The NPD July results are in, and the group has once again reported a decline in year-on-year numbers across the gaming industry. It's not all bad news, though, as total gaming revenue is only slightly lower than it was in 2020, and games like MultiVersus are doing pretty well.
What does this NPD July report say about the gaming industry?
This analysis comes via the NPD Group's Mat Piscatella, who has posted his monthly thread of industry figures for July. After last month saw an 11% year-on-year drop in consumer spending, July continues that trend with a 9% YoY drop, although Piscatella points out that the $4.18 billion total is "just slightly lower" than July 2020's $4.19 billion. Year-to-date spending has fallen 10% when compared to 2021, with gains in subscription services like the phenomenally popular Xbox Game Pass not making up for losses in other areas.
Consumer spending on games apparently returned to levels close to 2020 this July, though, having "trailed that year's pace since April", according to Piscatella. In the past, he's attributed drops in gaming spending to the return of experiential spending (i.e. spending on experiences rather than software or hardware as lockdowns lift), and it seems like that catchup effect is still having an impact on gaming sales overall.
Despite this, hardware spending in the industry this July was up 12% on last year, led mainly by the PlayStation 5 (although the Switch sold more in terms of raw units). Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X|S experienced "double-digit percentage growth" over last year, which is good news for both Sony and Microsoft, especially given that the hardware shortage continues to affect sales of both machines (albeit perhaps hitting the PS5 slightly harder, given that it seems easier to get an Xbox Series console right now).
July 2022 was the month of MultiVersus, according to the NPD
In software terms, July was pretty much dominated by the release of multiplatform...er...platform fighter MultiVersus. The game, which is continually being updated with new characters and content, topped the overall game charts for the month, as well as the Xbox charts (although it wasn't able to unseat the hugely successful Elden Ring from its perch on PlayStation or for the 12 months ending in July 2022). Although MultiVersus is a free-to-play game, it looks like it still managed to sell enough Founders' Packs to wash its face in this department.
As you might imagine, it's a different story on Switch, where Xenoblade Chronicles 3 reigns supreme. It's also the fourth best-selling game of July overall, even though the NPD Group's results don't count digital sales, so it's been a pretty impressive showing for Monolith Soft's fourth Xenoblade title. Digimon Survive also managed to place eighth in the overall best-seller ranking, despite "only having 2 days in market" across the tracked period, as Piscatella points out. Looks like the wait was worth it.
In mobile terms, Piscatella points to the usual suspects as big sellers: Candy Crush Saga, Roblox, Coin Master, and other names you'd expect to see on that list. Accessory spending fell 22% in July on last year, apparently driven by a drop in spending on controllers (perhaps largely informed by the fact that Xbox controllers have been pretty hard to get recently). July's best-selling accessory was the midnight black DualSense controller, although the Elite Series 2 Xbox controller led YTD dollar sales. Piscatella's full thread is well worth checking out if you're a numbers geek, so make sure to give it a look for more stats.