Gaming

May 2022 NPD: Switch leads sales and Elden Ring retakes the top spot


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After a brief uptick last month, hardware sales have again fallen, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. The continued console scarcity alongside a relatively quiet release period appears to have put the industry in a bit of a slump.

May 2022 Dollar Sales, Millions May 2021 May 2022 Change
Total Video Game Sales $4,522 $3,680 -19%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $4,136 $3,332 -19%
Video Game Hardware $244 $216 -11%
Video Game Accessories $142 $131 -7%
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower.

“May 2022 consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories fell 19% when compared to a year ago, to $3.7 billion,” said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella. “This is the lowest monthly spending total the industry has achieved since February 2020 ($3.5 billion).”

This should not come as a great surprise, though. Following the many huge releases earlier this year, the summer has not seen as many important game launches. Consoles are also difficult to come by. But gamers are still spending money, with the Nintendo Switch leading in hardware sales.

Year-to-Date 2022 Dollar Sales, Millions YTD 2021 YTD 2022 Change
Total Video Game Sales $24,409 $21,938 -10%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms) $21,449 $19,305 -10%
Video Game Hardware $1,944 $1,759 -9%
Video Game Accessories $1,017 $875 -14%
*Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower.

Piscatella said, “Year-to-date spending has reached $21.9 billion, a 10% drop when compared to the same period in 2021. Subscription content is the only category showing year-on-year spending growth.”

May 2022 NPD: Top 20 best-selling games of the month in the U.S.

NPD tracks physical sales at retailers, but it also gets digital data directly from publishers. Not every company participates. For example, Nintendo doesn’t share its first-party sales, and Activision Blizzard does not provide its Battle.net sales.

These charts are sorted by dollar sales — not number of units sold. And this is for full-game sales and does not include in-game spending.

Rank Last
month
rank
All Platforms Publisher
1 2 Elden Ring Bandai Namco Entertainment
2 1 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Warner Bros. Interactive
3 5 Nintendo Switch Sports* Nintendo
4 NEW Evil Dead: The Game Saber Interactive
5 3 MLB: The Show 22^ Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
6 4 Kirby and the Forgotten Land* Nintendo
7 6 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
8 8 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
9 9 Gran Turismo 7 Sony (Corp)
10 10 Pokémon Legends: Arceus* Nintendo
11 11 Minecraft Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
12 7 Horizon II: Forbidden West Sony (Corp)
13 16 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
14 14 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
15 13 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
16 12 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
17 18 Mario Party Superstars* Nintendo
18 45 Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl Nintendo
19 23 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
20 34 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
*Digital sales not included
^Xbox & Switch digital sales not included

After a brief period of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga dominating, Elden Ring is back on top as the best-selling game of the month. According to Piscatella, it was the best-selling game on Steam and Xbox, and second-best on PlayStation. The Lego title is forced to take silver medal, but Horizon: Forbidden West has taken the biggest fall from grace, out of the top 10 entirely.

Evil Dead: The Game

The only new game to appear on the top-selling charts in May was Evil Dead: The Game. While the game is a good one, the fact it is the only title to appear on the list is more out of a lack of releases than an abundance of low-selling ones. May had a light release slate, with other debuts including games such as Vampire: The Masquerade — Swansong, Trek to Yomi, and Salt and Sacrifice.

Piscatella speculated on Twitter that a high cost of everyday spending may have also had an impact on the low numbers. Consumers are also returning to “experiential spending” as opposed to buying items like games.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Curiously, Skyrim has reappeared in the top 20 for the first time since November 2017. While Skyrim has been around in a peripheral sense since it launched over ten years ago, its sudden spike onto the top 20 is still a bit of a surprise.

One possible cause of this, according to Piscatella, is the release of the Steam Deck. Another possibility is that Bethesda RPG fans are self-medicating with a familiar game following the announced delay of Starfield.

May 2022 NPD: 20 best-selling games of 2022 so far

Rank Last
Month
Rank
All Platforms Publisher
1 1 Elden Ring Bandai Namco Entertainment
2 2 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Warner Bros. Interactive
3 3 Pokémon Legends: Arceus* Nintendo
4 4 Horizon II: Forbidden West Sony (Corp)
5 5 MLB: The Show 22^ Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
6 7 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
7 6 Gran Turismo 7 Sony (Corp)
8 8 Kirby and the Forgotten Land* Nintendo
9 10 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
10 9 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
11 11 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
12 13 Minecraft Multiple Video Game Manufacturers
13 33 Nintendo Switch Sports* Nintendo
14 12 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
15 15 Monster Hunter: Rise Capcom USA
16 14 Dying Light 2: Stay Human Square Enix Inc (Corp)
17 17 Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo
18 16 Mario Party Superstars* Nintendo
19 18 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo
20 20 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
*Digital sales not included
^Xbox & Switch digital sales not included

May 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling games of the 12 months

Rank Last
Month
Rank
All Platforms Publisher
1 1 Elden Ring Bandai Namco Entertainment
2 2 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3 3 Madden NFL 22 Electronic Arts
4 4 Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond: Shining Pearl* Nintendo
5 6 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Warner Bros. Interactive
6 5 Battlefield 2042 Electronic Arts
7 8 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
8 7 Far Cry 6 Ubisoft
9 10 Pokémon Legends: Arceus* Nintendo
10 11 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
*Digital sales not included

May 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Nintendo-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last
Month
Rank
Nintendo Platforms
(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 3 Nintendo Switch Sports* Nintendo
2 2 Kirby and the Forgotten Land Nintendo
3 1 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Warner Bros. Interactive
4 4 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo
5 5 Pokémon Legends: Arceus* Nintendo
6 7 Animal Crossing: New Horizons* Nintendo
7 6 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
8 8 Mario Party Superstars* Nintendo
9 16 Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl* Nintendo
10 9 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild* Nintendo
*Digital sales not included

May 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling PlayStation-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last
Month
Rank
PlayStation Platforms
(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 2 MLB: The Show 22 Sony (Corp)
2 3 Elden Ring Bandai Namco Entertainment
3 NEW Evil Dead: The Game Saber Interactive
4 1 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Warner Bros. Interactive
5 5 Gran Turismo 7 Sony (Corp)
6 4 Horizon II: Forbidden West Sony (Corp)
7 6 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
8 7 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony (Corp)
9 11 Ghost of Tsushima Sony (Corp)
10 14 Minecraft Microsoft (Corp)
*Digital sales not included

May 2022 NPD: Top 10 best-selling Xbox-platform games in the U.S.

Rank Last
Month
Rank
Xbox Platforms (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 2 Elden Ring Bandai Namco Entertainment
2 1 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Warner Bros. Interactive
3 NEW Evil Dead: The Game Saber Interactive
4 3 Call of Duty: Vanguard Activision Blizzard (Corp)
5 4 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War Activision Blizzard (Corp)
6 9 FIFA 22 Electronic Arts
7 6 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) Activision Blizzard (Corp)
8 10 Call of Duty: Black Ops III Activision Blizzard (Corp)
9 5 Forza Horizon 5 Microsoft (Corp)
20 7 Halo: Infinite Microsoft (Corp)
*Digital sales not included

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