NPD May: Xbox Dominates Again, Max Payne 3 a "Flop"

Lee Bradley

The NPD Group’s monthly report on US retail sales has been released and, as ever, it’s a treasure trove of interesting stats.

The most significant number is a worrying one, however. With digital sales on the rise and the console generation staggering to an end, overall sales are significantly down.

While console and portable software sales came in at $255.4 million and hardware sales hit $138.9 million, that’s a 32% and 39% fall for each respective category year-on-year. Total sales are down 28% year-on-year, factoring in other categories such as peripherals.

It’s not all bad though. NPD reckon that the figures account for only 50-60% of total consumer spend on gaming, with the rest going to rentals, digitally distributed titles, as well as microtransactions, add-ons, apps and social network games.

Xbox 360 also racked up its 17th straight month as the US’s best-selling console, boasting a 45% share of current-gen sales. Microsoft’s Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business tweeted, “In US $32B has now been spent at retail on Xbox 360 platform, > any other platform on record ahead of PS2 $30B, Wii $25B #NPD

Sony, meanwhile, claimed “strong results” for Starhawk and MLB12: The Show, as well as “accelerated” growth across PS3 and Vita.

On the software front, although Max Payne 3 managed to snag second place in the month’s best-selling titles (behind PC-exclusive Diablo III), Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter believes it has seriously underperformed.

Speaking on Twitter, Pachter said, “Max Payne 3 a flop, according to NPD; can’t believe Rockstar put off releasing GTA to work on that game.” Pachter receives a more detailed NPD report than the press.

“Without divulging too much NPD goodness, I can tell you that Max Payne 3 sales were less than 50% of LA Noire’s. 8 years in development!” - he added.

The software charts, reproduced in full below, also reveal a strong performance from Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (despite being released towards the end of the month) and Prototype 2, which is proving to have an enduring appeal at retail.

