Warner Bros. once again tops video game sales in July

August 14, 2015, 5:49 PM UTC
Courtesy of Traveller's Tales

Warner Bros. domination of the video game sales world isn’t slowing down.

The video game arm of the entertainment conglomerate had the top selling game in July, marking the second month in a row it has held that spot.

LEGO: Jurassic World was the month’s top selling standalone game, according to The NPD Group, which tracks video game sales. If the figures were to include titles included with hardware bundles, the honor would have gone to last month’s winner Batman: Arkham Knight, another Warner title.

“Driven by these games’ success, [Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment] is the top publisher year-to-date with an increase of over 200% in dollar sales,” said Liam Callahan, games industry analyst for The NPD Group.

WBIE, as of last month, was the publisher of three of the year’s top-selling titles, year to date.

The NPD Group does not release specific sales numbers for software titles or gaming hardware to non-subscribers. Additionally, it does not directly track digital game sales, which are an increasingly large segment of the market. However, its figures are considered the most reliable in the industry on sales data.

Warner Bros. (TWX) pulled the weight for the game publishing industry in July, as even with the remarkable sales of both titles, overall software sales were flat. However, a slight surge in hardware sales and a bump in video game accessories (such as gift cards and extra controllers) resulted in the industry’s overall sales increasing 6% in July compared to a year ago to $541.9 million.

Sales of the current generation of video game consoles, such as Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, continue to vastly outperform their predecessors.

After 21 months on store shelves, the combined sales of those two systems are nearly 50% above where the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were at the same point in their life-cycle.

Both Microsoft and Sony (SNE) had reason to be happy. For Microsoft (MSFT), it appears that the slow launch of the Xbox One might finally be picking up some speed, which is especially good news with the holiday season approaching. (Microsoft is betting big on holiday 2015, with several exclusive titles, including Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5: Guardians.)

“Xbox One and Xbox Live continued to see strong sales and engagement in July, with Xbox One sales in the U.S. up 44 percent over July 2014 and active global Xbox Live users (Xbox One and Xbox 360) up 22 percent,” said Mike Nichols, corporate vice president of Xbox Marketing at Microsoft, in a statement.

Despite that leap, the PlayStation 4 was once again the top selling system in July.

While next gen consoles are selling well, consumers in July spent a surprising amount on games for the Xbox 360a system that’s now nearly 10 years old. Callahan notes that on a per-unit basis, the Xbox 360 was the second-highest selling platform for physical hardware sales.

That’s likely due to Microsoft’s surprise announcement at E3 that it will make the Xbox One backward compatible due to user demand, allowing people to play their Xbox 360 games on the new system. The strong catalog of Xbox 360 games and the lower price of the software due to its age likely made the titles more appealing to gamers.

“Consumers may have felt safer buying 360 games knowing that they will be able to play them on Xbox One if they choose to upgrade,” said Callahan.

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