Nintendo is last month's most prolific publisher and hardware maker, according to NPD Group. The Switch, its hybrid console released in March, was July's top selling machine, sales soaring past Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The Switch's strong market performance was driven in part by the release of Splatoon 2, a Switch sequel to the original ink-shooter title released for the Wii U some several years back. Splatoon 2 is also July's best-selling title, according to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella.
Game Spending Grew In July
NPD's report also paints a good picture of the general gaming market year-over-year. In the United States, gaming hardware spending totaled $182 million, up 29 percent from the same month last year. Piscatella said both the Switch and PS4 helped reach such stellar numbers. Xbox One hardware results aren't included in NPD's report. Perhaps this is because Microsoft decided long ago to top sharing such numbers.
On a year-to-date basis, hardware sales rose to $1.6 billion, which represents a 20 percent increase from previous records. Piscatella said the Switch was the "primary" driver of growth.
In terms of software, sales went up 17 percent from previous records, totaling $263 million in July.
"The launch of Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch, and month 2 sales of Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy drove software gains, while new supply of Nintendo Switch and continued strength of PlayStation 4 pushed hardware higher," said Piscatella.
Three games from Nintendo managed to get into the top 10 best-selling software last month, including Splatoon 2, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mario Kart 8. But the sales numbers of these titles could actually even be higher since NPD doesn't include digital sales records.
Breath of the Wild is also the second best-selling game this year so far, behind Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
High Sales Numbers Are Great, But Where's The Stock?
Nintendo is on a tight upswing, with the Switch proving to be a massive success. Nintendo needed it to be. After the Wii U failed to gain significant market traction, it couldn't afford another flop.
But it remains uncertain whether Nintendo will be able to increase Switch stock to keep up with demand. Customers have been complaining that the console is too hard to find, and if they do find one, often it's bundled with software they don't care to buy. Two big-name titles are coming up: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Super Mario Odyssey, which are expected to boost Switch sales even further. What's more, the holiday season is fast approaching, an opportune moment for Nintendo to increase Switch sales even more.
Nintendo hasn't always been the greatest company in terms of maintaining stock, as was the case with the NES Classic Edition fiasco. But it needs to do whatever it can to make sure people who want a Switch can get one, lest they wait too long and eventually lose interest.