September 2020 NPD: Avengers and Mario lead strong transition into autumn

September 2020 NPD: Avengers and Mario lead strong transition into autumn
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Americans showed up to celebrate Super Mario’s 35th anniversary by giving a lot of money to Nintendo for Super Mario 3D All-Stars and the Nintendo Switch. Other major releases, like Marvel’s Avengers, also helped fuel year-over-year growth.

Here are the full results for September 2020’s game sales from industry-tracking firm The NPD Group:

September 2020 Dollar Sales, Millions
Sep’19
Sep’20
CHG

Total Video Game Sales
$3,929
$4,310
10%
Video Game Hardware
$241
$277
15%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)
$3,541
$3,841
8%
Video Game Accessories
$148
$191
30%
“Consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories reached $4.3 billion in September 2020, a 10% increase when compared to a year ago,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “Mobile, hardware, and accessories were among the largest growth segments.”

While that’s a big jump for the transitional month between summer and the busy fall season, it’s actually behind the pace of growth for 2020 so far.

“Year-to-date spending totaled $33.7 billion, 21% higher than the same time period in 2019,” Piscatella said.

2020 Year-to-Date Dollar Sales, Millions
2019 YTD
2020 YTD
CHG

Total Video Game Sales
$27,901
$33,689
21%
Video Game Hardware
$1,878
$2,295
22%
Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR platforms)
$24,744
$29,779
20%
Video Game Accessories
$1,279
$1,615
26%
This shows that people are rushing out for big new game releases like Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and it should bode well for the launch of Xbox Series X on November 10 and PlayStation 5 on November 12.

September 2020 NPD: Nintendo Switch leads hardware

The launch of Super Mario 3D All-Stars helped push more people to pick up Nintendo’s Switch hardware. It sold well enough to even mitigate the slowing sales of the outgoing Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

“September 2020 video game hardware spending reached $277 million, a 15% increase when compared to a year ago,” Piscatella said. “Growth in sales of Nintendo Switch offset declines of other console platforms. Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console during September in both dollars and units.”

Hardware sales are still up huge for the year even before the release of PS5 and Xbox Series X and S.

“Year-to-date spending on hardware has increased 22% when compared to a year ago, to $2.3 billion,” Piscatella said.

Let’s take a closer look at software sales.

September 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, and Take-Two doesn’t always share its digital 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.

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All Platforms

Rank
Last Month Rank
September 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
Marvel’s Avengers
Square Enix Inc (Corp)
2
NEW
Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
Nintendo
3
1
Madden NFL 21
Electronic Arts
4
NEW
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
5
NEW
NBA 2K21*
Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
6
3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
7
NEW
Crusader Kings III
Paradox Interactive
8
5
Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
Nintendo
9
NEW
Star Wars: Squadrons
Electronic Arts
10
7
Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
Nintendo
11
NEW
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
12
4
Ghost of Tsushima
Sony (Corp)
13
6
Ring Fit Adventure
Nintendo
14
8
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
Nintendo
15
2
UFC 4
Electronic Arts
16
15
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
Nintendo
17
11
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
Nintendo
18
16
Super Mario Odyssey*
Nintendo
19
10
Mortal Kombat 11
Warner Bros. Interactive
20
18
Super Mario Party*
Nintendo

* Digital sales not included

Marvel’s Avengers

Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers had one of the best launches ever for a superhero game. This should give the game a strong chance of succeeding as it transitions into an ongoing live service.

“Marvel’s Avengers was the best-selling title of September,” Piscatella said. “Launch-month dollar sales of Marvel’s Avengers were the second highest for any superhero game in U.S. history, trailing only Marvel’s Spider-Man. Marvel’s Avengers debuted as the No. 7 best-selling game of 2020 year to date.”

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Mario was huge for Nintendo, and these results do not include any digital sales.

