US Gaming Market: April Sees 3% Spending Drop, Software Soars Despite Hardware Plunge

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In April, consumer spending in the U.S. gaming market decreased by 3% year-over-year to $4.1 billion, according to Circana Retail Tracking Service.

Despite this overall decline, spending on game content — including physical and digital games, add-on content, and subscriptions — rose by 2% to $3.7 billion, GamesIndustry.biz reported.

Hardware sales, however, plummeted by 43% year-over-year to $208 million, and accessories sales fell by 4% to $152 million.

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All console hardware platforms saw at least a 26% decrease in sales compared to the previous year, though Sony Group Corp.’s (NYSE:SONY) PlayStation 5 retained its position as the best-selling hardware platform of April, followed by Nintendo ADR‘s (OTC:NTDOY) Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Corp.‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox.

Software Triumphs Despite Challenges: April’s Top Titles

On the software front, Shift Up’s Stellar Blade made a strong debut, topping Circana’s US charts for April and becoming the 16th best-selling game of 2024 to date.

Regarding Stellar Blade, Circana analyst Mat Piscatella said: “Not to take away anything from Stellar Blade — any title ranking 1st in US sales in any month is a great achievement — but it did have the lowest sales to lead an April since Prototype 2 ranked 1st in April 2012.”

“The game did great. But it’s okay to recognize that not every game is going to be the biggest hit ever released or the biggest failure. The way some need to have everything on the extremes is exhausting,” Piscatella added.

It was the only new release of the month, while Helldivers 2 held its ground in second place despite a more than 70% drop in sales from March to April.

Sea of Thieves saw a remarkable surge, jumping from No. 55 to No. 4 after its launch on PlayStation in April. Additionally, Fallout 4 experienced a significant rise, moving from No.87 to fifth place, driven by the popularity of Amazon’s Fallout series.

This success was reflected in the increased playtime for Fallout 4, Fallout 76, and Fallout: New Vegas, which were among the most-played games in the US last month.

In the mobile gaming arena, titles such as Monopoly Go, Royal Match, Candy Crush Saga, Roblox, and “Last War Survival” topped the charts.

Last War Survival notably climbed two places and continued to see growth in consumer spending, solidifying its position among the top five games. According to Sensor Tower’s Samuel Aune, it was one of only three games in the top ten that recorded month-over-month revenue growth, alongside Candy Crush Saga and Evony.

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