U.S. Video-Games Retail Sales Fall 25% in April, NPD Says

U.S. retail sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories fell 25 percent to $495.2 million last month, as consumers shifted to digital titles played on mobile devices and awaited next-generation consoles.

Hardware sales fell the most, declining 42 percent to $109.5 million, compared with a year ago, Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group Inc. said in an e-mailed statement today. Software sales for the current generation consoles fell 17 percent to $254.3 million.

Sales of packaged game products are sinking as more consumers download games on smartphones and tablet. Gamers also are delaying purchases before Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. introduce their new consoles expected at the end of this year. Physical sales accounted for about 50 percent of total U.S. consumer spending on games, NPD said.

The industry hasn’t seen a month of growth on a weekly comparison basis since November 2011, and probably won’t show sustained gains until next year, Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, wrote on May 13 in a research report.

Total spending on U.S. video-game hardware and software, including used games, rentals and digitally delivered content, was $802 million, said Liam Callahan, an NPD analyst.

Microsoft said U.S. retailers sold 130,000 Xbox 360 consoles last month, a decline of 45 percent from 236,000 a year earlier. The company, based in Redmond, Washington, held its spot with the No. 1 selling model in April, and has scheduled a May 21 announcement to reveal details of its next-generation machine.

Video-game makers voluntarily report their sales tallies. Nintendo Co. and Sony don’t typically release monthly figures.