 Full NPD Software Charts - May

  1. Diablo III (PC)
  2. Max Payne 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  3. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360, PS3)
  4. Prototype 2 (360, PS3)
  5. NBA 2K12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)
  6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
  7. Sniper Elite V2 (360, PS3)
  8. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
  9. Dragon’s Dogma (360, PS3)
  10. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
  • Was looking so forward to max payne, booooooooooooy it let me down ...
  • I liked Max Payne 3, it was no where near a flop, or let down in my opinion. Its a great game, and congrats on being second on the list!
  • So Max Payne 3 was Rockstar's biggest fail yet? Damn it still kicks ass.
  • Max Payne 3, biggest let down of 2012 for me.
  • NPD aint got nothing to do with how good a game is. Max Payne 3 is ace... Just seems like not too many people bought it. :-/
  • That's what I'm wondering why hardly anyone bought it compared to Rcokstar's previous titles, looking at TA for a small idea, you see that only 15k people have the game on there. :O Game deserves more.
  • It's a good game but I agree that I would have rather waited for GTA IV since I never played Payne I or II.
  • What is peoples problem with Max Payne 3! If you don't own it, go out and get it now. Game of the year so far for me!
  • So Max Payne 3 sold less than LA Noir - ok fine. Now put that into perspective with regards to WHEN the two games were released with relation to the life cycle of the console. Sales are down across the board. It's not surprising really. If their release dates were swapped, there is a good chance we would have seen MP3 outperform LA Noir. Note: I own and love both Games. No title preference from me.
  • Also, I understand that he has a more detailed NPD report, but I don't think we can call it a flop unless it has sold significantly less than Rockstars own projections. If they got back a lot less than they expected to, then fair enough.
  • @7 I think you mean 5 not 4, on topic I am one of the many people that never bought the game, to me it's just another generic shooter, nothing unique to attract me to it, if I was planing on buying a shooter at this moment in time it would have been inversion, not this.
  • Max Payne is amazing... I have a feeling it wasn't brought by many fans who played and loved the originals! FOr me it was far from a flop.
  • @3 my taughts exactly!
  • Ive been a Max Payne fan since day one and Max Payne 3 was far from a let down, easily one of the best games I've played in a long time and it actually has a plot which is a nice change from most games being spewed out now.
  • @11 - You're a fool. It has more depth, character and action than pratically any shooter out there. (excluding the shooter/rpg type games)
  • IMO Diablo 3 was a huge let down.
  • Max Payne multiplayer is good but doesn't have a lot of feature, like Battlefield where you have tanks and jets and choppers. But it's addictive.
  • If Max Payne 3 is a flop yet is still the second highest selling retail game of May (only behind the evenly long awaited Diablo 3) surely that's a sign that the game industry is struggling to sell all games, not that Max Payne 3 is at fault?
  • Michael Pachter is not a gamer. The fact that he gets paid for industry predictions or even gets quoted in the gaming media is a complete joke.
  • Well considering Diablo 3 was going to outsale Max Payne 3 anyway I wouldn't really call it a flop, plus the game is one of the best this year so far.
  • “Max Payne 3 a flop, according to NPD; can’t believe Rockstar put off releasing GTA to work on that game.” Michael Pachter seems like a bit of a prick.
  • This Michael Pachter fellow seems a bit of an idiot, GTAV is no where even near being ready from what we know so far, which is very little. Max Payne 3 has not been in development for 8 years, much less than that, and it was made by an entirely different team to the GTAV developers, having the MP3 team work on GTAV would not help much in the grand scheme of things. Also, Max Payne 3 is actually very good, the gunplay is the best you'll see in this generation without a doubt. The animation quality alone makes it stand out from the rest, try strafe running and changing direction with Max and you'll see what I mean, the way he shifts the weight looks perfect. It might not have met expectations, but that was going to happen anyway, not enough people played MP1 and 2, others are put off by the drastic change, and with the PC version only being released at the beginning of June there is a lot more retail and digital sales added on in the past few weeks.
  • I think the biggest drawback to MP3 is that it isn't an open-world sandbox game. That's what Rockstar excels at and my favorite. I've tried to get away from the linear story/shooter game. LA Noire was rather mediocre, imo, but still rather open-world. Just wasn't much to do besides spot cars outside of the main story.
  • Max Payne just didn't seem like a game to own. Wheras you could spend a hundred hours in RDR or GTA I just don't see me spending enough time playing MP3 to justify £40, especially not with the debts I have
  • Why I didn't buy Max Payne 3 - Multiplayer. I know I don't HAVE to play it, but with so many achievements and DLC for it, I'd feel obligated to. I've hated the multiplayer in every single Rockstar title I've played except for San Andreas'. I've heard the single player is fantastic though. I'll wait for the game to drop in price a good ways to play through it once - I've heard the difficulties you unlock afterwards are tedious and frustrating.
