April 2016 NPD Sales

Originally published on Trevor Trove on May 12, 2016

My prediction that the PlayStation 4 will win every month through October is still holding strong as the console led another month in hardware sales. So even though my prediction that the NX will release and win November and December is now bunk, I’m still doing okay on the PlayStation front.

So let’s review my predictions from last month:

  • I predict Quantum Break, Ratchet and Clank, Star Fox Zero will all debut on the April chart as the even more rare instance of a month where each of the big three have exclusives on the chart.
  • Additional, MLB The Show 16 (with a full month behind it and the power of a sports game) will hold strong on the list (meaning we’d actually have four exclusives if my calculations are correct).
  • Multi-platform title Dark Souls III will also perform well on the April charts. Because people are gluttons for punishment.
  • Given the relatively light time of year, I could even see Bravely Second on 3DS making its way on to the list.

I think I did pretty good this month:

The Best-Selling Software of April 2016:

  1. Dark Souls III (PS4, XBO) – released Apr 12
  2. Ratchet & Clank (PS4) – released Apr 12
  3. MLB: The Show 16 (PS4, PS3) – was #6 in Mar
  4. Tom Clancy’s The Division (PS4, XBO, PC) – was #1 in Mar
  5. Grant Theft Auto V (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC) – was #6 in Dec, #2 in Jan, #3 in Feb, #4 in Mar
  6. Minecraft (XBO, 360, PS4, PS3) – was #8 in Dec, #6 in Jan, #8 in Feb, # 10 in Mar
  7. Quantum Break (XBO) – released Apr 5
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC) – was #1 in Nov, #1 in Dec, #1 in Jan, #2 in Feb, #9 in Mar
  9. NBA 2K16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3) – was #1 in Sept, #2 in Oct, #5 in Nov, #7 in Dec, #3 in Jan, #5 in Feb, #8 in Mar
  10. Star Fox Zero (NWU) – released Apr 21

I’m chalking this up as a 5.5 out of 6.

  • Dark Souls III, as predicted, debuts strong at the top spot. (1/1)
  • Ratchet & Clank debuts as a strong number two and the first of the month’s four exclusives. (2/2)
  • MLB The Show shoots up from #6 with its 3 days on the market in March to #3 will a full month’s worth of sales behind it. And while the game is on PlayStation 3 and 4, I still count is as an exclusive title. (3/3)
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division drops three spots to #4. I didn’t really make any formal predictions on that one but it was easily the safest bet to stay on the charts this month.
  • Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft continue to be ongoing behemoths on the sales chart. Despite having been out for years at this point, people keep buying them. Of note, this is the first month since I started reporting on them in November that the Xbox One version of Minecraft outsold the Xbox 360 version.
  • Quantum Break debuts at a respectable #7. By most accounts there are about half as many Xbox Ones as there are PlayStation 4s in the wild so appearing behind Ratchet & Clank and MLB The Show was to be expected. Add in that it’s a brand new IP instead of an established franchise it was never likely to debut as high as something like Halo 5: Guardians. (4/4)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III hangs on for another month at #8. A lot of people are claiming this will be the year Call of Duty falls off a cliff (like they do every year) but I’m pretty sure that’s just the weird echo chamber of people who weren’t going to buy the game anyone talking. Their historical sales dominance is just too hard to overlook.
  • NBA 2K16 lives on for another month at #9. I think with the basketball season winding down the game will fall out of the top ten in the next month or so but NBA 2K15 held on until June last year so there might still be breath left in 2K16 yet.
  • And rounding up the top ten, the Wii U exclusive Star Fox Zero. (5/5)
  • According to the NPD report, if the games were ranked on a per-SKU basis (presumably the number of units divided by the number of consoles the game appears on), Bravely Second: End Layer would have debuted at number 9. So there’s my half a point. (5.5/6)
  • Falling off the chart this month were Far Cry: Primal, the Twilight Princess HD port for Wii U, UFC 2, and Pokken Tournament. Per the report, Pokken Tournament would have held on at number 10 on the “per-SKU basis.” No major surprises here as none of these titles seemed positioned to have long tales like the main sports franchises, or the trio of Call of DutyMinecraft, and Grand Theft Auto. Far Cry Primal likely only charted as well as it did due to a late February launch and an overall lack of new titles in February and March.

So let’s make some predictions for May’s sales:

  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will easily chart. I don’t think it’ll take the top spot over some of the other multi-platform new releases though.
  • The Doom reboot also seems a safe bet to debut on the charts this month.
  • We’ll finally see how the battle between Gearbox’s Battleborn and Blizzard’s Overwatch plays out. Gearbox announced that Battleborn sales are on par with the original Borderlands launch, which debuted at #3 way back on the October 2009 NPD charts with over 400,000 units sold. Meanwhile, Overwatch just reported 9.7 million people played the open beta last weekend. My money is on Overwatch winning this fight and taking the top spot for the month overall. It’s really tough to bet against Blizzard and their incredible pedigree. I think Battleborn will indeed chart though, maybe somewhere around number 5.
  • The only other real newcomer of note this month is Homefront: The Revolution, which I know pretty much nothing about. But it hits early enough (May 17) that I think it’ll manage to make the cut.
  • So that’s five new titles: what will fall away in order to make room for them? Star Fox Zero and Quantum Break definitely aren’t sticking around. As well as Ratchet & Clank did this month, it’s another console exclusive so it probably doesn’t have the legs for a second month. I can see any combination of Call of DutyNBA 2K16, GTA V, and Minecraft falling off. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say GTA V and Minecraft will go back into hibernation for a bit to make way for the new titles. At this point in their life cycle, they perform best on the chart on months light on new titles so I think with the Spring releases going into full swing, we’ll stop seeing these two mainstays. Historically, as I mentioned, NBA 2K stays strong a bit longer and so does Call of Duty.

Bold predictions for next month. I can’t wait to see how I do.

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