The gaming audience in the United States showed up to spend money again last month. Consumers spent $3.3 billion on video game hardware, software, and accessories in August, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That’s up 37% year-over-year from $2.4 billion. Strong debuts for Madden and UFC as well as resilient performances for Final Fantasy VII Remake and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild fueled the growth. Here are the full results for August:

August 2020 Dollar Sales (in millions) Aug’19 Aug’20 CHG
Total Video Game Sales $2,431 $3,330 37%
Video Game Hardware $167 $229 37%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms) $2,147 $2,935 37%
Video Game Accessories $117 $166 42%
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower

“Digital content on console platforms, mobile content, and subscription spending were among the largest growth segments,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Year-to-date spending reached $29.4 billion, 23% higher than the same period in 2019. Content, hardware, and accessory spending each increased by more than 20% when compared to the same period a year ago.”

Video games are thriving in the complicated world of a global pandemic. Live entertainment is still mostly non-existent, and that has consumers turning to in-home options. And consoles like Nintendo Switch are at the top of that list.

“Video game content spending reached $2.9 billion in August 2020, increasing 37% when compared to a year ago,” Piscatella said. “Year-to-date content spending now exceeds $25.9 billion, a 22% increase compared to the same period last year.”

Let’s check the software sales.

August 2020 NPD: Best-selling software

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. But not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party digital sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales. This chart also does not include microtransactions, subscriptions, or anything beyond full-game sales. With those caveats in mind, it is best to think of this as a very useful snapshot of a much more dynamic industry.

All Platforms
Rank Last Month Rank August 2020 Top 20 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Madden NFL 21 Electronic Arts
2 NEW UFC 4 Electronic Arts
3 2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision Blizzard (Corp)
4 1 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
5 5 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
6 6 Ring Fit Adventure Nintendo
7 8 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* Nintendo
8 9 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
9 3 Paper Mario: The Origami King* Nintendo
10 7 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
11 12 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
12 4 The Last of Us: Part II Sony (Corp)
13 11 Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition Microsoft (Corp)
14 NEW PGA Tour 2K21* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
15 14 New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe* Nintendo
16 27 Super Mario Party* Nintendo
17 13 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Ubisoft
18 26 Super Mario Odyssey* Nintendo
19 41 Final Fantasy VII: Remake Square Enix Inc (Corp)
20 34 Luigi’s Mansion 3* Nintendo

Madden NFL 21

In the United States, Madden is something like an annual ringing of the bell. It launches, and that means the fall game rush has begun. And it got off to a blazing start this year despite a cool critical reception.

“Madden NFL 21 was the best-selling title of August, with double-digit percentage dollar sales growth when compared to the release month of Madden NFL 20,” Piscatella said. “Madden NFL 21 debuts as the No. 6 best-selling game year to date. This is the 21st consecutive year that a Madden NFL franchise release has the best-selling game in its release month. Madden NFL is the best-selling sports (and third best-selling overall) video game franchise in U.S. history.”

UFC 4

EA Sports dominated August. Like in most things in this report, you can chalk up some of this demand to people feeling starved for sports due to the pandemic.

“UFC 4 was the second best-selling game of the month, setting a new franchise launch month sales record for an Electronic Arts-published UFC title,” Piscatella said. “UFC 4 ranked as the third best-selling game of August on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.”

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Square Enix began dropping the price of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and that helped boost the massive RPG’s sales.

“Final Fantasy VII Remake returned to the top 20 best-selling titles chart (#19) in August after finishing 41st in July. The title was featured at a discounted price digitally on the PlayStation Store.”

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ranked as the sixth best-selling title on Nintendo Switch in August,” Piscatella said. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has ranked among the top 10 best sellers on Switch every month since its March 2017 launch — a period of 42 consecutive months, never placing lower than seventh. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the 10th best-selling game released on Nintendo platforms in U.S. tracked history.

Best-selling games so far in 2020

All Platforms
Rank Last Month Rank Year-to-Date Ending August 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 2 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
3 3 The Last of Us: Part II Sony (Corp)
4 4 Final Fantasy VII: Remake Square Enix Inc (Corp)
5 5 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
6 NEW Madden NFL 21 Electronic Arts
7 6 Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Bandai Namco Entertainment
8 7 MLB: The Show 20 Sony (Corp)
9 9 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* Nintendo
10 10 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive

Best-selling games of the last 12 months

All Platforms
Rank Last Month Rank 12 Months Ending August 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision Blizzard (Corp)
2 3 Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order Electronic Arts
3 2 Madden NFL 20 Electronic Arts
4 4 NBA 2K20* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
5 5 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
6 6 The Last of Us: Part II Sony (Corp)
7 7 FIFA 20 Electronic Arts
8 8 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* Nintendo
9 9 Pokemon: Sword* Nintendo
10 10 Luigi’s Mansion 3* Nintendo

Xbox One

Rank Last Month Rank August 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Madden NFL 21 Electronic Arts
2 1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 NEW UFC 4 Electronic Arts
4 7 Forza Horizon 4 Microsoft (Corp)
5 4 Minecraft: Xbox One Edition Microsoft (Corp)
6 10 Call of Duty: Black Ops III Activision Blizzard (Corp)
7 15 Grounded Microsoft (Corp)
8 NEW PGA Tour 2K21* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
9 6 Rainbow Six: Siege [Tom Clancy’s] Ubisoft
10 2 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
* Digital sales not included

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4
Rank Last Month Rank August 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 NEW Madden NFL 21 Electronic Arts
2 1 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
3 NEW UFC 4 Electronic Arts
4 3 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision Blizzard (Corp)
5 2 The Last of Us: Part II Sony (Corp)
6 4 Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition Microsoft (Corp)
7 14 Final Fantasy VII: Remake Square Enix Inc (Corp)
8 5 MLB: The Show 20 Sony (Corp)
9 7 Marvel’s Spider-Man Sony (Corp)
10 NEW PGA Tour 2K21* Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
* Digital sales not included

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch
Rank Last Month Rank August 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 2 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
2 3 Ring Fit Adventure Nintendo
3 4 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe* Nintendo
4 5 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
5 1 Paper Mario: The Origami King* Nintendo
6 6 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
7 7 New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe* Nintendo
8 9 Super Mario Party* Nintendo
9 8 Super Mario Odyssey* Nintendo
10 12 Luigi’s Mansion 3* Nintendo
* Digital sales not included



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