2015 video game retail sales suggest more people are buying digitally

multiplayer call of duty black ops 3
American consumers spent $13.1 billion on video games hardware and disc-based software in 2015, slightly less than the year before, according to game sales reporting firm NPD.  Combined hardware and software sales were less than one percent year-over-year, with home and portable console sales down four percent. Physical video game sales were down two percent overall in 2015. Interestingly, the largest growing segment in gaming was the accessory market, which grew 12 percent compared to 2014.

At the same time, the Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U had their best single month ever in December, despite a comparatively sluggish month, industry-wide.

“After 26 months of sales, the combined cumulative sales of Xbox One and PS4 exceeds the 26 month total of the PS3 and Xbox 360 by 47 per cent,”NPD analyst Liam Callahan told Gamesindustry International. “The lead from the prior generation has expanded due to the strong PS4 and Xbox One 2015 holiday, going from 38 per cent by the end of October, growing to 47 per cent by the end of November, and maintaining 47 per cent higher sales by the end of December.”

Analysts and pundits suggest that the lackluster numbers seen on NPD may not indicate stagnant growth, but an increased number of digital sales, which are not reported by the service, and the end of consumer migration from the Xbox 360 and PS4. — “Seventh generation” hardware sales, Xbox 360/PS3/Wii, were down 53 percent, including a 71 percent slump in December.

Speaking of games, NPD also reported the top-selling video games on the year, overall, for 2015. As one might expect, the list consists wholly of established brands. Despite relatively lackluster support from critics, Call of Duty: Black Ops III helped the franchise maintain control of the top-seller list.

These are the top 10 best-selling games of 2015:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  2. Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  3. Fallout 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  4. Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  5. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, Xbox One) 360, PS3, PC)
  6. NBA 2K16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  7. Minecraft (360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4)
  8. FIFA 16 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
  9. Mortal Kombat X (PS4, Xbox One)
  10. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
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