Spending on video game products increased exponentially in March 2020 when compared to the same period last year.
This is according to a report from NPD Group, which provides figures on both retail and online sales of physical video game products, in addition to a subset of full-game digital downloads from partners in its digital panel.
These partners include major publishers like Activision-Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Take 2 Interactive, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
NPD video game industry analyst Mat Piscatella said reported spend was the highest for a March month since 2008.
“March 2020 tracked spending across video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards totalled $1.6 billion, gaining 35% when compared to a year ago,” Piscatella stated.
Video game software sales
Dollar sales of tracked video games rose to $739 million, an increase of 34% in the month of March when compared to a year ago.
“Nine of the top 10 best-selling games of March 2020 generated higher dollar sales than similarly ranked titles a year ago,” Piscatella said.
According to NPD’s figures, Nintendo title Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the best-selling game of the month, as well as the second-best-selling game of the year to date.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare claimed second place in March, and is now the overall best seller for the year.
Baseball video game MLB The Show 20 was the third-best-selling game of the month.
Hardware and accessories
Gaming hardware spending increased by 63% compared to March 2019 to reach sales of $461 million.
The Nintendo Switch performed particularly well, with more than double the number of sales. The Switch Pro Controller also posted the best-selling figure for an individual gamepad in March.
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sales saw an increase of 25%.
“Total March 2020 spending on accessories and game cards reached $397 million, increasing 12% when compared to a year ago,” Piscatella noted.
Despite substantial gains in March, overall year-to-date spending on video game products shrunk by 4%, with sales of $3.03 billion compared to $3.17 billion over the same period last year.