Hardware sales double as June game spending rises 5% | US Monthly Charts

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GamesIndustry.biz 16 July, 2021 - 09:00am 7 views

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When is Xbox Series X release date? Xbox Series X is launching at participating retailers worldwide on November 10, 2020. xbox.comXbox Series X console

June 2021 NPD: Xbox and Switch outsell the competition

VentureBeat 17 July, 2021 - 05:01am

Hardware sales had a huge month in the United States in June. Consumers snapped up $401 million in new consoles, which is up 112% compared to the same period in 2020, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. A lot of that comes from increased interest in the new generation of consoles. And June also got some help from a huge influx of Xbox Series X/S devices  just after the E3 industry trade show.

“June video game hardware dollar sales jumped 112% when compared to June 2020, to $401 million,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “This is the highest total achieved in a June month since 2008’s $617 million.”

For the year so far, 2021 is easily outpacing the 2020, which had to rely on aging Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware platforms.

“Year-to-date hardware consumer spending has increased 45% compared to 2020’s first half, to $2.3 billion,” said Piscatella.

The Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch came out on top … depending on how you count.

“Xbox Series X/S was the best-selling hardware platform in dollar sales for the month of June, while Nintendo Switch led in unit sales,” said Piscatella.

This was the best June ever for the Xbox brand, in terms of console sales.

“June dollar sales of Xbox consoles set a new record for the Xbox platform, besting the previous high set in June 2011,” said Piscatella.

For 2021 as a whole, the Switch is still dominant.

“Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware platform during 2021’s first half in both dollar and unit sales,” said Piscatella.

And the supply-constrained PlayStation 5 continues to set records of its own.

“PlayStation 5 remains the fastest unit-selling console hardware platform in U.S. history for lifetime sales through eight months on the market excluding portables,” said Piscatella.

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Xbox Series X Beat PS5 Hardware Sales in June | Game Rant

GameRant 17 July, 2021 - 05:01am

The NPD Group's Mat Piscatella shared the company's findings on consumer spend in the video games sector today in a Twitter thread. The data covers a few different ranges, showing figures for the month of June, for the first half of 2021, and for the last 12 months in totality. Broadly, though, the news is good for the gaming industry: according to Piscatella, consumer spending across all areas increased 5% in June 2021 compared to June 2020, and 15% for the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

Hardware appears to have been flying off the shelves over the course of June, with total hardware spending jumping 112% compared to June 2020, up to $401M. According to Piscatella, this is the highest June total since 2008, and the year-to-date figures are similarly impressive, boasting a 45% increase over 2020's first half, up to $2.3B. No doubt this is primarily down to the release of the Xbox Series X/S and the PS5, which have been selling like hotcakes despite computer chip shortages.

June 2021 US NPD THREAD - June 2021 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories grew 5% when compared to a year ago, totaling $4.9 billion. First half 2021 consumer spending reached $28.9 billion, a 15% increase when compared to the same period in 2020. pic.twitter.com/M9Wk1mNNaT

It seems that Microsoft has enjoyed a particularly fruitful month, marking the highest dollar-sales figures in June of the main contenders with its Xbox Series consoles - although the Nintendo Switch technically sold more units. Sony is certainly proving to be no slouch, though: the PlayStation 5 retains its title as the fastest-selling console in US history, while the company's DualSense Wireless Controllers dominated the video game accessories charts.

Piscatella's data also has plenty of interesting insights about the games themselves. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart reportedly hit the charts hard, soaring to the number one spot and "achieving the highest launch month dollar sales of any title in franchise history." Meanwhile, Mario Golf: Super Rush was also breaking records, scoring the highest dollar-sales figures ever for a Mario Golf game.

All of that definitely looks pretty rosy for the gaming sector. Presumably sales of the Xbox Series X/S and the PS5 will continue to improve, especially once the issue of chip shortages is resolved and supply can start to meet demand. Whether the growth the gaming industry has sustained during the pandemic is sustainable is a matter of much speculation, but for now at least the market looks remarkably solid.

Microsoft confirms Xbox Series X gaming monitors have no special sauce – but you should still buy one

T3 17 July, 2021 - 12:00am

Microsoft unveiled its Designed for Xbox gaming monitors last month and we wanted to know what makes them so special. After all, you can pick up any console-compatible monitor without the Xbox marketing attached, so why should you opt for a piece of kit from this range over anything else? We decided to go to the source and asked Microsoft for the specifics to find out the answer. 

