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US gamers spent more on hardware, but less overall, during Q1 2014

New NPD report compares sales from the first quarter of 2014 with those of 2013.

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Consumers in the United States spent 47 percent more on video game hardware during the first quarter of 2014 than they did during the same period last year, but overall spending on gaming was still down by a small amount, the NPD Group reports.

$983 million in total was spent on video game hardware in the U.S. during the quarter ending March 31, representing an increase of 47 percent over Q1 2013. That's obviously due in large part to two new consoles hitting the market late last year in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. NPD analyst Liam Callahan says we can expect to see year-over-year increases for hardware sales to last through "most of 2014," according to an NPD press release.

We haven't gotten an update on sales figures for the One since the end of 2013; 3 million units were sold worldwide by the end of the year, while 5 million have been shipped--but not necessarily sold--to retailers. The PS4 has eclipsed the 7-million-sold mark worldwide, and we know that at least about 3 million of those have been sold since the beginning of the year.

While hardware trends are looking up, the industry as a whole saw sales fall to $4.6 billion in the U.S., a 1 percent decrease compared with Q1 2013. New, physical games in particular took a hit, dropping 27 percent year-over-year to $372 million in sales. Digital spending, was up 4 percent, while accessory spending was down 11 percent to $446 million. Controllers and "interactive gaming toys" (i.e. Skylanders and Disney Infinity toys) were called out as bright spots in the accessory space.

"For the first quarter of 2014, content spending increased for used games, digital full games, DLC, and mobile with a modest increase in subscription revenue," Callahan said. "This is another example of the interplay of physical media as well as digital downloads as consumers transition further into this console generation."

The NPD issued its monthly sales report for new, physical sales during April last week, revealing the PS4 had outsold the Xbox One in the U.S. for the fourth month running. Titanfall remained the best-selling game in the country for the second month in a row.

Have you been spending more or less on gaming so far this year as compared with years past? Let us know in the comments.

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