles of softer economic demand and a continuing return to "business as usual" for game players. As with PC and console games, though, the hit wasn't as bad as July's, though Google Play's (GOOG) (GOOGL) user base spent 22% less year-over year (vs. a 1.2% decline on Apple's (AAPL) App Store).

Related tickers: OTCPK:NTDOY, SONY, MSFT, HEAR, LOGI, CRSR, EA, ATVI, TTWO, WBD, OTCPK:UBSFY, OTCPK:NCBDY, OTCPK:SQNNY, OTCPK:CCOEY, OTCPK:SGAMY, SKLZ, SE, NTES, OTCPK:TCEHY, RBLX. Retail stock: GME.

ETFs: GAMR, ESPO, NERD

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