  • Just cause MP3 didn't sell as good as other Rockstar games doesn't make it a flop. It still sold better than most games out there. People got to lower their standards, geez
  • Max Payne 3 was fantastic in my opinion, i would of never considered it a flop. I enjoyed every part of the game =D
  • Didn't L.A. Noire take a long time to develop too, something like 7 years to make? Doesn't seem that different from Max Payne 3. IMO the amount of time a game is being made (without hype) has almost no influence on its sales. Also, it seems like Pachter doesn't understand the term 'fan service.' The reason why GTA V was put off for Max Payne 3 is because not only was it being developed much longer before GTA V was even announced, but the fans were craving for it! Sure, it may have under-performed, but I still love Rockstar for making the game!
  • I've played through Max Payne 3 three times and I'm still not bored of it, the competitive multiplayer is better than GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption by a mile. So I'm not entirely sure why more people aren't buying it..
  • Max Payne was in no way a flop, not even close.Both the single and multiplayer were good.The story was pretty damn good.LA Noire was not boring, i played the hell out of that game.I can't wait for some Max payne DLC.
  • I felt Max Payne had great single player game. The on line was ok and the lagging got a little old,
  • I think "flop" is a bit harsh. It's probably sold well enough to justify it's release. It was never going to be up there with GTA, Red Dead or LA Noire, which was something we hadn't seen before, and don't forget LA Noire has sold 5 million copies - 50% of that still ain't too shabby.
  • @23 Max Payne has always been a linear FPS. Didn't stop people from liking the other two titles. Also I find it funny how getting second place = flop
  • Why the media continues to hear what the Patcher has to say? He don't understand sh*t of the new games. The old man may still think Pong or Pac-Man is "the" game.
  • I love the game! Have only played one MP match, but I really like the single player. The story and character are awesome. Reminds me of the older games, but with a few new twists to it. And so far I haven't had to play through dark, crying baby blood levels, so that's also a big plus :) However, there wasn't really a lot of marketing for the game here in the Netherlands. And perhaps a large part of gamers today have never played the older ones. I can understand that the game might not look that attractive if you never played those or don't like Max as a character.
  • Pachter really doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. massive tool.
  • Oops, meant to say TPS instead of FPS lol..... I do find it funny that Diablo III is higher, considering it isn't that much different from the other ones and it launched with so many issues.
  • People hating on Pachter don't even know him. He is a stocks analysis not a gaming journalist. He knows exactly whats he's talking about. He is talking numbers. I bought Max Payne 3 and I don't think it was a flop, but I do think it took too long to come out and it did at a bad time (Diablo 3). Most peopole who hated on the game are those who didn't like the achievement list or that you had to beat it multiple times. I don't know how many people I heard complaining about that and never even mentioning the game itself. It's so sad.
  • I can't imagine Rockstar anticipated Max Payne would match GTA or Red Dead sales. It's really different, less people know the series. Honestly, I think it's the best game they've done yet. I've played through the game three times, and I can't eat to continue my current playthrough. It's still just as fun as it was the first time to me. Multiplayer as well. I love Max Payne, and I'm sure Rockstar knew who they were catering to.
  • Maybe Pachter just misspelled win "Max Payne 3 a win" looks about right to me
  • @11 Please never again insinuate Inversion, as being a superior shooter to Max Payne 3.
  • I rented Max Payne 3. I really enjoy it. It makes me want to buy the whole game myself.
  • I never saw the appeal of MP3, and there were several factors against buying it.
  • Max Payne 3 fuckin blew me away I was pissed at myself 4 not buying it right away fuckin amazing game
  • Max Payne is a great game, I just think that it was released at the wrong time of year. Had it been released later in the year and not in the same month as Diablo 3 or so close to Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, then it would have sold a lot more units. Diablo 3 has been one of the most anticipated games since it was officially announced all those years ago, so it's hardly surprising that it beat Max to the number one spot. What would be interesting, would be to see the sales figures and not just a list of where all the titles finished for the month. For all we know there could be just a difference of 5000 copies between 1st and 2nd place.
  • I wanted to get the game, but I am one of those people that looked at the achievement list and said "ah hell no!" I have my hands full with Gears of War 3 or other games with outrageous achievement lists.
  • That's sad news. Max Payne 3 is an amazing game. I can't recall the last time I replayed a game again immediately after beating it. This analyst doesn't seem very informed, "In development for 8 years!". It hasn't.
