Videogame sales fell year-over-year for the 11th straight month in September - still suffering from tough comparisons to a strong 2021 - but once again, the trajectory continued to improve as the all-important holiday shopping season neared.
Overall, sales slipped 4% from the previous September, to $4.073B, according to NPD Group. That once again was driven by the biggest category, game content sales, where the figure fell 7% to $3.408B.
But that was mitigated by the ongoing rebound in hardware, helped by new console availability - hardware sales rose 19% year-over-year, to $490M - and accessory sales that were flat at $174M.
The figures mean that with nine 2022 months in the books, year-to-date overall videogame sales are 8% off their 2021 pace, at $38.4B - with content down 9%, hardware down 1%, and accessories down 13%.
Improved PlayStation 5 (NYSE:SONY) availability gave a boost to hardware, analyst Mat Piscatella notes. The PS5 was best in unit terms and dollar terms for September; Nintendo's Switch (OTCPK:NTDOY) was second-best in unit sales, while Xbox Series (NASDAQ:MSFT) was second-best in dollar terms.
And it was the first month where accessory sales didn't decline since October 2021, helped by an increase in spending on gamepads; the best-selling accessory in September in unit and dollar terms was the Xbox Wireless Controller Carbon Black (MSFT).
Turning to the games: It was a month for new releases, with six new games appearing among the top eight sellers. Those were led by new No. 1 FIFA 23, the latest - and last - FIFA-branded soccer title from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA). It displaced a fellow EA title: last month's leader, Madden NFL 23 (EA).
And keeping up the sports-game release schedule was No. 3, NBA 2K23 (TTWO), just ahead of three other new releases: Splatoon 3 (OTCPK:NTDOY); The Last of Us: Part I (SONY); and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection (OTCPK:KNMCY).
Rounding out the dollar-sales top 10: No. 7, Saints Row (Plaion); No. 8, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle (OTCPK:NCBDY); No. 9, Elden Ring (OTCPK:NCBDY); and No. 10, Mario Kart 8 (OTCPK:NTDOY).
Mobile game spending continues a downdraft, falling 5% year-over-year, and making up a smaller share of mobile app spending (games down to 54% of total spend vs. 60% a year ago, according to Sensor Tower). New game installations are seeing a sharp decline even considering seasonality, down 3% year-over-year and at their lowest point since before February 2019.
Related tickers: OTCPK:NTDOY, SONY, MSFT, HEAR, LOGI, CRSR, EA, ATVI, TTWO, WBD, OTCPK:UBSFY, OTCPK:NCBDY, OTCPK:SQNNY, OTCPK:CCOEY, OTCPK:SGAMY, OTCPK:KNMCY, SKLZ, SE, NTES, OTCPK:TCEHY, RBLX. Retail stock: GME.