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Switch to New Consoles Hurts Game Sales in August

EA's 'Madden NFL 15' was the month's top selling game

The video game industry finds itself in an interesting holding pattern as consumers make the switch to new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

The good new is that consoles continue to sell at a brisk pace, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One boosting new hardware sales 116% in August, to generate $196.2 million, according to NPD Group.

The bad: Consumers are being selective in what they buy to play on their new devices, with software sales down 21% in August to $231.6 million.

Accessories brought in another $133.5 million, off 2%.

The top five selling games for the month were Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL 15,” Activision Blizzard’s “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls,” “Minecraft,” Sony’s “The Last of Us,” Activision’s “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” “Lego Marvel Super Heroes” and “The Lego Movie,” both from Warner Bros. Interactive, were in the top 10.

More gamers opted to purchase “Madden NFL 15” for the newer consoles versus previous systems, NPD notes, “a trend which will hopefully become widespread and lead to software growth as we move towards the holidays,” NPD’s Liam Callahan said.

What’s also worth noting is that there were fewer new releases this August over last year — only three were represented in the top 10, versus eight last year.

Sales of new software for the older systems declined 57% during August, NPD said, leading to a net decrease of $47 million.

Overall, the video game industry generated $561.3 million in August, a gain of 8% over last year. That only accounts for new software and hardware — typically accounting for half of the industry’s revenue — not used or digital sales.

New console sales alone were up 200% in the hardware category, which also includes Nintendo’s Wii U, and mobile gaming systems.

And the PS4 and Xbox One represented 70% of August hardware sales, the highest percentage since the release of the systems since November 2013.

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