Generally speaking, if you're in the market for a new TV for your Xbox Series X and want to make the most of the hardware, you'll want something that can support 4K gaming at 120Hz. But TVs with HDMI 2.1 features can be expensive and aren't available in sizes under 48-inches so if you want something smaller for your setup that won't leave you destitute, monitors are a better option. 

And if you're into competitive gaming, online shooters, or just want the best performance possible, then monitors are once again your friend; the selection in the Designed for Xbox range boast 1ms response times, whereas a TV's processing means it comes in at around 10ms.

So with all that being said, let's get into what sets the Designed for Xbox gaming monitors apart from any other monitor you can pick up online or at a store. 

All three monitors in the range support 4K resolution at 120Hz, with only the Philips Momentum 559M1RYV 55″ seeming to support VRR (variable refresh rate). We reached out to Microsoft to ask if there was a checklist of specs that Microsoft is looking for before allowing a monitor to join its Designed for Xbox program, but that doesn't seem to the case. A Microsoft spokesperson said:

"Our goal was to make it easier for fans to find the ideal gaming monitor that takes full advantage of HDMI 2.1 – such as Variable Refresh Rate, HDR and 4K at 120Hz. That is why we worked with leading display manufacturers to deliver gaming monitors as part of the Designed for Xbox program that take full advantage of Xbox Series X|S and HDMI 2.1."

An additional comment added that "while there are TVs that support HDMI 2.1, these gaming monitors are some of the first that support 4K@120Hz with HDMI 2.1."

So don't expect monitors in the range to sport every single feature being touted. It'll certainly make it easier to narrow down your search, but you should check out the details of the one you want before you pre-order to make sure it has everything you need.

The Philips Momentum 559M1RYV 55” and the ASUS Strix Xbox Edition Gaming Monitor XG43UQ 43” have dedicated 'Xbox modes'. The ASUS monitor's Xbox mode offers the "best color, contrast, and hue settings when paired with Xbox Series X|S," so there's not a great deal to the mode aside from tweaks you could implement yourself – but presets are handy if you don't like to fiddle about with picture settings. 

After speaking to Philips to get the lowdown on its Xbox picture mode, it's a little more elaborate. You can read the finer details of Philips Xbox picture mode here but in short it drills down to picture quality, ambiglow settings, and HDMI CEC.

Microsoft says, "in some cases, you’ll see partners add additional features or settings to improve the experience, but all gaming monitors that are a part of the Designed for Xbox program are designed to deliver the best possible experience on Xbox." So if you pick up one of these monitors, you'll be getting a tailored for Xbox experience with their preset mode for the console. Not worth paying for on its own, given you might want to fine tune the settings yourself, but it's a nice added touch for brands that are part of the program.

The initial announcement for the Designed for Xbox gaming monitors states that these monitors are a collaborative effort between Microsoft and the display manufacturers. We were curious as to how involved the Xbox team actually was, especially given that in some instances (like the Philips monitor) the hardware isn't a massive leap from its predecessor.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the company worked with all of its "Designed for Xbox partners to validate quality, performance, safety and security with Xbox consoles," adding "we work together with our partners to help ensure HDMI 2.1 features are implemented accurately."

They went on to further clarify, saying, "When a product is Designed for Xbox, it indicates we worked closely with our partners to validate all Xbox hardware experiences, such as quality, performance, safety and security, to provide the best possible experience while gaming on your console." 

Ultimately, the Designed for Xbox badge indicates that you're buying a product that has been 'tested' with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S to tick off all of those things. The extent of Microsoft's involvement seems to stop there, based on our correspondence with a PR rep. If that's the case, there's not a lot to it other than a bit of marketing aimed at presenting gamers with easy-to-understand options that they know will work with their console. 

Sure you could just do your own research and buy a monitor from anywhere else without the badge, but it's still early days in the world of 120Hz 4K monitors. Why fritter away time researching when Xbox has done the hard work for you? As it stands, these monitors offer solid options for PC and console gamers alike. They're very much worth your time, even if there's not really anything specifically tying them into the Xbox Series X aside from some snazzy marketing.

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). She's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down here at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies. If you have any tech or gaming tips, shoot over an email or DM her on social media.   

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