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"Monthly sales ... that were impacted by pandemic-driven consumer spending increases."

*It's just a joke. Please don't @ me on this.

"April video game hardware dollar sales fell 30% when compared to April 2020."

This is why I don't like the NPD group these days. I miss the days when they'd readily divulge actual unit sales for all hardware as well as at least the Top 20 software. Now we have to rely on leakers for everything, and that's increasingly intermittent, esp. since the PS5 & XBS came out. All we have is dollar grosses, which wouldn't be too bad if we had figures besides just sector-wide (HW, SW, or accessories) totals. Dollar grosses are fine enough for movies where we can at least estimate admissions from average ticket prices. But if all we got each weekend was the total grosses of all films currently running in theaters it wouldn't tell us a damn thing about how well any specific movie did, just as the NPD's number-less press releases tell us nothing about how well any specific game or system did.

In any case, if hardware grosses are down 30% despite the average price of new hardware being up significantly because of new-gen PS & Xbox, that indicates a pretty steep drop from last year in unit sales, one that is going to be a good bit higher than 30%. However, without specifics on the actual split between the various SKUs of each system as well as a total lack of leaks about the PS4 & XBO to even guess as how they're selling, it's impossible to make any exact calculations for this month, though we can probably make some decent guesses.

We do know that in April 2020 total hardware sales grossed $420M on 1548k units sold, for an average spend of $271 per unit of hardware sold, and as mentioned that number has increased this year. Based on non-exact numbers for this year so far, we can estimate that spending on hardware has probably averaged at least $350 per unit sold (if we only used NSW+PS5+XBO estimates the average is a good bit higher than that, but there is the PS4 & XBO to account for, which is going to drag the average down at least a little bit even if they're only 5-10% of the market). So, if the average per-unit spend this April was about $350, we're looking at about 846k units for hardware (if it's closer to $375/unit, the total would be about 790k units).

If that is a reasonably close estimate, then since the Switch has been accounting for about half of all unit sales on average this year based on what numbers we do have, it had to have sold around 420k units, leaving maybe around 340-380k left over for the PS5 & XBS assuming the PS4 & XBO are about 5-10% of the hardware market. It could be a good bit more for the Switch and less for the others depending on how bad PS5 & XBS stock were in April. For example, we could see something more like 500k for the Switch and only about 300k combined for the PS5 & XBS, assuming the Switch took 60% of the hardware market and the PS5 & XBS took only 35%.

Of course, all of these estimates come with a likely non-trivial margin of error, but I think it's probably a good ballpark figure (also, pardon me if I flubbed the math on anything; I just woke up and haven't eaten yet). But despite the margins of error, there has definitely been a significant drop in the hardware market both from last year and from March 2021, and I'll leave it at that.

Now we just wait to see if some noble soul out there will release the actual numbers over the past several months from their dungeon.


In accordance to the VGC forum rules, §8.5, I hereby exercise my right to demand to be left alone regarding the subject of the effects of the pandemic on video game sales (i.e., "COVID bump").