July is typically a slow month for the video game industry, but NPD Group's recently released sales tracking data show that software sales for the month were up 17% year over year.
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Read on to see which games from companies including Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY), Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO), Ubisoft (NASDAQOTH: UBSFF), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) made July's top 10 sales list and helped propel the year-over-year sales increase.
10. NBA 2K17
NBA 2K17 continues to be a strong performer for Take-Two and has now made the top 10 chart in each month since its release in September 2016. NBA 2K17 is now the best-selling sports game in the company's history and has shipped more than 8.5 million units. Take-Two's Aug. 2 earnings call also revealed that the franchise's in-game content sales increased 64% year over year last quarter.
9. Rainbow Six: Siege
Ubisoft's Rainbow Six: Siege reentered the top 10 chart in July -- an impressive feat for a game that released in December 2015. Online content expansions have helped the title retain an active player base, and the game's continued sales (along with Ghost Recon: Wildlands) have made Ubisoft the top-selling publisher year to date.
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Activision Blizzard's Overwatch came in as the eighth best-selling game in July -- the same chart position it occupied in June. Unlike most other games on the list, NPD's sales tracking for Overwatch does not include digital sales, so it likely would have ranked even higher if all sales were taken into account. The title, which launched in May 2016, has been a huge hit for Activision Blizzard and looks to have long-term staying power.
7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe debuted in April and has made the top 10 sales chart in each month since its release. The game's success points to a very favorable dynamic for Nintendo and its Switch console. Deluxe is an updated version of Mario Kart 8, which released on the company's Wii U console in 2014 and, as such, was likely relatively inexpensive to produce. Impressive sales for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe suggest that Nintendo will be able to re-release other games from its back catalog on the Switch and achieve highly profitable results.
6. Injustice 2
Time Warner's Injustice 2 was the best-selling game in May (its release month), the second best-selling game in June, and came in at the No. 6 spot for the month of July. That performance points to the game being the latest in a run of successes for Warner's video game development wing and lays the foundation for strong downloadable content sales down the line.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda is one of the longest-running and most successful video game series ever, and Breath of the Wild is a standout even among the franchise's deep lineup of hits. The game is the fastest-selling title in series history and has helped propel sales for Nintendo's Switch console.
4. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was one of just two July releases to make the month's top 10 sales list. Even then, the game from Square Enix is actually an HD remaster of a game that came out in 2006. The game is currently exclusive to Sony's PlayStation 4 console and appears to be delivering a solid sales performance for a game that's only available on one platform.
3. Grand Theft Auto V
Take-Two Interactive's Grand Theft Auto V's incredible sales run continued in July, with the title coming in as the month's third-best-selling game. The game has occupied the No. 3 position on the American sales chart in five out of seven of 2017's recorded sales months, and it placed as the fifth-best-selling game in the other two months. GTA V first released in September 2013, and video game sales tend to be front-loaded, so its continued run as one of the world's top-performing games is a tremendous feat.
2. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Activision Blizzard has scored a big hit with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy -- a remake of the first three games in the Crash series. The PlayStation 4 exclusive was the best-selling game worldwide in June, and ranking as North America's second-best-selling game in July suggests that the title will have a long sales life. That's great news for Activision, because 2017 is a bit of a light release year for the company, and the game's success shows that Crash is a viable, family-friendly franchise for the company at a time when the child-friendly Skylanders series seems to be fading.
1. Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2 hit shelves on July 21 and still moved enough units to be the month's best-selling game. The Switch game is a sequel to the 2015 franchise debut on the Wii U console and was likely relatively inexpensive to develop because it uses many of the same assets as its prequel, pointing to a very profitable release for Nintendo. The company claimed three spots on July's top -10 list and has been enjoying strong hardware and software performance since the March release of its Switch console.
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Keith Noonan owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive Software. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive Software. The Motley Fool recommends Time Warner. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.