The US games industry spend shrunk in January 2017, according to the latest report from NPD, showing a decline of 4 per cent year on year. Total industry spend reached $611m in January 2017, with a decline in hardware sales being the main factor behind the lack of growth.
The good news is that games software sales were up last month, with Capcom's Resident Evil VII: Biohazard leading the charge in first place. Software spending increased by 14 per cent year-on-year last month to $313m, and spending on the top five games of the month was 17 per cent higher than the top five games of January 2016.
"With only five days in the market, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was the best-selling game in January," NPD analyst Sam Naji said in a statement. "The last time Capcom had the best-selling game of the month (in dollar sales) was in March 2009 with Resident Evil 5."
Charting in second place last month was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which was followed by Take-Two's unstoppable Grand Theft Auto V in third. Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue also put in a strong showing at sixth across all platforms, and was the second best-selling PS4 game after Resident Evil VII.
NPD also introduced a new catalogue sales metric this month, which includes sales of a SKU that occurred after the first six months that the product is first available for sale – essentially month seven onwards. For this, Take-Two was the No.1 publisher for January 2017, and was also the top publisher for catalogue sales for all of 2016 thanks to the huge momentum of Grand Theft Auto V.
Hardware sales, on the other hand, slowed down considerably during January, declining 19 per cent year-on-year to $127m. Sony's PS4 sold the highest number of units last month, and NPD notes that the PlayStation 4 Slim 500GB Uncharted 4: A Thief's End bundle was the most popular PS4 SKU. Meanwhile, Nintendo's highly-sought after NES Classic mini was the third best-selling console of the month.
In accessories, total spending also fell by 17 per cent year-on-year to $155m, with interactive gaming toys showing the biggest decline in the sector.