  • considering they Diablo 3 and MP3 came out on the same day/night...does this surprise anyone? sidenote- Diablo 3 isn't terrible...just give us PvP please!!!
  • How can being the second highest selling title of the month be considered a flop, especially when competing with the juggernaut that is Diablo 3? Even if it didn't sell a ton of copies immediately, it could be a long term seller for Rockstar as far as anyone knows right now.
  • So because it doesn't have many online players, it instantly becomes a flop? Maybe he should play the game for himself.
  • I was in the investment banking world for 5 years and actually got to meet Pachter on an IPO that we worked on. He is a complete and total self-absorbed idiot. He has three younger guys play the games for him and he basically cuts-and-pastes their opinions of the games. He really is a fool.
  • I think the fact that R* released a sequel to a game like Manhunt back when is evidence enough that they care more about an obscure segment of fans than they do mass-acclaim. MP3 is game of the year to me, so far!
  • Wow. All of the Max Payne fanboys posting in here really need to get educated. Flop = Didn't sell worth a shit. Period. Has nothing at all to do with the quality of a game. Or anyone's opinion of it. It's about the numbers. And the numbers don't lie. The game is NOT selling the way anyone expected it to. It's selling significantly less, in fact.
  • Whether or not you're a Max Payne fanboy doesn't matter, It's an A-grade action game. You could completely ignore the story and characters and still have an awesome time.
  • I don't understand why NDP are saying Max Payne didn't sell well. I heard that it sold over 3 million units. Where are they getting their information? This article even talks about it!
  • NPD members must've lost in the last chapter on NY minute hardcore, that's why they are ripping on the game. xD
  • @26 In case you were not aware of it, the game industry is run off of sales. If a game does not sell well, that is less money the production company has to put into future products. When Pachter says it was a flop, all he means is that the game did not move the expected number of units, and they did not make as much money ytd as they were expecting. This lack of sales and money will slow porduction on future titles and may over the long run endanger the future of the company. Game companies essentially gamble billions of dollars on game development, with no way of knowing if the gamble will pay off until after release. When a game does not sell as expected, the game company should be allowed to think of it as a flop when they do not meet their profit margins.
  • I know I'm late to the party on this article, but the number of people who don't realize that a flop from the NPD is not ripping on the quality of the game is astounding. Releasing this against Diablo III was a bad idea for Rockstar. I know by the time Blizzard announced the release of D3 Rockstar had already had Max scheduled, and changing that would have been costly. I think in time Max will pick up some steam. I know a few of my friends who've had their fill of Diablo for the time being have gone out and picked up Max Payne 3.
  • Max Payne 3 is only getting praise because it's a rockstar game if it werent itd be considered (by gaming community) a major flop that dont live to the originals.
  • Well, the under-performance of MP3 is interesting especially considering that Take Two has announced they plan to make nearly $2 billion in profits in the next fiscal year. The last time they got near that number was the fiscal containing Red Dead. No matter what the quality of the game, MP3 is NOT selling like Red Dead. And while I think games like BioShock: Infinite and Borderlands 2 are going to sell pretty big, I still think the only way Take Two is going to see anywhere close to that kind of cash is if R* releases GTAV.
  • Max payne a flop hahaha I love that game I'm great at it, and I find it challenging time to time still online is masterclass
  • Max Payne 3 is easily one of the best storylines I've seen in a game ever. Crazy stuff and great graphics. Replay on the game was great and it brought a different gameplay to multiplayer. Sorry it went over the writer's head and the others who thought it wasn't good! If you don't have it... Get it!
  • WOW!! i thought Max Payne 3 was pretty freaking sweet!! i would recommend this game! Honestly do NOT SEE how it was considered a flop!!
  • L a noir sucked, most boring over rated game ever. Max Payne is a lot more fun buy it.
  • The game is fantastic! It deserves better. I hope it does well over time. I'm too tired to go into everything that is so well done in the game, but the list is significant. And it has THE best animation system of all time.
  • Moron: "Ive been a fan since day one jbadaba, and MP3 wasnt a letdown, it was amazing game"... If u were a fan of the original MPs from remedy, u cant be so fucking stupid to ignore the things MP3 was missing for a game TITLED MAX PAYNE!!!!.. Bullet time was put aside more, and film noir..... From snow to sun.... MP3 went to fire from cover like in million other games... like in gta? perhaps....Too much violence..... Multiplayer!? WTF!?...The character names in the game I would have changed first tho, LOL!!!!...The Principles of max payne are lost in this game... It should be named Gta guy etc, cos it aint max payne.. It was a big fucking letdown for a Max Payne fan... But what I could say about this so called Max payne 3 is that: It looks great, great gameplay, good plot.
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