“Super Mario 3D All-Stars was the second best-selling game of September, and ranked as the No. 10 best-selling game of 2020 year to date,” Piscatella said. “Super Mario 3D All-Stars generated the second-highest launch-month for physical dollar sales of any 2020 release, trailing only Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

Nintendo likely helped goose these early sales by promising (threatening) to pull the game from store shelves and its online store after March.

“Super Mario 3D All-Stars’ launch month physical dollar sales rank as the sixth biggest for a Nintendo-published title in U.S. history,” Piscatella said. “Super Mario 3D All-Stars trails only Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Stadium in physical launch month dollar sales.”

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, meanwhile, was another remake hit for Activision.

“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 was the fourth best-selling game in September,” Piscatella said. “The release achieved the highest launch month dollar sales of any title in Tony Hawk franchise history, surpassing Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, which originally launched in October 2004.”

Crusader Kings III

Crusader Kings III had a mammoth launch for publisher Paradox Interactive. It shows that series has moved out of niche status and into the gaming mainstream.

“Crusader Kings III was the seventh best-selling game of September,” Piscatella said. “With just one month of sales, Crusader Kings III ranks as the best-selling release in franchise history. The title also experienced the highest launch month dollar sales of any title published by Paradox Interactive.”

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Best-selling games so far in 2020

Rank
Last Month Rank
Year-to-Date Ending September 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
6
Madden NFL 21
Electronic Arts
5
5
Ghost of Tsushima
Sony (Corp)
6
4
Final Fantasy VII: Remake
Square Enix Inc (Corp)
7
NEW
Marvel’s Avengers
Square Enix Inc (Corp)
8
7
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Bandai Namco Entertainment
9
8
MLB: The Show 20
Sony (Corp)
10
NEW
Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
Nintendo

* Digital sales not included

Best-selling games of the last 12 months

Rank
Last Month Rank
12 Months Ending September 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
Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
Electronic Arts
3
5
Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
Nintendo
4
3
Madden NFL 20
Electronic Arts
5
6
The Last of Us: Part II
Sony (Corp)
6
14
Madden NFL 21
Electronic Arts
7
9
Pokémon: Sword*
Nintendo
8
8
Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
Nintendo
9
12
Ghost of Tsushima
Sony (Corp)
10
10
Luigi’s Mansion 3*
Nintendo

* Digital sales not included

Xbox One

Rank
Last Month Rank
September 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales
Publisher
1
NEW
Marvel’s Avengers
Square Enix Inc (Corp)
2
1
Madden NFL 21
Electronic Arts
3
NEW
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
4
NEW
NBA 2K21*
Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
5
2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
6
NEW
Star Wars: Squadrons
Electronic Arts
7
3
UFC 4
Electronic Arts
8
NEW
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
9
4
Forza Horizon 4
Microsoft (Corp)
10
9
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
Ubisoft

* Digital sales not included

PlayStation 4

Rank
Last Month Rank
September 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales
Publisher
1
NEW
Marvel’s Avengers
Square Enix Inc (Corp)
2
NEW
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3
1
Madden NFL 21
Electronic Arts
4
NEW
NBA 2K21*
Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
5
2
Ghost of Tsushima
Sony (Corp)
6
4
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
7
NEW
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Activision Blizzard (Corp)
8
NEW
Star Wars: Squadrons
Electronic Arts
9
5
The Last of Us: Part II
Sony (Corp)
10
6
Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
Microsoft (Corp)

* Digital sales not included

Nintendo Switch

Rank
Last Month Rank
September 2020 Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales
Publisher
1
NEW
Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
Nintendo
2
1
Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
Nintendo
3
3
Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
Nintendo
4
2
Ring Fit Adventure
Nintendo
5
4
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
Nintendo
6
7
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
Nintendo
7
6
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
Nintendo
8
9
Super Mario Odyssey*
Nintendo
9
8
Super Mario Party*
Nintendo
10
10
Luigi’s Mansion 3*
Nintendo
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