June 2016 NPD Sales

In case you missed it, earlier this month the NPD group announced that after five years, it was finally going to start tracking digital sales...sort of. They've partnered with most of the big publishers to include digital sales but there are still a handful of holdouts: key among them the first-parties (so no Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo) and Bethesda (so we aren't likely to see Skyrim pop back up on the charts unless the physical remaster sells really well). Anyway, all of that was announced after I made my last round of picks so it probably really screwed me up. But at least PlayStation won the hardware sales again so my run of January-October is still good (even if the Xbox One S releasing next month is gonna kill any chances of that prediction holding strong).

So here's what I predicted:

  • OverwatchGrand Theft Auto VMinecraft, and Call of Duty will all hang on.
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens will chart on the top ten, despite launching at the end of the month.
  • With so few other new releases in the month, Mirror's Edge Catalyst will manage to chart.
  • But Mighty No. 9 will not.
  • NBA 2K16 was given away freely as a PlayStaion Plus title in June so it will finally fall off the chart (also because the season is over).
  • Doom will barely hang on.
  • MLB: The Show 16 will move up a bit from the number 9 spot.
  • Uncharted 4, despite performing admirably in May, will fall off the chart in June.

And here's how June 2016 wound up under the new reporting standards:

  1. Overwatch (does not include PC Battle.net sales) - #3 in May
  2. Grand Theft Auto V - was #6 in Dec, #2 in Jan, #3 in Feb, #4 in Mar, #5 in Apr, #5 in May
  3. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens - released June 28
  4. Doom (does not include digital sales) - #2 in May
  5. Mirror's Edge Catalyst - June 7
  6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (does not include digital sales) - #1 in May
  7. NBA 2K16 - was #1 in Sept, #2 in Oct, #5 in Nov, #7 in Dec, #3 in Jan, #5 in Feb, #8 in Mar, #9 in Apr, #7 in May
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III - was #1 in Nov, #1 in Dec, #1 in Jan, #2 in Feb, #9 in Mar, #8 in Apr, #8 in May
  9. Destiny: The Taken King - released Sept. 15, 2015
  10. Minecraft (does not include digital sales) - was #8 in Dec, #6 in Jan, #8 in Feb, # 10 in Mar, #6 in Apr, #6 in May

So this is fun...

  • OverwatchGTA VCoD, and Minecraft DID all hold on, with Overwatch and  GTA V shooting up to the top two spots respectively, while CoD and Minecraft hang out at 8 and 10, respectively. And since Minecraft as a Microsoft-published title doesn't include digital, I can only assume if would be way higher and probably Microsoft's best reason to eventually share those sales with NPD. (4/4)
  • LEGO Star Wars landed at #3, with only 3 days on the market, as predicted. (5/5)
  • Doom held on just fine (even without digital sales) so I was wrong with my "barely" prediction. (5/6)
  • Mirror's Edge Catalyst did indeed chart, landing at #5 while Mighty No. 9 (even factoring in digital sales) did not. (7/8)
  • Similar to Doom, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End held on for another month at #6 (again without digital) so my prediction of it falling from #1 to off the chart was wrong. (7/9)
  • NBA 2K16 stays on at #7, even with the game being given away as a PlayStation Plus title in June. Damn do I underestimate sports games... (7/10)
  • MLB The Show 16 did not move up to #9 (though I can imagine a world where it did with digital sales factored in). (7/11)
  • And the last surprise, thanks exclusively to the inclusion of digital sales: Destiny: The Taken King appears at #9. Even if I had known they would start tracking digital sales I don't think I'd have predicted that. (7/11)

The appearance of Destiny as a result of now including the digital sales certainly comes across as the most notable shift this month. Everything else feels pretty commonplace except maybe the placement of something like Grand Theft Auto V, which would certainly be lower on the list without digital. It definitely makes me wonder how much more prolonged its time on the charts will be though. Grand Theft Auto felt like it would fall off in the next month of so as the big fall releases start hitting but now I just don't know. With digital sales included I feel like the game could hang out in the 8-10 slot even as new release after new release starts launching. Should make for an interesting rest of the year. And I wonder which of the big three first parties will be the first to include their numbers. My guess would be Nintendo since they're pretty transparent about that anyway.

Lastly, let's make some bold (and most likely inaccurate) predictions for how July will wind up when all is said and done.

  • Song of the Deep and I am Setsuna seem like the only two new releases high-profile enough in July to breakthrough (and fortunately with digital now included they conceivably could). However, I think the price point of Song of the Deep is to low to crack the top ten and I think the classic JRPG niche market on PS4 isn't big enough either. Then again, Bravely Default almost made the top ten in April so what the hell: I predict I am Setsuna will chart (probably in the bottom half of the list) but Song of the Deep will not. (And Inside is hurt by being a low price point Xbox/PC-exclusive so it won't make the cut either).
  • Oh, upon further review of the list of July releases, I was just reminded of Monster Hunter Generations, which will probably perform just fine thanks to that franchise's name and the lack of major competition.
  • In this new digital world, with very little else of note launching, OverwatchGTA VCoD, and Minecraft will continue their seemingly never-ending domination. And let's say Destiny hangs out alongside them I guess.
  • I don't think Mirror's Edge will have any kind of staying power. And Uncharted sales have probably slowed to the point that they'll drop out now.
  • I guess I'll predict LEGO Star Wars sticks it out another month with Star Wars Celebration keeping people eager to grab up any Star Wars content they can.
  • And let's go with my "Doom hangs on but just barely" prediction again.