New data from market research firm The NPD Group shows that spending across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards in May 2018 was US$685 million, up 13% compared to last year. Year-to-date, spending across the category increased 15% to US$4.9 billion.
In May 2018, growth in hardware, accessories and game cards offset a slight decline in the software category. Software sales across console, portable and PC games reached US$274 million last month, a decline of 4% compared to May 2017.
An exception was the Nintendo Switch (pictured), which saw its software sales grow 90% in May 2018, marking the highest software revenues for any Nintendo platform in the month of May since the Nintendo Wii in May 2011. Nintendo Switch, a home and portable console hybrid, launched in March 2017 and went on to become the fastest-selling home video game system in US history.
Hardware spending in May 2018 grew 26% to US$186 million. Increases were driven by Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. Year-to-date hardware spending increased 15% to US$1.3 billion.
Total spending on accessories and game cards grew 30% to US$225 million in May 2018, a record high. NPD data shows that, year-to-date, spending in the category has grown 29% (for a total of US$1.4 billion). Sales of headsets doubled in May compared to the same period in 2017, and year-to-date sales of both headsets and gamepads achieved all-time highs.
This data follows on the heels of The NPD Group’s report that US video game sales reached year-over-year growth of 59% in January, the highest total for that month since 2011. However, a closer look at the data reveals that the number of two- to 12-year-olds playing console games has dropped by 11% since 2013.
Earlier this month at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, big tech brands focused on content-driven releases, with Epic Games’ Fortnite Battle Royale launching with Nintendo and kids console game publisher Outright Games announcing that it will partner with crayon-maker Crayola for the upcoming game Crayola Scoot.